I have been most remiss in not having read anything by Blaine D. Arden and having read the blurb, I really wanted to discover more about illicit affairs between tree elves and what a cloud elf was. Below is what I found out;
Titles: The Forester and The Forester II
Author: Blaine D. Arden
Publisher:Storm Moon Press
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
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.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading The Forester, which is refreshing. What I didn’t expect was a well written and well thought out alternate universe comprised of Cloud Elves, Tree Elves and many other beings who I’m sure we have yet to meet. The society is of course centred in a Forest where everyone has their place, their talents and some special abilities. Kelnaht is a cloud elf, which means he has wings and he is also a Truth Seeker with the ability to scan for and interpret physical evidence in crimes. He and his apprentice Brem are an Elven CSI team, complete with interrogation techniques and autopsy methods. The eponymous elf of this short story is called Taruif and is a shunned elf who looks after the Trees and builds/ designs the community’s dwellings. Why he is shunned comes out during this story. The first Forester revolves around the case of a murdered female cloud elf, whom Kelnaht had briefly dated,
…before I realized I preferred flat chests and permanent stubble.
The murder enquiry is good, intriguing and you forget that these are Elves and become immersed in their world and the crime. There is a new Triad/menage introduced in this story between Ianys, Taruif and Kelnaht, which is very sensual and their story is continued in Forester II review below:
“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.
Forester II continues the ‘Triad’ relationship between the MCs, which they conduct in secret because Taruif is still ‘shunned’ by the community. However, there is a chance his sentence will be reduced giving Kel and Ianys a chance to be with him publicly as a committed ‘Triad’. This time the crime to be solved is the abduction of a ‘stripling’, a young man, named ‘Ustion’ and this time the crime strikes too close to home and heart. Again the mystery is good and carries though the story in tandem with the relationship issues of the MCs. I really like this world created by Blaine D. Arden and I can see the potential here for more stories from it. I really hope this is the case and I would so love to see a full novel length story, with more time to delve into the roles of the ‘Guide’, the ‘Truth Seekers’, ‘The Forester’ , the Elders, The Apprentices and their Mentors. If the idea of an Elven CSI seems too outlandish, believe me this story is written in a way that it all seems believable and quite addictive.
I would like to thank Storm Moon Press for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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