Title: Shadows of the Forest
Author: Emma Michaels
Publisher: CHBB Publishing, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal
**I received a copy of this book free from Ebooksforreview.com and the publisher in exchange for a review**
Yeah…that’s what I thought, too.
I HATE when the book inside doesn’t match the book outside. But I signed up to review this book, and I was able to get through it, as it is shorter than most books (144 pages), but I have to admit, every page was a battle.
Let me first get into the plot…as best as I can understand it…and I can’t give too much away because it’s so short…
Lily wakes up in a hospital, and her twin brother is in critical condition. But things aren’t normal in the hospital. There are rules that can’t be broken.
- Do not enter the West Wing (which is never explained or mentioned again)
- Do not go outside after darkness falls (yet another rule that really didn’t apply)
- There is only one exit, The Gates
So Lily remembers that there was an accident, and somehow her twin brother, the only person left in the world since her parents’ deaths, made a pact to keep her alive. But Lily doesn’t want to live without him. Cole is the good twin, the better twin, and he deserves a shot at life.
As Lily discovers, the “hospital” is not what it seems…actually, nothing is. Japanese folklore blends with Michaels’ storytelling to make what could have been a wonderful story.
Alas, could have been.
Here’s a trailer that will also explain about the same amount that I did. Makes it look all cool and mysterious.
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
I mean, it is…but it needs a major editing job. More on that below.
Honestly, it could be okay for middle grade readers. The confusion from the story isn’t age-related. It’s mainly content-related. Again, I’ll explain in the “End Result” portion, which will be much longer than usual. Normally I can talk about the premise and make some comments along the way…but with this short of a story, I really can’t make comments there. So I’ll end this now…and make this as painless as possible…the opposite of my reading experience.
Ok. I should have known there was a problem when the author who listed the three “rules” seemed to confuse semicolons and commas. They were completely switched around in use. I think I have to blame EAL editing for this. The book was professionally edited, yet I found a monster amount of errors. Here I can FINALLY talk about this.
First, I fault this company for the shoddy editing…it wasn’t bad enough to DNF (ahem, Slumber, ahem), but it was bad enough that I started highlighting the problems (and this was NOT an ARC):
“Some part of me argued that I didn’t want to
“I placed my hand over my heart and pled with it to lead me to him.”
“Tricksters spirit, huh? Alright.”
“As though the forest were holding my emotions, my body, and my very soul at its entrance, testing my resolve.” (Frag)
“Even knowing he was only holding his own temp
“I could feel the hart move it’s forehead to mine.” (Not possessive)
“I liked what I saw and I wasn’t
“I miss stepped…”
“…but I couldn’t quiet grab the map.”
Get the idea??
That wasn’t it. I can ignore those things if the story is good. But the book was weird. It wasn’t horrible…but it was confusing. Too short in some parts, too long in others. The story had a good message, and I don’t think telling you that the father was abusive will spoil the story…so there was a lot about loving yourself and feeling worthy. I even began to tear up at one part…but then it went on and on and on…how does a 144 page book feel long during certain parts? It needed more exposition and way less ending.
It’s a shame, I know. The idea and the story had potential all over the place, but alas, that’s all it had. And this is hard for me to write. I hate bad reviews. I really do.
So the end result?
I give Shadows of the Forest ★★☆☆☆. One for the story and one for being able to read it (and I’ll always love the cover).
So it gets:
Luckily, right after I read another book from ebooksforreview and it was MUCH better. Happy to read that one. But when it comes to Shadows of the Forest, I recommend skipping reading it and just appreciate the pretty cover.
Cause the cover is pretty. Such a shame…
Happy Reading, y’all!! This is my first Beat The Backlist Book! I’ll be making a post about the challenge, as I’m participating in Beat The Backlist and the Netgalley/Edelweiss challenge, and I have two books toward that challenge! Yay!