Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Chasing the Valley by Skye Melki-Wegner

Published July 1, 2013 by Random House AU
Source: the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 3 stars
From the blurb: 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 by Australian author Skye Melki-Wegner, is the story of Danika Glynn, a sixteen year old orphan, living in Rourton, a city of Taladia. Taladia is governed by a royal family, led by King Morrigan, a man who sends his citizens to war. During another bombing of the city, Danika meets a band of kids keen to escape, and they grudgingly allow her to join them on their quest for the Magnetic Valley.

The author has created a rich fantasy world in Taladia, a place where magic abounds. People have magical proclivities – they specialise in a king of magic, and this is shown via the marks on their necks. These marks develop late in teenage years and once fully formed a person’s magical talent will be known. There's a clear hierarchy when it comes to the inhabitants of Rourton, lots of Richies as well as Scruffers - Danika falls into the latter category. To me their dialogue sounded English, and I pictured an old-style town as their location.

The characters are well developed, Danika in particular, but also her supporting cast including Teddy, Clementine, Maisy and Lukas. Despite their differences, the journey brings them closer together, and it was nice to see them slowly become friends.

The ending wraps up the events of this book, resolving the issues for Danika and Lukas, but also leads on to their adventures to follow – the sequel came out earlier this year and I’m sure I’ll be reading it soon. It was a bit of a different read for me and while I didn't fully connect with the characters or the story, it was enjoyable.

Thank you to the fantastic people at Random House for my review copy via Netgalley.


  1. Glad you liked it overall. It doesn't sound like the best fit for me, I don't believe.

  2. Too bad you didn't connect with the characters Mands, but I have heard fantastic things about this book so far. The fantasy and dystopian blend sound really good. Thanks for the review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  3. Ooh, I love discovering new fantasy so thanks for adding this to my radar, Mandee! I think I'll wait to see how this series unfolds before trying to pick it up, only because I've become so wary of series lately, but the cover is gorgeous and I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one. Wonderful review!

  4. I haven't come across this before, but it sounds like the sort of fantasy book I'd enjoy. I like the sound of the rich setting, and I'm glad to hear that the characters are well-developed, even if you did have some problems connecting at times. Thanks for drawing my attention to this, Mandee! :) Lovely review as always.

  5. This book is new to me but i like the premise of the story. Great review. I'm intrigued.

  6. This one sounds intriguing, have never heard of it before, but it sounds like an interesting read. I don't know if it's one I would read myself, I don't read too much fantasy.

  7. Hmm, never heard of this one but I'm not a big fantasy reader. Happy to hear you enjoyed this one for the most part, enough to read the sequel at least :)

  8. This is a new one for me but I must say the way you described the magical system has me quite keen on picking this one up! I'm all about unique magic and worlds and this one certainly seems to fit the bill! It's a shame you didn't connect with the characters more though :( that kind of thing can really affect my overall impression of a book. I'll be curious to see what you think of the sequel!! Wonderful review ^^

  9. I don't read too much fantasy, but this sounds good. I will look it up. What no manicure? tHat is my fav part!

  10. It's a shame you didn't fully connect to the characters and story, I hate when that happens. Hopefully the sequel will dive a bit deeper. Look forward to your review of it! :-)


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