The Forgotten Ones – Laura Howard

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"[...] wondering if the fact that my life had just turned into a Disney movie
would be considered all right."

The Forgotten Ones – Laura Howard

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.

An eARC was provided by the author, Laura Howard, herself in exchange of an honest review.
Disclaimer: The review will be somewhat long.

             As the Book 1 for The Danaan Trilogy, The Forgotten Ones had created a stable ground about the protagonist, Allison, and the faeries. The author was able to create and show the characters, the scenes and had shown glimpses (with some focuses) about the fairy world in a way that is not confounding for a reader; the facts were not thrown out like a bomb so there was no information-overload of some sort. The plot was clear and had reflected the title itself. Lastly, it was an easy read  the scenes were very light, no need to decipher the events because the details were already vivid.

When I realized that this was a fairy book, I had this gut feeling that might be similar to Julie Kagawa’s the Iron Fey Series. And true enough, they were similar in some sorts like the place was Tir na n’Og, they don’t get old, and what kills or weakens a fairy was an iron blade or any kind of iron. But The Forgotten Ones was different in a way that the enemy was from the inside itself, Aoife, the daughter of the Queen and King; and this book has its own twists that is for a reader to find out.

What piqued my interest:
"When humans are abandoned by Danaan..."
- I had a hunch over this one... And I am seriously hoping Ethan and Al wouldn't encounter this.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Longer rantings:

The title?
                The Forgotten Ones (TFO), is the first book in the trilogy. I love a book that can reflect the title without it being forced (like, just for the sake of having a good title). Also, the title was an eye-opener for the heroine, Allison, since TFO were really 'the faeries' themselves.
But for me though, it seemed like it did not only portray the faeries of Tuatha de Danaan but also the human (Allison’s mom, Elizabeth –her past, present and ‘other’ personality) in the story.
The cover?
                That totally sold me (since I am a book-cover-whore). And one-word: Beautiful. This was one of the beautiful covers I had ever encountered. It was simple but it outshone any ordinary and/or even the complex ones. Just basing the cover, I really thought it was somehow a book about second-chance life like Before I Fall, My Name is Memory and the sorts but when I read the summary, the cover made sense… faeries. It was such a gorgeous cover that I can't peel off my eyes from it for minutes.
                I had that moment like I was Allison and I had just seen the Tuatha de Danaan or Bruidhean (the Fairy Palace), I was enthralled. It felt like utmost exaggeration but I’m not, I just appreciated the cover and loved it.

Dwelling on the story:
                Aside from the cover, when I read the summary, these were the exact words I uttered: “I think I am in for a good adventure.”

                One of the first things I noticed from the book itself was the pages: only have 177 (176 for the eARC); so I did have this challenge in mind for the author to relieve my doubt on how she can pull it off in a short-read. And I am glad to say, she didn’t fail. This was one of those books that had the mixed amount of action, mystery, romance, humor but primarily adventure. And since I had acknowledged, Iron Fey Series, I would say this book was different because this has a more 'human' feel in it because the character, Allison, was more of a human (than a part-fairy) and that she lives in the human world. The problem I had encountered when I was reading the story was the names. It was really hard to pronounce, and I had accepted the reason: Irish and Faeries. But you can freely call me weird because I was excited when I saw ‘The Pronunciation Guide,’ I even enunciated all the names before reading.

So shall we focus more on the story? The opening chapter of the book was already direct; in the summary we were already informed that Allison’s mother was schizophrenic. It was an eye-opener for me, as a reader, to see how life was for Allison. Since the story was in Allison’s POV, it made the reader delve into the world of the character itself. It makes you feel like you are some part Allison because even the emotions she felt during the book was real and her reactions were genuine in a sense that if I was in her shoes, I would do the same.

