2 out of 4 stars
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Return to Kiluemar by Kimberly Marraffino is the beginning of a fantasy trilogy. Rhiannon has been living a normal life with her aunt. The only problem is that she doesn't remember anything from before the age of 7. The teen begins to have strange dreams of traveling through a magical place. It is then that she discovers she was born with magical powers but that her powers were sealed away from her in the magical realm of Kiluemar. This was done for her own good, but her powers are now seeking her out. The only way to survive will be to return to Kiluemar and take back her abilities.
My favorite part of the book was the main plot, particularly at the beginning. We are thrown immediately into Rhiannon's dream world and are just as confused as she is when she awakens soaking wet with seawater. There are some surprising twists early on, especially regarding her family. There is also some humor as new characters enter with interesting relationships to our main characters. It's a great start to a story. The story is promising and kept my attention, at least for a while.
While the opening plot was good, there were some serious issues with the organization of the novel. After the initial start, the author goes into a long series of info-dumps. While I understand the necessity (the aunt telling Rhiannon about her past), there are just too many. The majority of the book is info-dumps as the characters travel via airplane to the entrance of Kiluemar. We get a brief glimpse of that world in the main plotline before it ends, with little plot progression in the present day.
These info-dump chapters are from different perspectives and in different time periods. All told, there are at least four POV characters. Each chapter begins without indicating the time, place, or character who is telling it. This is very confusing. A simple date, location, or character name as a subtitle would alleviate this problem, but unfortunately, none of these are provided.
It works for its intended age group, teenagers. There was a bit of violence and slightly gory descriptions of death, which could disturb anyone younger. Readers, particularly adult readers, will be disappointed at the lack of plot progression for the protagonists, though.
The initial story had promise, but the info-dumps were too lengthy. The author should have brought the information in more organically throughout this and future books, allowing more plot to occur during this book. Due to this and the jarring change of narration, I give Return to Kiluemar by Kimberly Marraffino 2 out of 4 stars. I wouldn't mind hearing the rest of the story, but I won't be seeking it out.
Return to Kiluemar
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