Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Don't Go Into the Forest

The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Leelo has spent all her life on an island surrounded by a poisonous lake and protected by a forest that is alive and wants blood.  Outsiders are not allowed on the island and if they find themselves there they are sent away.  None are ever seen again.  Leelo is told it has to be this way, for the safety of everyone she loves.  But as the day approaches where her brother will be sent away for not having magic, and she meets an outsider that seems anything but evil she starts to question everything.  She finds that the home she loves may not be what she thought and she is caught in a web of lies and secrets and must decide what she will believe.

I love a conflicted main character.  And I think it is done well here.  Leelo is likeable and I feel for her as she struggles between being loyal to her community and her family and doing what her heart tells her is right.  And there is a good amount of tension that Rutherford was able to keep up through the book.  Leelo is danger but sometimes you are not sure who she is in danger from.  And you (and Leelo) know there is so much that she doesn't know and the mystery as it unfolds is entertaining and gripping even if it is not all completely unexpected.  I also think there were some things that could have been explored a little more.  I wanted to know more about this malevolent forest.  And, quite frankly, I was never really sure what it was that the magic of the islanders did.  (Except lure people to their deaths.)  There was a wolf that was mentioned once, seemed like he would be a significant part of the story, but then he never surfaced again.  I enjoyed the book.  It had a lot of interesting concepts and I like the mix of fantasy and romance with a slight horror edge to it.  But there were a couple of things that made me stop short of love for this one.

I got a free copy of this book from Bookish First.

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