Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"In the Forests of the Night" by Kersten Hamilton Review

 Again, no pics today. Sorry for being such a boring blogger, but I'm using someone else's computer and I hate to download images on a computer that's not mine. My mom wouldn't appreciate finding a random shot of a girl with glowing yellow eyes in among her grandchildren pics either. BTW, the cover is kind of neat, if you want to Google it. :)

"In the Forests of The Nights" by Kersten Hamilton (book 2 The Goblin Wars)

If I were rating just the last part of the book, I'd give it a four. But the slow start made In The Forests of the Night hard to get into, so I decided on three stars.
The book starts immediately after "Tyger, Tyger" left off. There are tons of characters and you're thrown right into their storylines without intro or explanation. To me, the first of the book felt a little jumbled and I think it was because there were so many people (and goblins, shapeshifters, etc.) to deal with.
Finn is still convinced Teagan is his soul-mate, and Teagan's not sure how to feel about that, especially since she's struggling with learning she has goblin blood. But don't think this is a YA paranormal romance. It's really not. There's one kiss, and it's toward the end of the book. I didn't really feel any spark between Teagan and Finn. The main focus of this book is goblins vs. good guys and their increasingly violent and bloody battles both in this world and in Mag Mell. That said, the fights were written so I didn't find them upsetting. It's hard to explain, but they didn't really have much of an emotional impact on me. Hamilton's writing felt, for lack of a better word, younger than most YA novels. (That's not a criticism, because it is well written, just an observation about the style.) I found myself thinking that without the curse words and occasional bloodiness, this really could've been a middle grade book.
A good deal of the plot is tied to Irish mythology, and occasionally it's hard keeping straight who did what with or to whom all those centuries ago that set the events of this story in motion.
I did enjoy seeing Teagan take charge of her own destiny and deciding that SHE is in charge of who she becomes, regardless of her goblin blood. And as in the first book, the scenes in Mag Mell (pronounced Moy Mell) are vividly described and highly imaginative. They are the highlight of the book for me, much as the scenes in the faery lands were my favorite part of the Iron King series by Julie Kagawa.
Teagan is a heroine who actually has goals, plans, passions, and ambitions for her life besides some hot dude. That's a welcome change in YA. However, I just didn't find myself wrapped up in her struggles emotionally. I will have to compliment Hamilton on her bad guys, though. The cat-sidhe and phooka are horrifying and disgusting all at the same time.
I do have a couple of nitpicks. Tea's best friend Abby is more of a presence in this book, and her habit of getting words wrong wasn't amusing after the first couple of times way back in book 1. And I wish Finn didn't call Tea "girl" all the time. I know it's a term of endearment, but it just started to bother me.
I will probably pick up the next in the series when it comes to my library next year. The book ends with promise of imminent butt-kicking and epic battles, and that's something to look forward to.
One more thing: the book draws heavily on Irish lore and Finn and Maimeo are Irish Travelers, so there are quite a few Irish words used frequently. I happened to listen to Tyger Tyger on audiobook, and it helped tremendously. I would never have known that Mac Cuhaill was pronounced like McCool otherwise, nor that bean-sidhe was banshee, and those are just a few examples. If you like to know how unfamiliar words are pronounced, the audiobook or at least an online search will come in handy.

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