The book itself is an easy read since the words were not highfalutin and it had that enjoyable feeling. The summer vibe created a mixture of cool and somewhat relaxed feel.  I even felt the warmth, though I am not sure if it was the book itself or the summer heat here in the Philippines. So as stated, the time was set in summer so I really felt that the pacing was a tad slow, but aside from the summery feel, it also shows that the author wanted the reader to comprehend ‘Allison’: herself, her life, what and who she is, just about how normal her life was and how knowing that the faeries were real had affected her. In the first few chapters, it showed Allison’s life: her only friend was her cousin, Nicole (also Jeff – Nic’s boyfriend; Ethan –Jeff’s brother and Al’s love interest; and Sean –a childhood friend), she worked at a hardware shop, very close to her grandparents and what she wanted in life was to enter grad school and to take care of her mother but then he, Ethan, comes along (Ethan was always there but he amped up a little) and made our dear heroine plans crumbling for a little bit. In the middle, Liam, Allison’s father came; and Al’s life was getting more complicated. She also had some occasional dreams which in the latter part dubbed her as a seer, and had this part-fairy blood. So when Liam entered, I just knew that story had just began and when something happened to Allison’s mother, Elizabeth, it was surely the start of some kick-ass adventure  and the pace just got a little quicker.

There were moments, especially when Liam came, that I was constantly asking myself if they couldn't put two-and-two-together  I mean Allison looks like Liam’s carbon copy but no one noticed or acknowledged them. I was expecting someone coming up and asking if they were siblings (since the ‘age’ was quite similar). But that aside, I was impressed by Allison during the middle towards the end of the book, because it felt like she was thrown to a scene wherein she needed to do everything to save her mother, and the only clues that can help her were only her dreams (and sometimes Liam and some little information).

And then romance part, though was short, I had enjoyed it and was looking forward on what Ethan will do next (thought it somehow lacked connection or a tad forced). Their romance was the “they want to be together but the girl has a reason why they can’t be together.” But it was reasonable, even though I really had this urge to push Al already, I understood why she was hesitant, why she was resisting... She explained herself: grad school, take care of mom, and no relationship in between. However, Ethan was really putting his moves on: they had a deal, they had a date (which I really love), but then the happenings to Al’s mom  he was there all the time, and you just know that he really have true feelings towards Al. On the latter part, when Allison wanted to suck up all the lies and had found this courage to tell Ethan how she felt… it was just in a wrong timing.
***I do wonder what happened ‘four years ago’ when Al fell for Ethan’s charm and they kissed.

Lastly, the ending, I uttered a cuss word (rhymes with Fudge).
But I shall be good, one word: CLIFFIE.
- It was not a super cliffhanger in bad way; it was in a sort of good way, the one that makes you crave and guess what happens next. But it was worth a read, it made me fidget on my seat and scream-beg-yell at Laura to have the second book already!

So, I recommend this to those who are in for a short-read that wants a NA (though I really felt it was YA) Paranormal, adventure, romance and some summer vibe; definitely a perfect 'paranormal' summer date.

Random things I just want to acknowledge:
            One ordinary thing that I loved was the part wherein Al will have her run, it always gave her that refreshed feel: to clear and be free for a moment. It was very ordinary but it had created an impact in a way that made Allison felt unburdened for a short time.

Some characters I would like to point out:
Deaghlan, I was so confused about him, especially in the end  I just did not know what to make up for him.
Aodhan, my favorite, I just loved this character: how he fought the faeries (he was like a guardian for humans), how he still had this longing for Niamh, and most especially, how he protected Allison like he was her bodyguard.

P.S. This is so unnecessary but one thing the piqued my interest was Ireland and there were characters named Liam and Niall. I do apologize since, I am a One Direction fan (please no throwing of tomatoes or whatever; what I just stated was purely my bias fandom).

P.P.S. I would like to say that I had been coveting this book since late last year, no kidding, there are the “WoW or Waiting on Wednesday” by book bloggers and this is one of those that I always see. So when last April, the author had posted on facebook that she’s willing to give an eARC (even if you are not a book blogger), I grabbed the opportunity, and boy am I so happy! But in no way did this said ‘fetish’ affect my review.
To Laura Howard, massive thank you for the eARC, the story itself and I can’t wait for the next 2 books. I just do hope I’ll be lucky again to have an eARC of the second and third books too!

-     Jassie

2 sprinkled sunshines:

Laura Howard said...

This was an amazing review, and I feel so honored that you took so much time and put so much thought into creating it. Thank you Jas, from my heart. :D

Jas Dela Cruz said...

Thank you for the eARC Laura! :)
And thank you for the compliment, I enjoyed the exhilarating read (and exhausting review) Haha! :)
You are very much welcome <3

Post a Comment

I wouldn't mind any sprinkled sunshines :)
Feel free to comment! :D