Book Review: A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy (Tales of the Forest Books 1-3) by Blaine D. Arden
*I received a free ecopy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
First things first, this book is a collection of three different stories, all of which revolve around the same main characters, compiled together into a total of roughly 300 pages. Although each book is available separately, they are also available combined, and that’s what this review is for. Now that that has been cleared up…
Wow, the world-building in this book was incredible! Until recently (at the time of this review), I was mostly a fan of urban and not that big on high fantasy, but had I not already been becoming a high fantasy fan, I think this book would’ve done it. The world was so intricate and detailed, and it was those details that truly made the book what it was. All the characters were elves and they all had different talents/jobs (e.g. the protag was a “truth seeker” which was similar to a detective/cop but with magic and a different legal system) as well as different types (e.g. the protag was also a cloud elf and had wings), they used different vocabulary (e.g. instead of ‘teen’ they used ‘stripling’), they had different ways of doing things (e.g. a special ceremony each year for finding romantic partners), etc. Everything—the society structure, the clothing, the medicinal products, the magic, the character appearances—was taken into account and was all so vivid. And the way it was written, simple yet eloquent with the perfect style and word choices, worked so well. Even I, someone who hasn’t had that much experience with these kinds of worlds, only struggled for about the first 6% and then managed to grasp the rest easily and just sink right in. But even in that first 6%, I was still enthralled already. And with each story, I only got more immersed as I learned more and more about how their world and society and culture worked. So I absolutely loved that aspect of the book.
I also found all the mysteries interesting. I was completely intrigued and invested in each one, and they all felt like they were solved and dealt with in a super realistic way, at least in terms of what was realistic in the world of the book. There were clues, searches, interrogations, etc. There was some magic used, but not in a way that felt like cheating.
The characters and relationship dynamics were good too. Honestly I was confused by the blurb, so I’m just going to explain it really quickly. Kelnaht used to be in a relationship with Ianys and is still in love with him, and he also harbors hidden desires for Taruif, but Taruif is not allowed to communicate with anyone because that’s his punishment for something he did 20 turns (years?) ago. But then Kelnaht finds out that Ianys and Taruif are having a secret relationship. So poor Kelnaht had old wounds reopened and rubbed raw in the beginning, and I loved getting to see the tension and pain between him and Ianys. My only complaint is that the tension didn’t last long at all because the three men settled into their menage rather quickly and easily and there was a case of instalove between Kelnaht and Taruif. However, even once they did all get together, they still had outside obstacles to overcome, like Taruif’s punishment putting the other two at risk and a situation involving Ianys possibly losing custody of his daughter. And even though I tend to like seeing more conflict within relationships in books, I also like seeing healthy relationships and being able to say awwwwww sometimes, and their sweet, sexy, supportive relationship did tick off both those boxes.
So overall I truly enjoyed this book and was completely sucked in by the detailed elf society and the intriguing mysteries, and it made me happy to see the characters overcoming their obstacles and having such a sweet relationship!
“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.
Book Author: Blaine D. Arden
Publisher: Cayendi Press
Series: Tales of the Forest
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, LGBT
My Book Rating: 4
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series, Standalone within a Series
Setting Location: Fantasy World
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual (Love Interest), Gay (Love Interest), Gay (Main Character)
Non-Human Type: Elves
Romance Type: M-M, M-M-M
Romance Aspects: Menage
Extra Love: Amazing World Building, Cover Love, Favorite Book/Series, Healthy Relationship