In an elegant, classic fantasy novel, “Forest Of Wonders” by C.C. Lewis Allman, an ancient taboo falls to modern-day hunters who seek the fabled golden woods. With its exciting hero, talking bears, intricate magic, unresolved moral dilemmas, and morally compromising situation, this early of a planned trilogy promises even more thrilling forest adventures.
This first book in an exciting trilogy has all the ingredients for an exciting start. Lewis has written a first novel that utilizes his vast imaginative imagination and his finely honed prose to weave a swift, interesting tale full of intrigue and adventure. The character, Zacharias, is so unique and well-developed that we care about his well-being because he seems so effortlessly good. This opening book, which is also the first in an anticipated series, is a seductive romance of hope against evil.
The second book, “The Court Of Mirabelle” finds the character, Beth, in an unusual position: she must marry a man she hardly loves and barely knows, while keeping her magical powers under wraps so she can protect her family from some impending peril. This second instalment of an already fantastic series has richly explored the links between botany and magic, family and duty, the natural world and the supernatural. And the third instalment, “The Well At the End of the World,” sets the stage for the thrilling and memorable events to come in “The Forest of Heroes.” With the destruction of Zacharias’s home left in the hands of some vampire clans, the adventures of Beth continue as she battles this new threat to her magical world and finds herself caught between two powerful forces who will use the forces they have against her, if they think their way is right.
In the third book, “The Well at the End of the World,” Beth and Zacharias are returned to their homeland after living for half a century in Paris. Zacharias’s magic allows him to transform himself into a swan, but before he can do so, Beth has had to marry a man who has suddenly become her husband. While the relationship is surely not what it was before, it is a love story that, like the first novel, is laced with delightful comic scenes and a number of touching character details.
The most promising of the three novels in The Forest of Wonders series is The Desert Of Time. Set during the early days of the Second World War, this tale follows Beth and Zacharias as they struggle to save the world against the whims of their cruel king. This is a story about courage, duty, sacrifice, forgiveness, hope, magic, elves, and the wild. While this initial part may be slow going by historical standards, “The Desert of Time” picks up pace nicely as a sweeping adventure that leaves the reader eager for the next installment, The Forest of Wonders. The desert of time turns an entire generation of what was once called “Grimm” into something much more than exhausted ex-service men and exhausted princesses.
Whether thrilling, hilarious, intriguing, or just plain weird, John Keats’ novel stands tall among the finest of young adult novels. From the first person point of view of an injured young boy who must learn how to harness his strange powers to saving the world from itself, The Forest Of Wonders stands on its own for all ages. The novel is at its best when it takes the reader on a voyage of discovery through a mind-boggling adventure that leaves the reader spellbound, awestruck, enchanted, and eager for the next installment. And in The Forest of Wonders, young readers are treated not only to a great tale, but to a journey that may be the basis for future science fiction films or television shows – the optimistic but hopeful possibility that with enough research, imagination, hard work, and perseverance, anything is possible.