Book Review: The Chronicle of Secret Riven by Ronlyn Domingue

The Chronicle of Secret RivenThe Chronicle of Secret Riven
Keeper of Tales Trilogy Book 2
Ronlyn Domingue
Atria Books, May 2014
ISBN 978-1-4516-8891-7

This story, which is Book 2, introduces Eve (Secret) Riven, as a small quiet child. So quiet, she never speaks. When she is only four years old Secret discovers she can talk mind-to-mind to plants, insects, and animals—and they can speak back to her.

Secret’s mother has the uncanny ability to speak and translate arcane languages and spends her time working for a single patron whose translation needs take up all her time, leaving little for Secret. And although Secret’s father dotes upon her, he is often away from home on business. The child is very lonely.

The story follows Secret through her school years, where she graduates with honors, until she takes a job with Fewmany, an enormously wealthy inventor and entrepreneur. His background is obscure and mysterious.

During this time, Secret makes a few friends. Nicholas, who will become king of the nation, for one. Another is Old Woman, who lives in the forest reached only through a mysterious tunnel, and gives the child the love for which she yearns. And there is Cyril the squirrel, who first led the child through the mysterious hollow tree that takes her into a peaceful land where time stands still.

The world-building in the story is breathtaking. The characterization is beautifully developed. The writing is lovely. The plot? Well, it moves very slowly, allowing time for all the above mentioned features to progress. Although Secret’s story is a fine one, in the end, the book left me a bit unsatisfied. I wanted to see some resolution, but instead am left hanging, presumably to await the third book of the trilogy.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, May 2014.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.