Simith of Drifthorn is tired of war. After years of conflict between the Thistle court and the troll kingdom, even a pixie knight known for his bloodlust longs for peace. Hoping to secure a ceasefire, Simith arranges a meeting with the troll king—and is ambushed instead. Escape lies in the Jaded Grove, but the trees of the ancient Fae woodland aren’t what they seem, and in place of sanctuary, Simith tumbles through a doorway to another world.
Cutting through her neighbor’s sunflower farm in Skylark, Michigan, Jessa runs into a battle between creatures straight out of a fantasy novel. Only the blood is very real. When a lone fighter falls to his attackers, Jessa intervenes. She’s known too much death to stand idly by, but an act of kindness leads to consequences even a poet like her couldn’t imagine.
With their fates bound by magic, Simith and Jessa must keep the strife of his world from spilling into hers—except the war isn’t what it appears and neither are their enemies. Countless lives depend on whether they can face the truths of their pasts and untangle the web of lies around them. But grief casts long shadows, and even their deepening bond may not be enough to save them from its reach.
Paperback, 333 pages
Published March 31st 2021 by Fine Fables Press
Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult / Fae
Content/Trigger Warnings: This book contains themes of Violence/Trauma/Torture/Grief/Death of a loved one.
The first book of the Kindred Realms series, and I must say, had I read or found this book back when I was still a teenager, who’d recently found her love in fantasy books. This would’ve been a solid five stars to me. That said, before we really dive into this book, I’d like to thank Caffeine Book Tours, and the author, Anela Deen for providing me an e-book ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review. In the Jaded Grove is a story that follows two main protagonists, the first, Simith, a well-known pixie warrior that serves the fairies of the Thistle court. The other one, Jessa, an award-winning poet, that’s been slowly opening up herself back to her best friend, Katie. Their story intertwines during a crucial time, where, Simith was determined to make peace talks with the troll king, only to fall into a trap that placed him in danger and seek refuge in the Jaded Grove.
In a sense, this story reminded me a bit of a Narnia-like story, however, it doesn’t really follow the whole “chosen-one” trope, and the first meeting of the two main characters wasn’t really set on the right foot. One thing I definitely loved about this book was that it wasn’t all “whimsical-vibing” in a way, where just because Simith is a pixie, he’d be this Tinkerbelle creature.
This was set right in the middle of a war, where Pixies were forced to participate and fought against Trolls, and all at the same time, Jessa was thrown in the mix, while still dealing with her own inner turmoil of her loss.
I was immediately drawn to the portal-like concept and the twist and turns on the war in Simith’s world. It’s not as extremely bloody as Game of Thrones, but definitely, a book filled with deception and power hunger.
Another thing, which I’ve come to enjoy as well, was the subtle touches of Filipino culture from Jessa’s point of view. As a Filipino myself, representation usually comes off as forceful, or stiff at times in stories, but for this book, it flowed smoothly, and not well executed. There were strong family ties and even conflicts mentioned in Jessa’s life, but it’s something that a lot of Filipinos tend to really feel in real life.
On the relationship side, at first, I really thought it’ll be the whole “insta-love” with how Simith and Jessa first met, but I had been proven wrong as their dynamics grew through the story. An overall, I gave this book a 4-star rating over 5. This is mainly because while this story was definitely an action-packed fantasy adventure with a blend of modern-day life. I do feel like it’s a book I would really love before I jumped into adult fiction novels/fantasy books. I felt like there’s still something missing from me personally. I feel it’s the actual attachment to the characters.
Though I’ve followed through their story and got to know them, even with Jessa being a Filipino-American. I just found it a bit bland on the character side. It was hard for me to fully care for them. Though I am looking forward to how this series would develop in the future.
I am highly recommending this book for those who are trying to jump into the fantasy genre and need a fun but very action-packed read.
About the Author:
Anale Deen is a child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently landlocked in the Midwest. After exploring the world for a chunk of years, she hunkered down in Minnesota and now fills her days with family, fiction, and the occasional snowstorm. With a house full of lovable toddlers, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm.
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