Monday, April 2, 2018

Book Review: 'Melokai' by Rosalyn Kelly

British author Rosalyn Kelly was born in the south of England but has lived in the Middle East and travelled the globe extensively. She studied English Literature and Language at Oxford Brookes University before embarking on a PR and marketing career, telling the stories of international brands and businesses. In 2016 she decided to devote her career to writing, debuting with MELOKAI inspired by the mountains of Nepal's stunning Annapurna Sanctuary. MELOKAI is Book 1 in her The Heart of the Mountains trilogy

Rosalyn respects her readers and to assure the trilogy will find an eager audience she takes the time to offer maps and appendices of characters and places and peoples to clarify the new information she presents in this new fantasy world.

The flavor of Roslyn’s writing is evident form the first few paragraphs: ‘Ramya liked her tongue. She wasn’t ready to give it up, not yet. The Melokai rolled it around her teeth, touched it to the roof of her mouth and brought it down with a satisfying cluck. She glanced at Chaz. The scholar’s mottled black and white hands cupped his face, his body rocking with the movement of his horse, eyes glazed. They continued through the circular streets of the city in silence, both soon to lose the ability of speech, but neither with anything to say. Most Melokais ruled for a decade, Ramya had ruled now for two years longer than most. Your time is up! She was certain this was the cats’ message. They had been frantic all morning. Their mewing, trilling, yowling sounded different. Urgent, worried. They had scuttled about under her feet as she limbered through her daylight dances, slapped paws at the goat’s milk in her washtub rather than lapping at it, and as she had dressed, they clawed at her fur cloak, looking up at her with knowing marble eyes. When she had left her chambers to head to the busy dining hall, a swarm of squalling, hissing fur had trailed behind. Ramya had made the oath, she knew what happened to old Melokais. Her tongue would be taken and she would be banished by the Stone Prophetess Sybilya, cast out to wander the mountains alone. Sybilya cautioned that those who had tasted power were reluctant to relinquish it, and forever strived to wrench it back, causing unrest, violence and war. Without speech, old rulers cannot poison the minds of others and bend them to their will, and out in the wilderness there was no one to corrupt. The Stone Prophetess knows best, she lived through the Xayy atrocities after all.’

A brief summary of this complete novel follows: ‘Legendary warrior Ramya has successfully ruled as Melokai for longer than most. Prosperous, peaceful, and happy, her people love her. Or so she thinks. Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy. Is the abrupt appearance of a mysterious, eastern cave creature the prophesied danger? Or is it something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves? Will the ferocious war with their kind oust her from power? Suddenly Ramya must fight threats from all sides to save her mountain realm. But while her back is turned, a conspiracy within her inner circle is festering. Ramya and her female warriors must crush an epic rebellion before it can destroy her and devastate her beloved nation. She thinks it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning.’

Sound, skilled writing with fine character development make this an impressive debut novel for the young Rosalyn Kelly. The story will continue, as this is a trilogy Grady Harp, March 18

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.