[size=9]Post Intern: Amelie Chevalier[/size]RhyDin Nights: A ReviewSeptember 24, 2013
Since the advent of the literary word, fiction has served as an elaborate and reliable means of escape. Intricate romances, gripping conflict, and evocative and elegant wordplay can capture a reader, and whisk him away from a miserable cubicle in an office to somewhere never before imagined. Only a few pages can arm him with a sword in a magical land of knights and goblins, put a detective pad in his hand in the back alley of a murder scene, or sit him in front of the window of a shuttle escape pod, watching his home planet?s imminent destruction. Films and shows on holodisk can arrange and project any number of these fantastic genres, but nothing will ever come close to that unfathomable experience of black, one-dimensional print leaping off the page and transforming itself into an extremely vivid, extremely personalized story that is unique to any other.
In RhyDin, the word fantastic seems like a non-sequitur. A trip to a local tavern is enough to saturate ? or even glut ? the average fantasy enthusiast. A night of queuing up behind minotaurs for a dwarven ale served to you by an intoxicated faerie sincerely begs the question: Just what does the average RhyDinian need in a book?
Michael Donnelly?s latest novel, ?RhyDin Nights,? is a sequel to his Terran best-seller-turned-film-adaptation ?Boston Nights.? Like his first novel, ?RhyDin Nights? is a turbulent love story with complex and sometimes even self-destructive characters embroiling themselves in struggle in the search for happiness. The premise is ultimately the same, but ?RhyDin Nights? picks up five years after the first ends, and unlike its predecessor takes place (obviously) in the realm of RhyDin.
Despite topping the best-seller list for three straight weeks on Earth, much of the criticism from Donnelly?s first novel stems from his sometimes clich? method of storytelling. In the past Donnelly has made no secret of his humble beginnings as an author, scribbling short stories in a spiral notebook in high school, but despite his English degree from a renowned Terran university, triteness sometimes sneaks into his chapters, making a few sentences of otherwise great writing occasionally come across as poor Charles Dickens imitations to the untrained eye. Despite such claims, however, those same critics concede that the depth of Donnelly?s characters more than alleviates those complaints.
?RhyDin Nights? is no exception. The book opens a little shakily with, ?It was a cold night in RhyDin. The kind of night that seeps into your bones and freezes your soul,? but in just a turn of a page we?re reintroduced to Ryan, and all fault is immediately forgiven and forgotten. The story follows Ryan, a man battling alcohol abuse who hits rock bottom and ends up in RhyDin where he meets Roxanne, the girl of his dreams (and arguable damsel in distress). Ryan was, and still remains Donnelly?s saving grace as an author, for while many writers can pen excellent adventure scenes and a gripping climax that will put a reader on the edge of his seat (and reaching for the tissues), not many can create a character with self-conflict so relatable it is impossible not to both love and loathe him at the same time.
The book in itself is more lighthearted than the first, as the immense realm that is RhyDin gives Donnelly a wide berth of environments and characters to experiment with. Moreover, though Donnelly claims his only inspiration for writing the novel came from RhyDin itself, it is apparent the book is geared toward its natives. At the outset, the story?s focus is understandably slightly removed from the main character while Donnelly toys with fantastic, fairytale elements that seem clich? and are, but in an entertaining, predictable way that only RhyDinians can appreciate. From there, the reader is embroiled in a modern, Lewis Carroll-esque adventure that follows Ryan and Roxanne up a steep cliff with intangible, yet very real personal demons hot on their heels. As for what greets them when they reach the edge? Let us just say that fans who enjoyed ?Boston Nights? will not be disappointed.
It?s hard to imagine an environment like RhyDin being portrayed in a book without seeming hokey, but in ?RhyDin Nights,? Donnelly has found a combination that works. He has managed to embrace the fantasy of the realm and all its nuances without seeming over the top. What?s more, criticism from his previous book seems to have impacted his writing positively, as in one particular scene it becomes obvious that the book is poking fun at itself (or RhyDin in general). Ultimately the execution is a quite excellent, charismatic delineation of fiction and fantasy that leaves just enough questions unanswered so as to beg the public?s appeal for a trilogy.
Regardless, a one day cover-to-cover marathon with this book will only confirm RhyDin deserves literature as much as anywhere else. Maybe even more.
After all, escape needn?t always be sought on the wings of dragons.
[size=9][[Tied to SL, "Book Release"
with player's permission. Thank you!]][/size]