Title: Shadows of the Forest
Author: Emma Michaels
Publication date: November 5, 2016
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: e-ARC from XPressoTours
About the book:
Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.
This is what happened when I broke them…
Rants and Raves of Shadows of the Forest
This is a really short fantasy novel, but it felt like a lifetime to finish. I wanted to love Shadows of the Forest, but in the end, I had such a hard time connecting with the characters and the storyline. Sometimes I caught my mind wandering away from the page, and then I would have to reread the same page over to finally understand what was going on. Don’t get me wrong, I think Emma Michaels has a gift for storytelling, her writing is beautiful, but I just don’t think this book caught me in the right reading mood. UGH, the curses of being a mood reader.
Even though I had hard time connecting with the story and staying focused, I did like the fantasy elements regarding Japanese myths and the importance of spirits in the forest. I don’t now too much about Japanese myths/culture, but I would have liked to have seen this aspect more developed and explained.
I also really enjoyed the theme of sacrifice and love spread throughout the 144 pages. As twins, Lily and Cole have an important connection, not just as siblings and womb-mates, but their sacrifices and motivations throughout the novella portrayed a friendship worth fighting for. I’m really close to my brother, so I too think my decision-making skills would solely be focused on, “how do I save my brother at all costs?” My only complaint about Lily’s mission to save her brother is that she needed to be more focused and less negative. A majority of the story is focused on Lily’s depressing thoughts of how terrible her life is (and was). She often allowed her past to overpower a future she believes she deserves.
For a short book that makes a complete turn of events near the end, I felt like the story dragged on too long at first and then was suddenly rushed in the end. I also would have loved more development in the romance aspect of the book since it is quickly inserted near the end. I think Shadows of the Forest has a lot of potential of being a really good fantasy novel, but because it has a short span of pages, which was mainly focused on Lily’s self-pity, I had a hard time connecting to Lily and Cole’s story.
NOTE: Thank you to XPressoBookTours for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.