You know how I (Muse KJ) feel about a book when I finish a book and promptly contact the author to bat my eyes and beg them to write a sequel.
You especially know how I feel when I take it upon myself to review and rave on release day, and even contact said author again to ensure I know when release day is.
All’s fair in love, war, and book obsessions.
The Golden Dunes of Renhala
by Amy Joy Lutchen
Blurb: How do you live with a secret so dark and so deeply woven into your being that it threatens to smother your very existence, with no known way out? Use it to your advantage.
Kailey Rooke, karmelean, and now a possibly unethical karma-for-hire, has spent the past year jumping from project to project without any real hope for salvation. With repercussions from her actions at every turn, she discovers that as time goes on, she loses a bit more of herself to that which feeds on her anguish–that which is thriving inside her own body.
When a new contract to find a missing girl arises, Kailey attempts to put her past and its associated problems on the back burner, but she soon finds out that treachery and deceit lie shortly ahead in Golden Dunes, only giving face to new problems, with one leading right back to her childhood past.
She struggles to complete her contract as her own life teeters on a fulcrum, constantly tipping according to karma’s whim. How long will she keep her balance? Which way will she fall?
Muse Kristen’s Thoughts
If you recall my review of the opening to the series, it reminded me that I needed to read more urban fantasy. As my to read list has gotten out of hand, I haven’t had the time to read much more – until I found myself back into the world of Renhala. As it’s been six months since I read the first book, I was a little concerned but quickly discovered that it was an easy opener. While the book isn’t a stand alone, you can quickly catch yourself up if it’s been awhile since you’ve read the first. If you’ve read the first recently, don’t worry! The refreshers are subtle enough that you won’t feel as if you’re being bogged down with backstory.
I’m extra critical of the second book in a series, because often they seem to slump (even if it’s just a little). Not the case here. The Golden Dunes of Renhala revved up the action, while increasing the intensity and complexity. We’re seeing directly inside Kailey’s head, as her life becomes more chaotic and hard to manage. I found the book hard to put down – switching from Kindle to phone so I could read it over the stove as I cooked, only putting it down when bacon threatened to splatter it. It’s easy to get lost in Renhala, especially with the vivid world-building. New creatures. New lands.
This visit to Renhala is full of adventure, swoons, shocks…and some deeper darkness than the first book. There’s a gritty realism to this fantasy.
Did I mention there are swoons?
“His kisses travel down my neck and over my stomach until I feel I may die here and now, forever satisfied from a lover’s touch.”
And per usual, there are creatures who I imagine look a little like this. Or at least behave like this.
The ending? Nearly knocked me off my stool. I think I’m starting to realize that I need to read Renhala books while safely tucked in a big cozy chair. Something which I can’t fall out of. With no mirrors nearby to see my jaw drop in.
I immediately wanted another book in the series as soon as I put The Golden Dunes of Renhala down. Immediately.
Final little note: I have to admit that I love relating to a character who loves her tea so much. As I sit here with a mug in my hand.
Author Bio: Amy Joy Lutchen
Born in Chicago, Illinois, a few days prior to watching her first movie, at a drive-in theater. Yes, drive-in theater. And yes, her mother believed she was possessed by the devil after said first movie. Grew up in the Chicagoland area and graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where she simply became a number, but decided it was a good number.Loves cooking (mostly candy-cooking), gardening (putting holes in the ground for perennials, DONE!), designing and constructing jewelry (everything from silversmithing to lampworking), and living with her wonderful husband, two children, black Labrador, and frog—and maybe even the chipmunk family that likes to destroy her aforementioned perennials.
Also hopes that you enjoy her writings, and won’t criticize her for her aversion of eating things in multiples of three.