Posted on September 15, 2007 by Matt-M-McElroy
Written by Alana Abbott
Departure is the second book in the Redemption Trilogy set in the world of the Chronicles of Ramlar Role Playing Game, which is also known as Eranon. This book picks up where Into the Reach left off, continuing the adventures of Kennerly, Lydia, Nara and Taru as they build new lives for themselves away from their homes and events in their individual pasts that brought them to the Reach.
Early in the story we catch up with the dread Zychariss and his new minion, a scarred former priestess full of hatred for life. She makes contact with members of each of the heroes’ families and begins to stir up emotions and memories rather quickly. This sets the stage for the rest of the book as the characters will need to deal with this new threat.
The book begins approximately six months after the events of Into the Reach. We learn about the main characters’ lives in the town of Serlian, just on the edge of the Reach. It does not take long for the story to propel forward, as Lydia receives a summons from the Queen to return home. A mixture of shock and terror washes over Lydia as she is forced to relive the painful memories of events in her past. When she gets ready to leave Serlian, her friends join her without hesitation.
The strength of Departure as a novel is in the personality and depth of the writing about the main characters. The author manages to detail each of them in unique and interesting ways. At first glance each of them can be dropped into fairly standard fantasy roles (Kennerly is the knight, Nara is the thief, etc), but as the story develops, so do the characters. Each of them has a world view that that enhances the others, shaped by their past experiences and those that they share together throughout the story.
Some of the supporting characters that were introduced in Into the Reach are further developed in Departure, as well as many new characters making an appearance. While not nearly as well-developed as the main cast, the supporting characters enhance the story in their own way. Into the Reach suffered from select supporting characters outshining the heroes during important scenes, Departure does not have this problem.
Unlike Into the Reach the story in Departure does not stand on its own as a fantasy adventure. The book is bogged down too much by the Chronicles of Ramlar setting and naming conventions. Many fantasy settings have their own words made up for the seasons, months of the calendar and other setting specific details, but in this particular setting they seem to be a bit much. This challenge is lessened somewhat by a detailed glossary of characters and terms at the very end of the book. I had to refer to it more than a few times while reading the story, and did not discover it until I was part way through (I don’t like to peek at the end of a book).
Departure ends on a massive cliffhanger, leaving the reader wondering about the fates of the heroes and their friends. This is especially frustrating (in a good way) because even though the characters had managed to face grave threats and overcome difficult challenges throughout the story, you get a sense of greater adventures yet to come.
Reviewer: Matt M McElroy
Look for the Chronicles of Ramlar eBooks at RPGNow.com