Simith of Drifthorn is tired of war. After years of conflict between the Thistle court and the troll kingdom, even a pixie knight known for his bloodlust longs for peace. Hoping to secure a ceasefire, Simith arranges a meeting with the troll king—and is ambushed instead. Escape lies in the Jaded Grove, but the trees of the ancient Fae woodland aren’t what they seem, and in place of sanctuary, Simith tumbles through a doorway to another world.
Cutting through her neighbor's sunflower farm in Skylark, Michigan, Jessa runs into a battle between creatures straight out of a fantasy novel. Only the blood is very real. When a lone fighter falls to his attackers, Jessa intervenes. She's known too much death to stand idly by, but an act of kindness leads to consequences even a poet like her couldn't imagine.
With their fates bound by magic, Simith and Jessa must keep the strife of his world from spilling into hers—except the war isn't what it appears and neither are their enemies. Countless lives depend on whether they can face the truths of their pasts and untangle the web of lies around them. But grief casts long shadows, and even their deepening bond may not be enough to save them from its reach.
(Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from Storytellers On Tour for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own and are honest and unbiased.)
In the Jaded Grove by Anela Deen was
a charming New Adult portal fantasy with a strong cast of diverse
characters, clean romance, and a refreshing twist on fairy lore. Anela succeeded in covering heavy topics, including grief,
PTSD, and depression, in a candid yet compassionate way. I consider this work New Adult because Jessa was twenty-two, but it's also suitable for mature young adults. Anela wrote this book using alternating points of view, which provided me a
better understanding of both Jessa and Simith. I identified well with the main characters and enjoyed their development.
I also loved the supporting characters, and I appreciated that none of the romance was rushed or bogged down with
While I enjoyed the author's concise, crisp writing style, I did wish for a little more detail when it came to world-building. There were some beautiful descriptions of various settings, but I still had a hard time envisioning the world. Furthermore, some passages felt a bit clipped. The author had a way of jumping right to the chase, cutting out many details of the characters' adventure. Most of the time, I was thankful for this because it quickened the pace. There were times, however, when it simply made the story feel rushed, especially at the end. It was great that the author wrapped the story up so neatly, but the resolution seemed glossed over. That said, I adored In the Jaded Grove and I'd love to read more from Anela Deen.
Trigger Warning: This story contains themes of violence, trauma, torture, grief, and mentions of the death of a loved one (in the past, not on page)