23 January 2013

In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton

The battle against goblinkind continues . . . but which side will Teagan be on?

Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man’s forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends. Tea knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich. And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win.

Like it's prequel, In the Forests of the Night holds enormous potential to be a story of epic proportions, but it ended up being not much of a step up from Tyger Tyger.  I had nearly all of the same issues with this book as I did with the first: rough writing style, scattered plot, and unshaped characters.  And just like the first, I'm left wondering why I still liked it just a little bit.

I'm thinking that the reason for my attachment to the story is the heavy Celtic influence.  I love the way there are Celtic phrases thrown in, even though I don't have the faintest clue how to pronounce them.  The entire story just reeks of Irish and I love anything and everything Irish.  Like Finn's character.  I loved the way he said things because it made it impossible to forget that he had an accent.  Kudos for Irish.

In terms of characters, there wasn't much development.  The only progression of my opinion of Teagan's character from Tyger Tyger to this one was that I understood her a bit better.  I got a better grasp on the fact that she's too passive aggressive for her own good and completely incapable of being bitter over anything.  You can't exactly win a war with an evil species with an overabundance of nice.  But I didn't have as much of a problem with Teagan in this book as I did with the last.  I got that she was an overly nice person.  In respect to Finn, I liked his character from page one, and I suspect it's because I have a thing for one-woman (Irish) guys.

I still don't understand much of how the world is supposed to work.  Not a good sign when I've read the first two books of the (three book?) series.  I feel like Kersten Hamilton could've spent so much more time building up the exotic, parallel world of Mag Mell instead of just glancing by.  I liked the creatures she created (squirrel elephants? my dog would be in heaven) and how she seems to stick to mythology.  I wasn't really shaking in my boots from the "evil" emanating from the Big Bad Fear Doirich, either.  For someone with a name like Fear Doirich, I was expecting someone who was actually scary.  It felt like there could've been some serious beefing up all around.

If there had just been more -- more detail, more character progression, more impact -- then I would call it a great story.  As it is, all I can say is that it had a lot of potential, but it just wasn't fully realized.

So what compels me to continue with this series if I have so many issues with it?  Probably because it's so obviously Irish.  I'm a sucker for Celtic mythology (though I don't have the patience to research the myths myself) and the characters are starting to grow on me.  That, and the cover and title of the next book (When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears) looks totally awesome.

"That's all right." Abby picked up the towelette and wiped Roisin's face for her. "When it's a guy problem, we all speak the same language. So your boyfriend's a bird," she said when Roisin's cheeks were tear-free. "It is kind of creepy, but once he changed back, he looked totally Italian."
"She knows we can see her, right?"

"The light's behind her," Teagan pointed out. "All she sees is her own reflection."

"Face check," Abby said, as Ms Skinner stretched her lips again, then puckered. She dug a lipstick out of her purse and applied it. "Uh-huh. Now the hair," Abby said. As if on cue, Ms. Skinner rearranged her ginger bangs, fluffed them, then twisted a strand around her finger to make it curl. "That woman's man-hunting. Hide your dad, Tea."

"Don't ler her get Dad!" Aiden shouted from his fort.

"Nobody is getting Dad," Teagan assured him.
Book Info
  • pages - hardcover, 295
  • published -  November 2011
  • publisher - Clarion Books
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - library
  • rating - 3/5
  • series - Goblin Wars
    • Tyger Tyger
    • In the Forests of the Night
    • When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears