Books 1-3 The Complete Forester Trilogy
by Blaine D. Arden
Orignally posted at The Romance Reviews
“Your Path is muddy, Kelnaht, but don’t think avoiding the puddles will make it easier to travel.”
Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith, when a murder reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit. Kelnaht’s former lover Ianys once betrayed him, and the shunned forester Taruif is not allowed to talk to anyone but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder.
The guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.
Then a stripling goes missing from the tribe, and heavy rainfall hides all traces of his whereabouts. With days creeping by without a lead, it’s hard to keep the tribe’s spirits up, more so when Kelnaht’s own future depends on the elders. Taruif has been shunned for almost twenty turns, but now that a possible forester’s apprentice is coming of age, the elders consider reducing his sentence. Taruif could be set free.
“I have great responsibilities, but my path ahead is as foggy and blurred as the path behind me.”
Later, when several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Ianys’ daughter Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.
“There is always a way.”
Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and the decree of the elders prevent them from claiming each other openly at Solstice. Kelnaht can investigate murder and foul play, but he can’t see how he can keep both his lovers without breaking the rules. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.
Review 4 Stars
A wonderful mix of fantasy, magic and mystery with characters to fall in love with.
Three books in one, The Forester Trilogy includes the tales The Forester, Lost and Found and Full Circle. I'm glad I got to read them all at once, because each flowed into the other and made a much more satisfying read.
Kelnaht is a the truth seeker of his tribe, much like a modern day detective or investigator, but has natural magical talents that help him get to the truth of the matter. Whether it is murder, missing children or mysterious illnesses, Kelnaht is the elf who deals with these things.
Kelnaht is still in love with his previous partner, Ianys and is shocked and dismayed when he discovers the elf is now in a relationship with the forester, Taruif, an elf who has been shunned for decades. No one may utter his name and no one may speak to him except for the Guide, the elves' spiritual leader and advisor. Kelnaht is torn between keeping their secret and wanting to be included in it, for he has long desired Taruif from afar.
Invited to join their relationship as a triad, Kelnaht accepts, but due to the elders' restrictions, they cannot openly be together due to the shunning. Can the three men find happiness or is their love doomed to failure before it has a chance to grow?
The entire book is told through Kelnaht's point of view, which make sense with him being a truth-seeker, but I would have liked to get a glimpse into Taruif's and Ianys' minds too, even if only for a brief while.
Part magical adventure, part mystery, part love story, the book has a good balance between plot and romance. The prose is as lush as the forest surrounding the elves and sweeps you away on a fantastical adventure.
The love scenes, while well written, jarred me out of the story in places when the author used modern day expressions or slang. It didn't seem to fit with the fantasy/faerie tale feel of the rest of the book. Having an elf in a fantasy world use the expression 'jack off' just didn't seem to fit. But maybe that's just me :)
I've not read that many books with a poly or triad relationship, but it seemed to work well here and it was common in the elvish culture in the book. I loved the fact that Kelnaht was a cloud elf because he had wings and could fly, while Taruif was a tree elf and knew more of earth magics. Ianys was a blacksmith and each character had their own different skills and personalities which suited each. There is little jealousy in their relationship, all three know they are wanted
If you like fantasy tales with elves, magic and a love story that sweeps you in, this could be the book for you.