The Chronicles of Trellah is going to be a great YA fantasy series. A fine main character, an author who is not sparing with the creativity, and lots of action.
“The Perpetual Rain” is about Sophina, a teenager with a problem, namely the disappearance of her father. However, her life is about to get interesting. A freak weather system hanging over her town is merely a symptom of the trouble that is about to spill over from a parallel universe. Soon she finds herself on an alien world with strangely familiar geography, following her high school science teacher in a desperate attempt to retrieve her kidnapped little brother.
A complex political situation on the new world plus some acquired superpowers on Sophina’s part and some very incarnate ghosts lead to a bewildering series of adventures, with the risk of her own destruction secondary to the threats to her family and her own world.
This story has a great deal of action. Graham has had all sorts of fun creating her alien world and the mundane and magical creatures that inhabit it. In fact, I found the numerous threats and attacks a bit overwhelming. I find that a few motivated and carefully-paced emergencies are more effective than a shotgun approach of random threats tossed at the main character by the will of the author.
Also, I question the switches to the point of view of her mother. They do nothing to further the plot, and the loss that tears at Sophina is heart-wrenching enough that we do not need to feel her mother’s pain as well. Like the action, a smaller amount of carefully-doled out emotion is more effective than a cloudburst.
I had a small quibble with the ending. It is a standard practice in whodunnits to give the reader at least a fighting chance to guess who the guilty party is. My own preference is at least two clear clues inserted earlier in the story to prepare us, at least in retrospect, for the surprise. More I cannot say without giving away too much.
The main character is a believable and empathetic teenager, with realistic – as far as an oldster like me can tell – teenage problems. We get thoroughly hooked into solving her problems, and I am looking forward to the rest of the series.