Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
In the Forests of the Night - Kersten Hamilton Last year, Hamilton's first novel in the Goblin Wars series, Tyger Tyger, made my top ten of 2010. It was that good. Needless to say, I've been pretty excited for this book, which begins literally minutes after the first book ends.One of the things I loved about the first book was that heroine Teagan remained consistent throughout the story, especially in regards to her behavior and attitude. She was tough, vulnerable, scared, brave, smart, and oblivious in appropriate and realistic ways -- and most of all, she didn't change her personality when she started getting hot for a dreamy boy. So I was very eager to see how Teagan developed in this book and if she would remain true to herself. Happily, I wasn't disappointed: not only did Teagan continue to be her level-headed self (still planning to go to college despite her boyfriend talking marriage, which the other characters all felt was ludicrous, too!), she also continued to be a proactive agent in her own life, rather than a passive witness. Delightfully -- and stay with me on this -- a good chunk of this novel felt like Irish Catholic fiction, since Hamilton blends Celtic myth with Catholic tradition. I often forgot that I was reading a YA novel; this felt a bit like a more dramatic Rumer Godden or supernatural Maeve Binchy (in a good way!). It's a religious-ish story without being spiritual (also in a good way), blending my favorite parts of Catholic lore (saints and angels and Legion) with literature and mythology. Hamilton's world-building is unique and fun, and it's refreshing to have supernatural fic that doesn't involve vampires or werewolves. (Seriously, if you're 'eh' on goblins, give this a try. I promise you won't regret it!)Sadly, Finn -- romantic lead and demigod -- was still my least favorite character. He grew on me a bit but I actually don't think he's a match for Tea nor is he as interesting as the other characters -- and as in the first book, In the Forests of the Night is loaded with great secondary and tertiary characters. As a result, I'm not so keen on the romance but that didn't affect my enjoyment of the story as the romance isn't a major part of the action. I can't rave enough about this series and or squee about how delighted I am with the characters and the unique supernatural setting. This is the YA heroine I've always wanted, one I can relate to and would have identified with in high school. This is good reading -- get started!