Thursday, December 22, 2011

ARC Review: The Forester by Blaine D. Arden

Blaine D. Arden
The Forester
Storm Moon Press, December 22, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith. Worse, a murder committed ten days before Solstice reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit: Kelnaht's former lover Ianys, who once betrayed him, and the shunned forester named Taruif, who is not allowed to talk to anyone but The Guide, their spiritual pathfinder. When Taruif turns out to be the only witness for the crime, Kelnaht has to keep Ianys from sacrificing himself and losing his daughter, while at the same time realising he'd gladly sacrifice himself to end Taruif's loneliness.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Elves, Mystery, Forest, Threesome, HFN ending

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3

Reviewed by Lis:

Imagine a squee and a happy dance when Janna send me the ARC request for The Forester. I’d come across the book a few days earlier and couldn’t wait for the release. Needless to say, The Forester was read upon receiving a copy and I wasn’t disappointed.

Elves? Oh my!
No these elves are not Santa’s helpers, but a combination of elves in the high fantasy genre and the world of Magic the Gathering. And as you can gather from the well-drawn cover, they are pretty darn hot.

The Characters
This story is set around three characters: Kelnaht, a sky elf and Truth Seeker; Taruif, a shunned Forester; and Ianys, a blacksmith and Kelnaht’s former lover. All three are intricately drawn characters and bring their own peculiarities into the mix, but it’s Kelnaht we come to know best as the story is set from his point of view. He’s a Truth Seeker and investigates the murder of Cyine. For an elf he comes across as a bit jaded, but as we read on, he has a reason to. In fact, he is a very sweet elf.

Taruif is the Forester, a shunned elf. He is not allowed to talk to anyone as no one is allowed to talk to him except the Guide. Taruif is shunned for a crime he committed in the past. Of all three characters, he is the one we know least about. He gets the least page time, though he is talked about by others or on Kel’s mind. This is too bad, because Taruif is a mysterious, but very interesting character and I would have liked to see more of him.

Ianys is Kel’s ex-lover and they parted on bad terms, though there are still a lot of feelings between the two. As the story is told from Kel’s point of view, the reader will have an instant dislike for Ianys until more layers are added the story. Ianys is both passionate and impulsive, which contradicts nicely with Kel’s introvert nature and Taruif’s confident, quiet character.

The Story
The Forester is a short story, but for such a short story it tells quite the tale and is very well written and edited to boot. There is a definite focus on Kelnaht and the mystery surrounding Cyine´s death. The romance between the three is woven in between that mystery, and comes secondary. Personally, I would have liked to see the story extended and focused more on the romance as well as the mystery (come on, I love hot elves getting it on!). However, the plot is well done. The mystery is believable and nicely handled. I loved how the investigative techniques involve magic, but also CSI-techniques. The romance itself is sweet. There isn’t a whole lot of elf man-sex, but what there is, it good enough to melt your screen. Still, I wanted to see more of it.

More elves?
This story being so short is perhaps my only niggle about this book. As said, I’d hoped to see a more expanded story that focused a bit more on the relationship between the three. For me, what was given, was only enough to wet my appetite (and I’m ferocious.) When The Forester ends – with a believable HFN ending – you’re not sure where things will lead. The reader is left with questions about whether or not Kel, Taruif and Ianys will make it happen, with questions concerning the Forester and his past and future and of course Kelnaht himself. I can’t give away too much here, without spoiling the story. While I’m happy that this is not a storybook ending, I very much felt a part of the story was missing.

However, that could also just be me. Not everyone likes to constantly read nicely wrapped up, worked out books. Some readers actually like to be left with questions concerning what will happen next, so for those readers The Forester is the perfect book.


  1. Thank you, Lis, for that wonderful review :)

    elf man-sex *snort* I'll have to remember that lol

  2. I really liked this one too, and love the elf CSI stuff. I thought the ending suited and to have everything work out HEA with a ribbon it would have seemed forced given the length. Maybe there will be more in their world. That would be interesting.


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