A fantastical quest about trust and friendship, Kyra Johnson
20 April, 2021
In S R Manssen’s Tyrelia, the second book in her Realm Trilogy, Freya continues her quest, with the prime direction of her mysterious tablet. This tablet has led her through many places in Medar, and along the way, she has made many friends including the remaining Watchers. In the new-found land of Tyrelia, Freya discovers many strange things – from the humming she hears to the shield which just appears on her back moments after her entrance to Tyrelia. Freya also meets a new friend and travel companion called Willow in the town of Beta. Along with the help of Willow’s twin, Alex, Freya is able to keep following the clues of her tablet, taking her through multiple places of Tyrelia.
Meanwhile, Watchers Thyst and Saff trek through Medar, avoiding Guards and searching for another way into Tyrelia. Watcher Rube, on the other hand, is slipping in and out of the supposedly perfect Golden City – the capital of Medar – in order to keep meeting up with Freya’s family and inform them about her whereabouts in Tyrelia. At one point, the Watchers are unable to contact Freya for a long time, and they are extremely worried about her. Is she alive? Has she succeeded in her quest of finding the Ancient; the honourable one of Tyrelia?
I think S R Manssen’s aim in Tyrelia is to get us to understand, trust or believe in our family and friends, even if we are separated physically or emotionally. This is important because otherwise we may feel like we have to do something that could simply end up as betrayal or the loss of that crucial truthfulness. A good example of this is when Jack and Freya’s father was arrested by Guards and kept away until the family can provide Rube’s whereabouts. Though Jack wants to keep Rube safe because he is helping his family, he also wants his father to be safe. After a mental tennis match between the choices of freeing his father but betraying Rube, or not betraying Rube and leaving his father with the Guards, Jack decides to free his father. I can understand why Jack does this, but I still think the better option would have been to leave his father with the Guards, because Rube says he will eventually get Jack’s father out.
In Tyrelia, two new characters are introduced: Willow and Alex, who are twins. Alex tends to his flock of sheep, and seems to be a caring character. He meets Freya near the middle of the book, and helps with her quest. Willow meets Freya in the Tyrelian town called Beta, and accompanies her everywhere after that. Willow seems to be kind, but can be a little too playful for Freya’s liking. An example of this is when the two girls are going to cross a one-person bridge. Freya goes first, and is well across until the bridge starts moving. Willow is shaking the bridge, and Freya is terrified as they are quite high up. Later, Willow apologises.
I liked reading Tyrelia more than the first book in the trilogy, Medar, though I am not sure why. Tyrelia seems a little more slow-paced, which is good. I think the chapter layout is well done how it switches between the perspectives – in third person – of the different characters. This is especially effective when one chapter ends with a cliffhanger, and then it switches to a different person. It made me want to keep reading.
I give this fantasy fiction novel 4/5 stars.
- Kyra Johnson lives in Greymouth.