Fane Forest by Tahlea Eastwood.
Published by Roly Road Books.
Source: Received ecopy from the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
“I chance a quick look at Myles and Ric before I pick up the tray and walk towards certain death. I say this because it’s certain. I’m offering myself to a group of people that would happily shoot me in the head, given the chance. I decide I really have gone insane.”
Andie lives on the border of a forest that is prohibited to humans. Only thing is, Andie isn’t human. For centuries her kind has been hunted and after spending her entire life in fear and hiding, it’s no wonder she yearns for freedom. But freedom is a fickle thing.
When Andie’s father falls ill, she is forced to break the borders of Fane Forest in pursuit of the one creature who can save his life. What she discovers along the way is a magic that has the power to turn blood against blood, throat against throat. Can she protect the biggest secret on earth, and save her father’s life?
Fane Forest sounds, from the blurb on Goodreads, like a wonderful novel about a young girl's journey that is filled with magic. On this, it absolutely delivers.
When Andie's father gets fatally ill, she sets out with her brother, Ric, and her best friend, Myles, on a journey through the Fane Forest to find a cure. This becomes a long trek that tests their relationships with each other, as well as their faith in themselves. It begins with a fast, exciting prologue and while the story itself is slower, it kept me interested the whole time. It really was a great adventure story with elements of a past fantasy world and a modern world combined for an interesting result. Not only is the story fantastic, but Tahlea's writing is also wonderful. The imagery was beautiful, and the settings, especially the forest, really came alive in front of me.
Andie is an excellent character. She is very easy to relate to, especially for young adults. She finds herself feeling very stuck in her life, craving more freedom, which her parents refuse her. She has huge ambitions and just wants a chance to prove herself, which, combined with her unwavering love for her family, is what gives her the courage to to take this task on. Readers get to experience a lot of her internal conflict as she struggles with who she knows herself to be and who she wants to be, as well as the responsibilities she finds thrust upon her. As she goes through the draining journey, she really comes into her own and grows as a character, which was great to see.
My only issues with the novel were, first, that it could have used more editing, even just for spelling and grammar. It's not a huge issue but it can distract from the story. I also wish there had been more division between scenes. When there is not a chapter division, it often felt like I was thrust into a new scene without any indication that any time has passed or that the characters have moved. A little more clarity would have helped this story reach its full potential.
Overall, this was a really great novel that I'm so pleased to have had the chance to read!