Friday, 7 January 2011

Book Review: The Forest of Adventures by Katie M. John.

Product details:
Publisher: Little Bird Publishing House.
Paperback, 384 pages.
Release date: December 1st 2010.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Ages:  14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

For seventeen year old Mina Singer, falling in love with an Arthurian Knight on a white horse was never part of the plan - especially being that she's an ordinary college girl living in the twenty first century. 

As Mina finds herself catapulted into a land she believed only existed in the bedtime stories of her childhood, she soon discovers that Fairyland is not quite as innocent as she imagined.

The question is...who will come out alive?

Haunting, beautiful and sexy, The Forest of Adventures, is a dark romantic quest into the land of true and forbidden love.

If I could use one word to sum up Katie M. John's The Forest of Adventures, the first book in The Knight trilogy, it would be inconsistent.  Essentially, this book is a modern fairytale, with it's roots in Arthurian Legend.  It comes complete with a knight on a white horse in the pleasing form of Blake Beldevier and has a wicked villain in sorceress Morgan Le Fay.  The idea here then, is interesting as is the exploration of Arthurian myths and legends, which is well researched and enjoyable. However the plot, pacing and writing style here is inconsistent, and the characters, especially the main character, Mina, did not appeal to me at all.  Overall, the book for me was a case of good idea, poor execution. 

When we meet Mina, she is going about her life pretty routinely. She's attending college, and has a long-term boyfriend, Sam, sometimes known as Sammy, who loves  her dearly. Mina lives at home with Mum, who she sometimes refers to as Martha.  Referring to characters by different names for no apparent reason at all is confusing for the reader, and I really don't know why the writer used this device. If  you're going to do that, tell me about it instead of just deciding to refer to a character by a whole other name out of the blue. Anyhow, Mina seems pretty happy with her life, and yet, as soon as the mysterious Blake Beldevier arrives on the scene, she decides that she is completely and utterly in love with him, is no longer in love with Sam, and just for good measure, she promptly ditches all of her friends too.  I didn't really understand what Mina found so appealing about Blake, save for his drop dead gorgeous looks. Granted, I guess that might be enough, but as a reader I need to know more about a character for them to appeal to me.  Blake and Mina have a bond, and are seemingly linked by a prophecy, but we are never told all that much about this prophecy, which made their instant attraction and strong bond to each other a little unbelievable to me.  Furthermore, for all of her seventeen years, Mina struck me as being wholly na├»ve and childish. I just couldn't connect with her character at all. 

As soon as Blake arrives on the scene, Mina's life begins to get a whole lot more interesting, and many mysterious happenings occur.  First of all, tragedy befalls somebody very dear to Mina, which you would think would have a major effect on her, but mainly she's too wrapped up in Blake to notice. Seriously, this girl needs to wise up!  Various characters are introduced – friends of Mina's, members of her family, but their stories are never fully developed and aren't of much consequence to the plot.  We're also introduced to Morgan Le Fay, the villain in this piece, and the plot follows on fairly predictably from here. There are attempts at a love triangle or two, but ultimately these just fall flat.   

I also have to point out the numerous grammatical and spelling errors in this book. It's not something that I usually do, even if I am annoyed by it,  but the mistakes in this one seriously affected my reading enjoyment.  I received an e-book of this one for review, and I just hope that in the print copy of this book, these errors have been corrected.  

Ultimately, while on first look this book sounds like an exciting Urban Fantasy with a dark edge, it was a disappointment to me. There are some well written descriptive passages, and John's writing shows promise in places, but but overall the storyline just didn't work and didn't offer anything new to me. It's fair to say that I struggled to stay interested in this one at times. My adventures in the forest end here.


  1. It's a shame you didn't enjoy it, as the plot sounds so promising. Pity it didn't deliver. :(

  2. Hmm, well thanks for your honest review. I think I'll pass on this one.

  3. Too bad on this one because I love books that focus on the Arthurian legend! Mina would definitely frustrate me, and though I can understand the appeal of a good looking man, I can't understand the need to abandon everything currently good in life and pursue him instead. Thanks for such an honest review of this one Leanna!

  4. It's a bummer this one didn't live up to your expectations. The premise sounded so promising with the Arthurian legend (WHICH I LOVE!) and fantasy elements. Thanks for the heads up about this one--I appreciate your honest review!

  5. When I first read about the book on Goodreads, I thought it would be really good. It's sad that it isn't. Grammatical and spelling errors annoy me a lot too!

  6. The synopsis does sound fantastic it is such a shame it didnt live it up its promise.
    Terrific and insightful review Thank You. I still like the sound of it but dont want to be left frustrated :D

  7. I was all excited by the blurb, shame it didn't deliver for you.

  8. The synopsis sounded really interesting so it`s too bad the book didn`t live up to its potential. I`ll be giving it a pass too then.

  9. Thanks for the honest review. It is always disappointing when a book has potenial and doesn't meet it. I will be taking this off my list.

  10. Definitely a shame that you didn't enjoy this one as the premise of the novel sounds so promising. But like you, I doubtt I could enjoy a novel that was inconsistent, had many grammatical and spelling errors and had a main character who was just not someone you could connect to. All the same, I loved your honest and well-thought out review. Will probably give this one a skip!

  11. I hate good idea and poor execution. It's almost more of a letdown than a book that you didn't really think you'd like in the first place. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion though. Appreciate it! :)

  12. Thank you for taking the time to read and review my novel. I appreciate your concerns about the grammatical and type errors. You recieved an ARC before the final flight checks; these have been ammended by a proofreader for the final print and also all e-copies have been ammended. Hopefully this will ensure that no-ones enjoyment of the novel will now be affected.
    Kind regards and thanks for your time.

  13. Oh too bad! The plot sounded good, but the complaints you mentioned would really bring down my reading experience. I think I may reconsider this one. Thanks for your review.


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