The IFWG Publishing blog site provided an intriguing description of what Blackthornes Of The Forgotten is – by stating what it isn't. Firstly, it is labeled as a paranormal/romance story, for want of a better label (which, I agree, there isn't). The site then says that even though it isn't paranormal, it has no vampires, werewolves, zombies or witches, nor does it have unrelenting action and gore. And yet it is paranormal. While it is labeled as romantic, there are no long passages of passion, and certainly no erotic narrative. But it is about love, and more importantly, it is about 'soulmateship'.
I am not big on paranormal fiction, and certainly not on romance, but this story was a superb read. And the reason why was because a) it was technically well written, and b) it has its own, unique voice, hence the labeling issue.
This is a story where there is an incredibly strong connection between the world as we know it (Ireland in this case), and the 'higher plane' which is only obliquely described – in fact, hardly at all. It really is Irish in my mind, and how modern day Irish people who believe in such things, would look at it. This makes for a subtle, evocative set of parallel worlds, devoid of ham, over-worn tropes, and the over-theatrical.
Another thing I liked about the book is the complete lack of black and white, good and evil. The angelic types have amazingly serious (and ironically human) flaws, and the few evil types have their chances of redemption – they are grayish-black, so to speak. In other words, the characters are well crafted, and to be honest, represent the core of what makes this novel. That, and the enduring power of love and sacrifice.
If you are after action and pyrotechnic magic, you will be disappointed. If you are after torrid sex scenes, or small talk in Victorian parlors, etc – or the emerging sexuality of young adults, then you will definitely be disappointed.
If you are after subtle relationships among adult characters – not always in the expected manner – that are three-dimensional, and if you want an in-depth probing of what love is about, and what soul-mates are, set in a vivid world that parallels another, then you will be delighted.
Five stars without question.