Stephanie D. 's Reviews > In the Forests of the Night

In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton
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Nov 22, 11

Read in October, 2011

I'm pleased to report that the elements which made Tyger Tyger a wonderful fantasy novel re-appear in the second of the Goblin Wars trilogy by Kersten Hamilton, In the Forests of the Night.

My favorite character, then as now, the cute-as-a-button five-year-old Aiden, is even more endearing. Mamieo is still a feisty firecracker of a grandmother. Although Mr. Wylltson has got to have the best line in the novel: "'I'm a librarian...We practice believing seven impossible things before breakfast.'"

Music still plays a major magical role here, as Aiden's powers as a bard manifest themselves in the real world. One of the funnier scenes is when the evil social worker from the first book, the Skinner, comes knocking and Aiden starts singing a not so subtle song about how he feels about her. I'll let you find out for yourself which song that is. Hint: it's a Disney song.

As in the last book, literary references were woven throughout the narrative, which I very much enjoyed.

I also loved learning more Celtic mythology (especially new spooky creatures introduced such as the fearsome sluagh and strange phookas).

By this book's start, Teagan and Finn are pretty much an item - they've declared their love to each other. I love how the newly rescued Mr. Wylltson asserts his parental authority, albeit gently, and describes how true love really works and that it stands the test of time. Too often in young adult novels relationships skyrocket to promises of forever in an instant. Here, although Teagan is intoxicated with her attraction and feelings for Finn, she demonstrates good sense by stepping back and acknowledging that she doesn't know that much about him. In fact she adamantly pursues her interests outside of their relationship, such as her job with animal research and her plans to study veterinary medicine in college.

One of the more interesting scenes relate to Teagan's work with Oscar and Cindy, the apes. As with the Celtic lore, I was fascinated with what this book taught me, "disguised" as story :)

But the part that I had been holding my breath for (though with trepidation) was Teagan's unavoidable journey back to Mag Mell. And it does not disappoint: dangers, thrills, and a (too) brief stay in Fear Doirich's lively goblin city where we see a glimpse of Queen Mab herself.

"Teagan came awake suddenly, cold with sweat. She had dreamed she was being hunted by creatures with bloody muzzles and ember-bright eyes while voices spoke with words she didn't understand. She'd had the dream before, on the night that Finn had led the goblins aways. The night before her mother had collapsed and died.

"It was different this time-the yowling had followed her out of the dream. She thought at first that there were alley cats fighting in the street until she heard the words tangled in the yowls. Cat-sidhe were on the street outisde, crying out for death and marrowbones.

"Tee-ghaaan."


It's been a year since I've read Tyger Tyger and so I expected a bit of re-adjustment when I began In the Forests of the Night. However, I was very disoriented for a couple chapters because In the Forests of the Night starts right where Tyger Tyger left off, as if one book had been cut in two. I had a hard time recalling details and characters - and so I was bewildered for quite some time.

So, be warned - don't skip the first and go to the second. You will not understand a thing if you do so.

Another thing that I found myself wishing was finding out more about Teagan's mother. A more detailed story of how she grew up in Mag Mell, then left and met Teagan's father I think would make a great novella (hint, hint).

In the Forests of the Night was very much a middle book to me. I would have preferred that at least half of its scenes been cut (maybe more) and the remainder included with Tyger Tyger.

However, with the chilling ending of book two (I gasped and shuddered, guys), I know what comes in the book three will be very exciting. More Mag Mell, please!
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