Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Forester II: Lost and Found by Blaine D. Arden

Title: The Forester II: Lost and Found
Author: Blaine D. Arden
Purchase at Storm Moon Press
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Nathie
Genre: paranormal, elves
Length: 36k words, novella
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf,


"The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning."

One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers—smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif—is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht.

If it isn't sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it's heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free.

And if that's not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.


Well, after that blurb there’s just not a whole hell of a lot I can do to spoil it.

Lost and Found is the follow-up story to The Forester, reviewed here. This second stands alone reasonably well, since all pertinent relationships are explained within the text. That means a certain amount of repeating from the first book, but it’s kept brief and to the point. Some aspects are explained more fully, and I’m afraid those explanations cost at least one character some sympathy points.

A year after the events of the first story, Truth Seeker Kelnacht, our first person POV character and the only voice we hear, is seeking a youngster who’s lost in the forest. This quest took roughly half the book, but would have been wrapped much faster had Kelnacht stayed on task or used the capabilities outlined in the first book. His endless returns home to have sex and check with someone or other, in that order of importance, plus a negative retcon of the elves’ abilities, stretched the search out longer than I could maintain interest.

Taruif is a problematic partner because of his past: he’s been outcast from society for a crime that seemed tragically romantic in the first story. Here he explains more fully, and if I can find a way to word my reaction more gracefully than WTF I will edit it in. Sometimes the right word to use is No and to say anything else is either evil or stupid. The first time around it came across as an act of omission, here as an act of volition, and I actually yelled at my Kindle.

The interplay beween Ianys, Taruif, and Kelnacht is the best part of the story, but the world itself has been retconned to accept gay relationships and triads, so part of the sense of forbiddenness has disappeared. Not that it’s bad for elven society, only for story continuity.

The story arc is such that it remains for Ianys to reconcile his honor and his future with his past, so I anticipate a third section to wrap that up. Whether it will use the world building of book 1 or book 2, or some further changed society remains to be seen. Why the complete story arc wasn’t done in one book, given the lengths of the sections and the possibility for more consistent society building if it was all together is a mystery.

The first story by itself was fine, this one taken alone is okay, but the author broke her own rules. 2.5 marbles

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