The Forest House by Tamara Rokicki
Synopsis: Dealing with anxiety and a dysfunctional family is bad enough, but it gets worse when Hera is kidnapped and taken to a mysterious house secluded in the middle of a forest.There she meets Aethen, the leader of the Ashar Coven, claiming to be a psychic vampire who feeds on human energy. If that’s not shocking enough, he insists that not only is she a psychic vampire as well, but also the High Priestess destined to lead the fight in a supernatural war. The Ashar Prophecy declares that Hera will Awaken in order to save her kind. If she fails, her people will be destroyed, shattering a long, intricate past.Hera’s role--and survival--become more complicated as her attraction to Aethen grows stronger each day. She is now trapped in a war between two vampire factions; one vicious and bloodthirsty, the other territorial and shrouded in secrets. Her future--and the future of her coven--rests in her hands. Will Hera find the strength to fulfill her destiny even if the secrets surrounding the Ashar Prophecy hide a terrible truth?
Length: 319 pages
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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warning: Minor Spoilers
The Forest House, Book One of The Ashar Prophecies, is a promising young adult paranormal fantasy from debut author Tamara Rokicki. The book adds a new twist to vampire lore while still keeping favorite mores alive.
The greatest strength of this novel is its pacing. It’s one of those books where you sit down intending to read one chapter and end up reading six instead. It pulls you brilliantly along with lead character Hera in her journey from anxiety-ridden outcast to high priestess of a sect of vampires she didn’t even know existed. (She didn’t know there were vampires, let alone castes of them!)
The characters, most notably Hera herself, are believable and relatable with strong and unique voices. I was a little worried when I got to the kidnapping part. Kidnapping stories can quickly cross the line to feeling contrived, but with a strong hold on her character and her motivations, Rokicki plays it perfectly.
I feel like we’re still getting to know Aethen, Hera’s love interest, but that’s natural since The Forest House is all from Hera’s point of view. In fact, it makes me want to go grab Rokicki’s short story, “Aethen’s Awakening” to get to know him even better.
I am a fiction editor, so I’m kind of nitpicky about these things. I felt the book could have used one more pass for things like the occasional dropped word, wrong word (expect vs. except), and dangling participle. However, these issues were minor and in no way impeded my enjoyment of this story.
It’s a definite page turner. Don’t be surprised when you finish it and are asking for the next one. Write quickly, Rokicki, all right?
This review originally appeared at http://bit.ly/JEV-forest-house-review.
J. Elizabeth Vincent is an author of mostly speculative fiction because she has always seen reading and writing as a means of escape, a way to run away from real life—just for a little while—and get lost in the (im)possible. Her debut novel, Raven Thrall (Legends of the Ceo San: Book 1), an epic fantasy, will be released on March 1, 2018.
To learn more about J. Elizabeth Vincent, visit her website: https://jelizabethvincent.com
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