The Heart of the Forest: Review

The Monster of Selkirk Book 2The Heart of the Forest
 by C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #2)
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot

Liked It A lot


Content Rating: Adult content including scenes of violence and LGBT mentions. No sexually explicit content.

Tallis is learning how to deal with loss and violence as she and her friends traverse the forests of Selkirk trying to find the reason behind the elven uprising. Not to mention why they keep hissing her name. But the further into the forests they go, Tallis is finding that the elves’ depravity can still surprise her, and thoroughly test the bonds of friendship, family, and love.

Tallis’s journey eventually leads to answers they’re not prepared for. Now Tallis begins to wonder just who she really is, and if she’s the evil that will end up destroying Selkirk. But she cannot stop to process these revelations, as an unforeseen betrayal lands those she loves at the feet of the very monster responsible for all the hurt, and heartbreak.

Coming face to face with her foe, Tallis discovers all too late she has no idea how to deal with this level of pain, and death. One way or another, the monster’s path ends here, and all Tallis can hope to do is bring those she loves safely out of the heart of the forest.

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When I saw this book in the email from Xpresso Books I knew right away I wanted to read it. The description said it was necessary to read the first book, although it would be offered along side book 2. For the VERY FIRST TIME, I decided to try out this thing where you don’t read the first book, but just jump into the second. While it worked and I enjoyed the book, I think I did miss out on something by not reading the first book. There were quite a few time near the beginning of the book that I was sort of puzzled by one thing or another. Especially when it came to the elves their descriptions and their actions/motivations just puzzled me. I wondered if these were elves in name but a completely different more animalistic species. As I kept reading though all my questions were answered and I soon settled down into the book.

The Heart of the Forest was paced a bit differently from the typical “quest” fantasy. So much of the story happens inside Tallis’ head, that time doesn’t always seem clear. And that’s okay. Sometimes books featuring a quest like this tend to be too much and then this happened and then this and next that. Having a feeling of time kinda twisting around made the journey more interesting.

Each character really got some depth in this book. Tallis is a deep thinker, but someone who doesn’t shy away from action. The revelations and events in this story are not ones she just easily accepts. So many time the reluctant hero ends up accepting their fate seemingly all too easily and while they may moan about it they still end up as the hero everyone lauds. I am so, so glad that didn’t happen in this book. Tallis struggles. She has real mental and physical hardships to overcome and she doesn’t always make the “hero’s choice.” In a way she makes the real choice, the choice her character should make because of her personality and history.

Thomas and Donovan are both great characters. Donovan the true knight, who just wants to do the right thing. Thomas the ex-monk who should be conflicted by his morals, but whose faith in Tallis overcomes all of that. Rosslyn is a hoot. At the beginning we see her as a character who takes action, who jumps into thing, perhaps a bit too quickly. By the end of the book her personal journey has taken her beyond rash action, but still left her a lively force for action. I enjoyed the journey each character made in themselves.

I can’t give away the ending, but I loved it. I loved the way the characters really stayed true to themselves and the story. I wish I could say more but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Bottom Line:

An absolutely satisfying fantasy read. If you like character stories I would definitely recommend this one.

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