Chasing the Valley (Chasing the Valley #1)

Read from 28-29th September, 2014

Author: Skye Melki-Wegner

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4 Stars

* * * * * * * * * *

Escape is impossible. Escape is their only hope.

Danika is used to struggling for survival. But when the tyrannous king launches an attack to punish her city – echoing the alchemy bombs that killed Danika’s family – she risks her life in a daring escape over the city’s walls.

Danika joins a crew of desperate refugees who seek Magnetic Valley, a legendary safe haven. But when she accidentally destroys a palace biplane, suddenly Danika Glynn becomes the most wanted fugitive in Taladia.

Pursued by the king’s vicious hunters and betrayed by false allies, Danika also grapples with her burgeoning magical abilities. And when she meets the mysterious Lukas, she must balance her feelings against her crew’s safety.

Chasing the Valley is the first book in an epic trilogy of magic, treachery and survival.

* * * * * * * * * *

Combining magic, alchemy, fantasy and adventure, Chasing the Valley is a quick, enjoyable read.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the characters – none of them immediately stood out, there didn’t seem to be anything extraordinary about them. However, this worked in their favour, added to their appeal. The characters were very easy to relate to because, while they all had their strengths, they were thrust into an unfamiliar environment and forced to adapt. They made mistakes, fought, formed relationships, solved problems, and were so utterly human. Their talents at first seemed either irrelevant or under-developed, but the most seemingly irrelevant things ended up saving them. Maisy’s book smarts, Clementine’s sparkly clothes, Teddy’s bravado, that old song that lead them true – all of which helped them out, maybe even saving their lives. They were nothing extraordinary – just ordinary teenagers – but their experiences shaped them and forced them to grow and discover within themselves and as a team. There were certainly no Mary-Sues.

The world-building was interesting and very well-done. Information was gradually added though character interactions – they came from such different walks of life that it was only natural for them to elaborate upon the differences – as well as when the characters experienced new discoveries. The magic was prominent but not overdone, able to be used but not a first resort.

Overall, an interesting, easy read for lovers of fantasy and magic. While not my absolute favourite, I did quite enjoy Chasing the Valley and look forward to the rest of the trilogy.

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