Rating: 5 stars out of 5
“Your Path is muddy, Kelnaht, but don’t think avoiding the puddles will make it easier to travel.”
Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith, when a murder reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit. Kelnaht’s former lover Ianys once betrayed him, and the shunned forester Taruif is not allowed to talk to anyone but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder.
The guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.
Then a stripling goes missing from the tribe, and heavy rainfall hides all traces of his whereabouts. With days creeping by without a lead, it’s hard to keep the tribe’s spirits up, more so when Kelnaht’s own future depends on the elders. Taruif has been shunned for almost twenty turns, but now that a possible forester’s apprentice is coming of age, the elders consider reducing his sentence. Taruif could be set free.
“I have great responsibilities, but my path ahead is as foggy and blurred as the path behind me.”
Later, when several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Ianys’ daughter Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.
“There is always a way.”
Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and the decree of the elders prevent them from claiming each other openly at Solstice. Kelnaht can investigate murder and foul play, but he can’t see how he can keep both his lovers without breaking the rules. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.
I read The Forester, the first book in The Tales of the Forest series by Blaine D. Arden when it first came out and promptly fell in love. Drawn to the story by the lush, incredible cover by Simone’ and then by the tale of fae, a thwarted love and a triad, other elements in these tales drew me in and made me a complete adoring follower of the series. The second book, Lost and Found: Forester Triad Act Two (Tales of the Forest, #2), just cemented that place in my mind and heart. Now I got the final book in the trilogy and in a complete volume. What a joy for me and those who have never read the series. So what were those elements you ask?
One, the use of a mystery or mysteries as a major plot point that Kelnaht, a truth seeker must solve in each story, that brings out a truth or past histories about himself, or the other elves that he loves. That would be his former lover Ianys and the shunner forester, Taruif. Each of which is such an intriguing character that you are as drawn to them as Kelnaht is and these books let you see what it is he finds to love about each. Arden brings out the depths of character, the rage, the grief, the flaws and you see them as Kelnaht sees them as his is the point of view of the stories.
Kalnaht is also such a mainstay as well as weaver of the tales and the triad here. A cloud elf, he demonstrates incredible strengths…of character, of magic, and endurance and yet he too has his moments of fragility. He is just a stunning main character and, for me at least, the soul of these stories.
But Arden has surrounded Kalnaht with a richness of culture. His village, his elders and village guide. Its healers and its children. They all play a huge part here and the author has imagined them brilliantly. They live, work, laugh, and to our heartbreak, sometimes die and we feel everything that happens as though it is real.
And that brings me to the last story in the series. Its outstanding. Full Circle: Forester Triad Act Three (Tales of the Forest, #3) starts off with first one, then another of the village’s children falling ill. A heartbreaking scenario, especially true when the village has lost their children in the not too distant past. Then it sweeps up our triad, newly back together but keeping it a secret when Ianys’ daughter falls ill as well. Yes, another mystery to solve, one so close to the heart for all three lovers that it threatens to tear them apart once more.
Arden makes us feel every bit of the direness of the situation, the pain of the parents, the building anxiety of the village as they wait to see whose children will fall next and the mystery as to where the illness is coming from. You will be there in the square with them as the fear and anger builds, the hopelessness too. Its such an incredible story because it also is where all the answers to the triad’s problems will arrive and all the history will be finally revealed. Really, its one of those page turners I just couldn’t put down once I started. I just love this series. Its amazing.
Love stories about fae and romance? How about ones with a mystery thrown in as well? Here is a trilogy you just shouldn’t pass up. I highly recommend A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy (Tales of the Forest #1-3) by Blaine D. Arden. All three stories are amazing. So are the covers. Grab this 3 in 1 volume up and prepare to fall in love three times over.
Cover art by Simone is one of the best covers of the year as are all three of the other covers of the trilogy.
ebook, 1st Edition, 309 pages
Published August 15th 2016 by Cayendi Press
Series Tales of the Forest #1-3, The Forester Trilogy #1-3
CharactersKelnaht, Taruif, Ianys