THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN
Keeper of Tales Trilogy
By: Ronlyn Domingue
Published: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books – Simon & Schuster Inc.
Nearly a year ago, I featured the first in this series, THE MAPMAKER’S WAR. See that post, HERE. Now I am giving you the opportunity to find out about the second book and win your very own copy!
Even if you haven’t read THE MAPMAKER’S WAR, you can start with THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN and still experience the joys of this book. I love how the book has as “old book” feel with tattered pages and heavy paper.
to brilliant parents, befriended by a prince, mentored by a wise woman, pursued
by a powerful man, Secret Riven has no idea what destiny will demand of her or
the courage she must have to confront it in the breathtakingly epic,
genre-spanning sequel to The Mapmaker’s War.
One thousand years after a great conflict known as The Mapmaker’s War, a
daughter is born to an ambitious historian and a gifted translator. Secret
Riven doesn’t speak until her seventh year but can mysteriously communicate
with plants and animals. Unsettled by visions and dreams since childhood, she
tries to hide her strangeness, especially from her mercurial father and cold
mother. When her knowledge of an esoteric symbol brings unwelcome attention,
gentle, watchful Secret finds acceptance from Prince Nikolas, her best friend,
and Old Woman, who lives in the distant woods.
When Secret is twelve, her mother, Zavet, receives an arcane manuscript to
translate from an anonymous owner. Zavet begins to suffer nightmares and
withdraws into herself. Secret sickens with a fever and awakens able to speak
an ancient language, discovering that her mother is fluent as well. Suddenly,
Zavet dies. The manuscript is missing, but a cipher has been left for Secret to
find. Soon, Secret will have a choice to make: confront a destiny tied to an
ancient past or deny it, never to know its whole truth.
A spellbinding story, rich with vivid characters and set in a fascinating
world, THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN explores the tension between love
and hate, trust and betrayal, fate and free will.
THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN is a natural YA crossover and is perfect for those fantasy book lovers. If you like folklore and fairy tales mixed in with reality, I think this book is just the one for you. Many have praised her first in the series stating “a fun read for fantasy lovers” and “her story will charm“. There has already been a lot of praise for this book as well, with an average of 4 stars already on goodreads.com and it has only been out a week.
through an open window. The pigeon, the dove, and the sparrow circled the
newborn three times, widdershins, lit upon the wooden sill, and settled their
feathers. They turned to one another in conference, or so it seemed to the
baby’s father, who saw their heads bob and heard them coo and chirp. He had
respect for the uncanny and, believing the birds’ council to be that indeed,
watched them come to their enigmatic conclusion.
infant, snatched a wispy hair from her head, and guided the dove and the pigeon
into the autumn twilight.
walked to the window to decide what to name her. He hadn’t expected the dark
tiny creature she turned out to be. She was third born but an only child. Two
brothers, born blue, had preceded her. Her father looked to the sky at the
crescent moon and the bright star rising at its side. She was named Evensong,
for the time of her birth, but she would be called Eve, then become Secret soon
eyes the colors of night and day. Except for the occasional cry or laugh, she
would be mute until her seventh year, skilled with only one mother tongue until
her fourteenth. From Secret’s first breaths, the girl was hushed with a
silencing hiss, a sound of menace, not comfort, by her own mother.
first three years. The door to the room was always closed, and she was penned
off by a guard of wooden slats with a soft pallet and toys on the floor. She
occupied herself with colorful blocks, leather balls filled with sawdust, and
dolls stuffed with wool. Secret took pleasure in the crawling things in her
space. She wiped her hand through webs to watch the spiders build again. Beetles
danced on their backs if knocked off their feet. Ants marched in lines to carry
off crumbs she left for them. She was glad to have the insects to amuse her
because they helped her feel less lonely.
faced east and south, sat her mother. There, Zavet bent over manuscripts and
books, often muttering and burbling, caught in a rushing stream of words.
ancient worlds. She did not, and could not, explain the mystery of her many
tongues. Whatever language she heard or read, she grasped instantly, as if she
remembered rather than learned it. She spoke all of them like a native without
the accent of her own. The words burbled out of her as if from a deep, hidden
spring. She dammed them with her work as a translator, but the flood could only
be slowed to a trickle.
people. With Secret comfortable in a little wagon, Zavet went to market or for
afternoon walks, and sometimes Zavet would mutter aloud softly. Some people
seemed to try to ignore her, but Secret observed the suspicious glances from
others. She saw them lean close, eyes narrow, fingers pointing. She rarely
heard what they said, but she could sense their scrutiny. This is how she knew
her mother was not quite right, and perhaps neither was she. Zavet and Secret
did not look like their neighbors and, between her mother’s muttering and her
silence, did not sound like them either. Still, the other women were polite
toward Zavet, and she was polite but cool toward them, and they allowed their
children to play within view as they filled their baskets and remarked about
light but home when it was dark. Now and then, Bren went away for long periods
of time but always came back. When he returned, he brought presents. Secret
remembered a set of thick cards marked with colors, shapes, images, and
symbols. Glad for the attention, she sat on his lap as he named them. She
learned quickly and delighted him with the deft accuracy of her pointing finger
when he asked her to identify the images for the words he spoke.
was the one who filled her with stories. Zavet taught her respect for the
texts, which Secret was allowed to look at but not touch. What Bren gave her
she was allowed to handle, with care. She turned the pages and, with his voice,
he guided her into other worlds, slowly reading with his finger under the
symbols that became words, and the words became images. Many of the books had
illustrations, but they couldn’t compare to what emerged in her mind as she
could divine the symbols again and conjure what they told. What marvelous tales
of wonder, adventure, and possibility! Her father found her concentration
unusual and tested to see whether she understood what she read on her own. He
gave her books he had never read to her. He asked her questions to answer yes
or no, which she did with nods and shakes of her dark head. My mute little
prodigy, he called her.
Zavet was parsimonious with its use in regards to her daughter. Some of the
books her father brought he couldn’t read and promised that her mother would.
She rarely did. With those, Secret sat in silence—such a good, obedient child
was she —and studied the mysterious marks on the pages. She wondered what they
meant, what tales they told.
paper with which to draw. The little girl sat on the floor and marked the page
with all manner of symbols like ones she had seen. As she wrote the
unintelligible words, Secret’s heart pounded. Her tiny hand gripped the
coloring stick as her head flooded with images. There, within her, was a story
she could not yet tell. One she must reveal herself. All at once, she felt its
burden, its danger, and its redemption.
what had opened in her but fully able to feel its power.
noise startled the girl, and she spilled a half-empty cup of water with a jolt
of her hand. Her mother hissed again, louder. The girl felt a tight knot at her
navel loosen into a heavy force, which spread through her belly and chest. She
held her breath, kept her glare to the ground, and pushed the hot feeling deep
into her body, coiling it back to where it lived. Secret struck the page with
thick black marks, but quietly, quietly.
said under her breath as she wiped the floor clean.
Ronlyn Domingue. With the permission of the publisher, Atria Books.
I think THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN sounds mysterious and mystical and would be the perfect book to disappear in during a lazy summer afternoon. If you would like to win your own copy, just fill in the blanks below.
To purchase a copy of either of Ronlyn Domingue’s books, click the photos below: