Tuesday, January 10, 2012

REVIEW: The Forester by Blaine D. Arden

In many ways, this story reminded me of the work of Tanya Huff (a fantasy author whom I have always loved), albeit with a far healthier and far more forward dose of eroticism than she generally indulges. The Forester is the story of an elven truth seeker called upon to investigate a murder, and forced to revisit the pain and betrayal of lost love when his former lover is revealed to be involved with outcast forester who is the crime's only witnesses.

Romantically and emotionally, there's a lot going on here for such a short story. Kelnaht was betrayed by the man he loved, who left him for a woman, and who is now involved with another man, to whom Kelnaht is attracted. The result is an akward, tentative, uncomfortable ménage à trois that manages to do justice to the entire relationship evolution, without slighting any of the characters.

The story itself is wonderfully well-written, creating a very visual fantasy world within the reader's head. The most extravagant details (like wings) are woven in so subtly, nothing feels drastically different or completely out of place. The dialogue is a bit more modern than you might expect, but entirely fitting in the CSI police procedural mode, but the use of magic to accomplish the investiation is what really makes the story shine. If I had one complaint about the story it would be that the investigation takes a back seat to the romance a bit too much, but both work well.

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