After a bestselling fantasy writer disappears, only his biggest fan believes he's in danger. Instead of re-reading his books, she must venture into the real world to uncover the truth in this fast-paced mystery by New York Times-bestselling author April Henry. For readers of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.
Bridget is RM Haldon's biggest fan. She and her mom sought refuge in Haldon's epic fantasy series Swords and Shadows while her mom was losing her battle with cancer. When Bridget met Haldon at one of his rare book signings, she impressed the author with her encyclopedic knowledge of the fantasy world he'd created. Bridget has been working for him ever since as he attempts to write the final book in his blockbuster sword and sorcery series. But Haldon has gone missing, and Bridget is the only person who seems concerned. Can Bridget piece together Haldon's cryptic clues and save him before it's too late?
Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story that seamlessly blends suspense with an exploration of fan culture.
(Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book through NetGalley to participate in this Xpresso Book Tours event. All opinions in this review are my own and are honest and unbiased.)
Eyes of the Forest by April Henry delivered a disturbing examination of how far some people will go to get what they want. Though the plot didn't feel entirely original to me, Eyes of the Forest had many unique aspects. I related so well with Bridget that she was easy to root for throughout the novel. I loved RM Haldon's characterization, as well. Through him, April Henry raised a lot of awareness about the pressures and struggles many authors face from those who work with them and from fans, which I appreciated. I also admired all the research April Henry put into Eyes of the Forest, and I loved the fantasy excerpts she shared of Haldon's novels. She expertly shifted from thriller mode to fantasy mode to do so, which impressed me. Those excerpts made the whole story especially distinctive.
It took a while for the pace to pick up after the shocking first chapter, but once it did, it didn't let up. There were a few scenes that felt extraneous to me, which slowed the pacing. However, everything came together at the end wonderfully. I liked that Bridget didn't immediately become suspicious of Haldon's absence. Instead, a well-structured, logical series of events led up to her investigation. Even so, I thought it would have even been more interesting if April Henry had allowed room for the reader to doubt Bridget's honesty and mental state. While I felt it could have been tightened up more and that it had untapped potential, Eyes of the Forest by April Henry was a nail-biting Young Adult thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend to other thriller lovers.
Trigger Warning: Some violence and abduction.
April Henry is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels Girl, Stolen; The Girl I Used to Be, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; The Night She Disappeared; and Body in the Woods and Blood Will Tell, Books One and Two in the Point Last Seen series. She lives in Oregon.