Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The harmony between humans and fianna, a species of shape-shifting deer, begins to wither as racial tensions and deeply rooted resentment turns violent.
Ruthless hunter Finn Hail and prophesied liberator Adelaide may be heroes to their own species, but they are enemies to each other. With war on the horizon, the reluctant pair must team up to find the most elusive of prey: the god of the Forest.
As enemies press in from all sides, true intentions begin to show. For Finn to save the boy he cares for most, he might need to aim his gun at the very god he seeks. And Adelaide, with her festering hatred for mankind, will have to determine if peace holds true salvation for her people.
First of all, I have no idea why “Foreign to You” is classified as Young Adult. The protagonists are the right age, I guess, but the story itself really has none of the typical young adult themes. It’s a brilliant Fantasy novel for adults, but I wouldn’t sell this as Young Adult.
Also, this is a “Literary/Genre Fiction” title by Nine Star Press, which, in this case, means there’s next to no romance here. And there’s a warning for “scenes of bloody violence and the death of a secondary character”, which should be taken seriously as well. This is not a criticism at all, just letting people know what to expect.
I absolutely loved this book. It reminded me a little bit of “Greenwode” by J. Tullos Henning, mostly because of the Stag God and the important role of the forest in the story. But “Foreign to You” is High Fantasy and has a very different story line.
The writing style was truly poetic. I’m really impressed Jeremy Martin managed to keep it beautiful and natural. A lot of authors have tried and failed spectacularly. But this was simply wonderful and it fit the story perfectly. It did a great job of transporting me to a world that’s completely different to our own.
Shapeshifters aren’t exactly a new thing in fiction, but the author took a very unique approach to it. The world-building was excellent and really conveyed the horror of the shift from deer to human and back. It made me wince and cringe in sympathy. I really don’t think I want to be a Fianna.
The story itself was a very sad one. Finn has a crazy father, a dead mother and was forced to join up with the hunters. My heart really ached for him and his struggles. His grief was utterly heartbreaking to witness.
Of course Adelaide’s life isn’t exactly easy either, she faces a whole different set of problems. She’s the prophesied Maiden, come to save her kind. Too bad she has no idea how she’s supposed to do that. And having a human form isn’t all that great either. I loved how she discovered her human body and had to find new words and meanings for all sorts of things. I could actually relate to the newness of a body that’s so very different from what she’s used to, even though a human body is obviously the only thing I’ve ever had.
I usually don’t like completely evil villains, that have absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever and just exist to make life hell for everybody else. But yet again, the author excelled. Garth doesn’t have a single good cell in his body, but he was still a realistic, believable character with actual depth. The creepy twins he controls are yet another example of the type of villain I usually don’t like, but again, they worked perfectly for the story.
Honestly, “Foreign to You” was such an amazing book, I can’t possibly do it justice here. I can’t believe this is the author’s debut work, it’s incredibly polished and professional. If you like Fantasy and don’t mind your heart being broken, read this book. You won’t regret it. It was one of the first real highlights of my reading year so far.
I love the cover by Natasha Snow. At first glance, it looks beautiful and innocent. But the longer you look at it, the creepier it gets. A true work of art.
Book details: ebook, 299 pages
Published February 11th 2019 by NineStar Press