Review: Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong

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Publication: April 5th 2016
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Pages:  448pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤

Let me start by saying I love Kelley Armstrong. I love that she is a Canadian author, that she experiments in many different genres, and that she just keeps writing. She has so many books to her name and her stories are loved by many readers, including me.

What I don’t love about Kelley Armstrong are her series. But that isn’t completely true either.

I started reading books by Kelley Armstrong in high school when her Darkest Powers series began being published. It was a time when Paranormal romances were what Thrillers are now, and vampires and werewolves reigned. I’d never read a book about a Necromancer before, which is why that series piqued my interest. I loved it, and it’s sister series Darkness Rising, but with both series I felt the same: they were rushed.

This feeling didn’t change with Forest of Ruin, the last book in the Age of Legends series. I know that Kelley Armstrong has written numerous series, but I don’t understand why she limits her series to only three books when they could be expanded to at least four or five books. From my experience, the first book is always the strongest and well plotted out, but when the second comes along all this new information is dumped on the reader that has to be resolved in the third book, which it is but very quickly and often in an unsatisfactory way.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Forest of Ruin. I liked getting back into this high fantasy world I didn’t know Armstrong could create, and I liked getting back to Moria and Ashyn’s story. As a twin, I like to read stories about twins (though I’m getting really tired of them all being identical, there are more than one type of twin!) and I loved to see Moria and Ashyn’s relationship in the story and reading in their different perspectives. I’ve always preferred Ashyn’s to Moria’s, (while Moria is the more action packed character I’m more like Ashyn, quiet and studious) and was really disappointed by the lack of Ashyn in this book. Usually the point of view chapters between Moria and Ashyn were pretty evenly dispersed, but Moria’s chapters really outweighed Ashyn and Ashyn became a pretty useless character. At one point Ashyn even recognizes that she will go unremembered in history in comparison with her sister, and I took that to be foreshadowing that she would do something big in the story to be remembered like die or kill Alvar Kitsune (SPOILER: She did neither, and she wasn’t even present for Alvar’s death!).

I also disliked the ending, because like most Armstrong trilogies it was fast and unsatisfactory. Everything was quick, easy, and resolved much to simply after what seemed like such a long journey. And, without spoiling anything, I hate this trope authors have begun using of bringing characters back from the dead. Some characters need to stay dead. For once I’d like to read a book where an important character died, was mourned, and stayed dead, because while it’s not only unrealistic to keep bringing these characters back it’s boring. I want to see how the other characters react to another’s death, I want to see them mourn, because sometimes when you try your hardest things don’t turn out right and people get hurt and die, and that is a theme that needs to be better explored in literature.

Overall, the Age of Legends series is enjoyable and fun. I really liked the world Armstrong created and would like to see her write more high fantasy novels, perhaps even more in this world. But I hope she expands her worlds and series better in the future.

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