Full disclosure—I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
I have a confession to make. I’m not a YA fan. I know the genre is prolific and loved, but I’ve never been bitten by the YA bug. Maybe I’m too old, maybe I’m a curmudgeon, or maybe I’m no longer afflicted with the optimism of youth.
Despite my terrible personality fault, I actually enjoyed Eliza Tilton’s Broken Forest. The premise is very YA oriented. A young stable hand, Avikar, undertakes a quest to save his sister, Jeslyn, from kidnappers. Avikar is accompanied by his stout and trusty friend Derrick, who is also Jeslyn’s love interest. Unbeknowst to Avikar and Derrick, Jeslyn has been taken by agents of Lucino, a powerful alien disguised as human royalty.
Avikar and Derrick journey through strange lands, battle magical beasts, make friends, lose friends, develop love interests (or at least Avikar does with the beautiful and fierce Raven), and learn to rely on their own strengths against a mysterious and dangerous opponent.
Like any good YA story, there is violence without too much gore, there is lust without too much explicitness, and life lessons are doled out alongside near-tragedies. As far as I can tell, the primary component of YA fiction is fun, and Broken Forest certainly fulfills this part of the bargain. It’s fast-paced and action-oriented with engaging characters. The last third of this story is particularly engaging.
I highly recommend this story for fans of the genre.
Hopeless he’ll never be more than the boy who didn’t save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest. With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.
And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.
His shape-shifting brethren feed off the auras of humans, and Jeslyn’s golden hue is exactly what Lucino needs to increase his power. The longer it takes Avikar to reach her, the more entranced she becomes with Lucino’s world, and the harder it will be for Avikar to set her free.
He failed his family once. He won’t fail again.