Ossus Library Index
Fantasy Index


A novel by Krista Walsh
(2014, Raven's Quill Press)

The Meratis Trilogy, book 2

The creator of the Feldal Chronicles finds his enemy has been pulled to Montreal with him, and must be stopped before he brings destruction to the fantasy world.


+ -- First reading (ebook)
July 14th to 23rd, 2017


The main character has grown a bit since the first book, but he’s still whiny, and is mostly an observer, while the other characters still don’t have much depth, despite their contributions to the story. For a novel touted as taking place in Montreal, we don’t get to see much of the city, as most of the story takes place back in the fantasy world. Fortunately, the climax with the dragons was a lot of fun.

Spoiler review:

After reading the first book in this series, I hadn’t really planned to go back. The story was okay, but the characters didn’t have much to say, or much depth. However, the second book was said to take place in Montreal, so I picked it up to see how they’d run around my hometown. Unfortunately, they leave Montreal pretty early in the book, and even when they’re in the city, they go to the Old Port (strangely called “Old Port”, rather than the more common “the Old Port”) a couple of times, the Beaver Lake Pavilion once, and a hostel once. The author obviously wanted to get back to the fantasy world, where I was hoping to get more interaction with the modern city. A better use of a Canadian city is in No Time to Scream, where the author uses Toronto landmarks to great effect.

I found Raul’s escape from Montreal to be way too easy. It didn’t take any work at all, that we see. The city was only used as a novelty.

The main character goes from angry and monotonous in the first book, to observer and thinker in this one, which is an improvement. Even so, he whines all throughout, which was annoying. I couldn’t wait to see the end of his rift with Cassie. The argument felt fake enough, and is reminiscent of the way such things are depicted on TV or in the movies, where one person decides what is best for both of them. When Cassie finally initiates a discussion, Jeff finds that he does resent her for being captured, such that he bargained away his imagination to get her back. His whiny soul-searching shows him that he would do the same again, but it still takes a long time for him to realize that he loves Cassie regardless of what it cost him. Finally, when they discover that they can live with the mistakes Jeff has made, they make up and make love. It was the most tender part of the entire book. There are no erotic details, just the tender feelings, which made it better. However, given that the author uses enough coarse language that it shouldn’t be marketed to young readers, maybe she should have put some eroticism in, just to add some spice to the book.

The novel itself was less underwhelming than the first book, which isn’t high praise. It offers a lot more in terms of the world around it, while at the same time keeping the story within the local characters. We get to meet the queen, and the princess, who ends up being married to Jayden in a Vegas-style ceremony years ago, as well as a few men in the queen’s guard. It’s made so that we are not to like the queen’s first minister -he seems suspicious, and the way the characters see him is always in a poor, skulking way. But he ends up being faithful, and so does the man he sends with them to Feldall castle. I think that part of the book was well made.

Then we get Ven, sister to the poor soldier who held Jeff in a cell while Raul went away to conquer the world in the last book. I never really got to like her, though she was tough on the exterior and soft inside when Jeff showed her any kind of compassion. When she was nearly killed in prison, all the characters immediately “knew” that the minister’s man was the one behind the attack, but it should be obvious to most readers that it was the guards, one of whom Cassie was flirting with, who were involved. Apparently they are part of an anti-monarchy movement. The other thing that felt natural, and occurred to me earlier in the novel, was that Ven would come to “our world” with Jeff and Cassie (and seeing Ven in the café was pretty funny at the end).

The entire time at Feldall castle was one of people panicking and not doing much useful. I was surprised when Jayden and Jasmine went off to battle, leaving Jeff and the others behind -because it seems so logical to do so. But it can only last so long, because otherwise the story gets boring. When Brady wakes up from his dreaming contact with the dragon, he heads straight to the battle. Just so that the main characters can be there to see what’s going on, Maggie, Jeff, Cassie and the others make their way up the mountain to the enraged battle.

That may be the biggest difficulty in the series. The characters, especially Jeff, are only around for the ride. He gets to see things happen, but most of it is beyond the control of even the characters who are doing things. They have very little effect, and their efforts could be replaced in most cases by random characters.

The climax comes when Raul finally transforms himself into a dragon, and Brady calls the Andvell dragon there, where they face off. Though grievously injured, the dragon beats Raul and apparently kills him. It was well-written, and quite engaging.

Raul is able to transform because he’s stealing the magic from the rest of the world. Maggie is affected, and can’t project magic while she protects herself (so can’t send Jeff and Cassie home). Brady is unexpectedly affected, and nearly dies between that and his link with the dragon. He’s the closest character who has any effect on what happens in this book

The story seems finished by the end of this book, but there is a mystery power in the last chapter that affects Jeff, Cassie and Ven, which indicates that something was left unfinished. I’ll complete the trilogy, only to see what it was. But so far, the series has left me very neutral.


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