Rea's Reviews > Wraith's Forest

Wraith's Forest by L.J. Leger
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's review
Apr 22, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, young-adult, fairy-tale-retellings
Read in April, 2012

Full review can be found here.

The problem with novellas is that often enough it’s hard for the reader to form a substantial opinion of the characters. I found that to be the case here. I had my opinion of Jenna but that was because the story followed her and so she was in every scene. I actually liked her and how she came across as a very rounded, normal person: doing her duty because she knows this is what is expected of her and not because this is what she wants to do. I find that’s the case with most people. If my mother was heavily pregnant and needed my help around the house, I suspect I’d feel frustrated and put out at having to walk to a tree and collect its fruit for three days straight, even being aware that it was for the greater good of the valley as a whole.

Jenna, however, was the only one I really had an opinion of. Nole, the wizard, was obviously going to be playing the role of the bad guy but he wasn’t fleshed out enough for me to really understand why he was playing this role (something about a woman and jealousy of his rival, but it was passed over too quickly that it didn’t stick). The Wraith, playing the role of the Beast, in his broken castle that is a mere shadow of its former glory, trapped in a spell he never wanted to be part of – yes, he inspired empathy in me as he did in Jenna and he was actually a very good basis for a Beast character. Perhaps the most important thing was that the growing attraction between Jenna and the Wraith just wasn’t really there for me. I mean, first off, they were only together for a day or two and secondly while their interactions were poignant, I didn’t feel they contained the seeds of future love.

At the length it was, the story was good and Jenna in particular made for a good character, the idea of a spell for balance in the valley was interesting and well-used. I actually feel that the author had all the necessary ingredients there to have made this novella longer, to have built up more – especially the interactions between Jenna and the Wraith – and to have had an absolute stunner on her hands. As it was, things did feel rather rushed. As a rule of thumb, romances in novellas are rushed simply because there isn’t the length of book to have them slow-burning, but this one just didn’t have the basis for me to readily accept Jenna’s actions at the end (though I could accept the Wraith’s as she was the one who freed him).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the idea behind the story was one that had me completely sold and my interest piqued, but the length of the story didn’t allow for the evolution necessary to really tickle my fancy.
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