Review by: Toni
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
Joshua, a young Woodsman, lives in the village of Morelle, situated in the far west of Forestium. His family consists of him and his mother, his father missing during a war with an invading tribe. Joshua refuses to believe his father was killed, however, but that he may be held captive, and is certain one day he’ll find him again. Other villagers think he’s pursuing a lost cause. What no one knows is that the boy also has dreams of the battle and a man he think is his father, calling out for help.
At the age of two, Andrew was brought to the village when his parents died of the plague. He’s been Joshua’s friend ever since.
Together, the two youngsters are about to embark on a quest that will be filled with wonder, love, hardship, and grief but because they are friends, neither thinks of turning back.
Spurred by his dreams, Joshua decides to postpone the ritual trials of adulthood in which he was to complete, and search for his father instead. As he discusses this with Andrew, they encounter an Imp caught in a trap. The Imp, Galleon, tells them his people were killed by a creature called the Goat.
“The Goat is the most malicious, evil and angry creature you could ever wish to meet,” Galleon complained. He shook his head and stared into nothingness. “He’s an all-powerful magical creature who will torture and torment you for the sheer pleasure of it.”
They also learn of the existence of magical objects called mystical Orbs—one lets the viewer to see his past and future, one relieves suffering, and one allows communion with the Goat, who wants to gather all the Orbs existing throughout Forestium for his own evil purpose.
On the advice of the village Elder, Joshua goes to the Valley of Moross to consult the Oracle there. With Galleon as guide, he leaves Morelle, but Andrew soon appears to accompany them also.
“We’ve been best friends for as long as I can remember. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than by your side.”
There are fantastic creatures dwelling in Forestium…blood bats and regal Raetheons, dangerous wood-boars, and the rabbit-like flarrets…and others the boys have never before encountered, such as the metamorphs, being able to shapeshift. One of these is Protello whom they encounter shortly after Andrew is injured trying to climb a tree to a yucust-bee nest.
“There aren’t many of my kind left. We have suffered at the hands of the Goat, just like the Imps and the people of the valley, as well as others that have displeased Him.”
Because he has healing powers, Protello becomes a guardian of sorts for the little group, appearing at opportune moments when he’s needed.
They also met a girl another village. Sarah is on her own quest, and…as so often happens, romance between her and Joshua blossoms…
Before the little group reaches Sarah’s village, they’ll brave the Goat’s wrath, discover the world outside Morelle is indeed filled with wondrous people, mostly friendly, but occasionally dangerous as well. Joshua will discover that the decimation of the imps and metamorphs, the enslaving of others, and the Goat’s attempts to obtain all the Orbs are all tied together. Somehow, they relate to his destiny, a destiny he can only bring about through a terrible sacrifice…
This is a lovely coming-of-age story in a fantasy setting. The author has put great care into his world-building and it shows. His characterization are well-delineated and easily pictured. Though there are a few grammatical errors, they don’t detract from either the composition of the novel, or the plot.
The love story between Sarah and Joshua is presented in the delicate, shy manner of a first love, and it will be interesting to watch it progress through coming novels.
To enhance the story, the novel is replete with well-drawn maps, as well as illustrations of various flora and fauna. There is also a glossary of terms included.
“Raetheon – Large, majestic, white bird. Raetheons flock in small groups and can be seen soaring high above and all throughout Forestium.”
If only portraits of the characters had also been included…it would be perfect.
To sum it all up: This is a lovely story and a good start to this series. Since the story ends on a cliffhanger, it should send readers searching for other entries to learn what happens next.