by Emma Michaels
Genre: YA Fantasy
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…
Amazon (paperback): https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Forest-Emma-Michaels/dp/1539942414
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the fantasy and the folklore of it all... and I quite enjoyed the journey Lily took to save the life of her brother... however, it did fall a little flat for me, it fell short of it's potential. The first pitfall was the need for another editorial lookover. Overall, the prose was nice, lovely even in many parts, but there were sections with fragmented sentences and incorrect word placement... which took me out of the story a few times because I had to go back and reread it to understand what the author was saying or describing.
Another pitfall - and I'm kinda torn on this in some ways - was that there could have been MORE... more character development, more world building. I would have liked to see more of both the spirit world and the hospital Lily found herself in. I would have liked to see more detail about the culture within these places. You know, Lily is told many times that not everything is as it seems, that she needs to be careful about how she responds to the spirits... giving on this idea that perhaps Lily is in danger... but I never actually saw that. Other than a couple dirty looks and some secrets being kept from her, I never got the feeling that Lily was in any kind of danger. And this goes double for Arro. Many of the characters warned Lily about Arro, that he was a trickster fox and she had to look out for his tricks... but I never got the feeling that he was particularly mischievous... perhaps a bit wary of her, but never cruel. I also would have liked to see more development into their relationship. I know all of this takes place within a short time span because Cole's life is hanging by a thread, but a couple conversations between Lily and Arro would have been helpful in believing their relationship and the depth of their feelings for one another.
I also would have liked to see more of Lily and Cole's life before the accident. Their life is pretty vague, probably purposefully so, but I would have still liked to know more of who they were before all this... and it would have helped out in character development.
And this is where I'm torn... It really could have been twice the size it turned out to be... and in many ways, I do wish there had been more to the story and definitely to the world building, but I do kinda like that in keeping it mysterious, in keeping it vague, Emma left much of it up to the reader's imagination. It's always kind of cool when authors do this and do it well.
Overall, although I'm torn on the purposefully vague and mysterious aspects of it all, I still really enjoyed reading this and I look forward to checking out more of Emma's books.
Also, what IS Usagi/Sachiko, Willow and now Lily?? I've been trying to find out what kind of spirit/creature they are but I haven't been able to. I find it FASCINATING... especially Lily with her cosmos/galaxy markings!
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Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series. With over 15 written publications and hundreds of book covers under her belt she plans on taking over the literary world one cup of coffee at a time.
I just HAD to include some of her art... they're gorgeous! Check out her website for all her cover art!