Author submission in exchange for an honest review.
Leslie D. Soule
Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy. When 23-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.
I’m not a reader of fantasy. I say that a lot, don’t I? “I’m not a reader of <insert sub-genre here>.” I swear, I’m a voracious reader. I suppose I should clarify that I’m most often a reader of the classics. Mainstream fiction suits me, I guess. I’m a contemporary girl living in a contemporary world. I’ve started many a fantasy/paranormal/etc. story and realized I couldn’t finish because it’s just not my cup of tea. Don’t shoot me for that, please?
At any rate, I added Fallenwood, a YA fantasy to my roster of reads. Because of my past experiences with the genre, I have to admit I didn’t expect to enjoy the read. But I must give Leslie Soule credit. She crafts a storyline that is compelling and believable.
I think I should note that Fallenwood (to me) isn’t a romance story. It’s a story with romance sprinkled in. I figure, since the blog is devoted to romances, that should be made clear. I think, though, that the amount of romance used in the story is correct. This is the kind of story where a giant, sweeping, all-consuming love story would detract from everything else going on.
Life in this world was difficult for Ash. She was unhappy, unfulfilled, emotionally adrift, and deeply depressed. Finding a portal to Fallenwood might have ultimately saved her life, even though once she stepped foot into the dimension, her survival was questionable, at best.
The true story is a person who is floundering finally finding her path and discovering the strength she possesses. There is nothing more satisfying to me than reading a story about characters with flaws who overcome… themselves. It rings true to me. Even in a world of dragons and magic. And this world is very well-crafted, very well thought-out. This is a fantasy story that kept me interested until the end, which, when dealing with a woman who can be distracted by a ball of tin foil, says a lot.