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.
I received a free copy of the book from the author for review and can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Portal Fantasies are something that I’ve recently found a love for, and In the Jaded Grove certainly cemented my love for the genre. A short and incredibly fast paced first book in a new series, I easily found myself swept away on Simith and Jessa’s journey, and cannot wait to return to this world. Simith is a Pixie, a relatively peaceful race, that is until the Troll’s burned their homeland down. Now he is known as a ruthless and effective killer, when in reality he strives for peace. When he is attacked on the way to a truce meeting with the Troll King, Simith finds himself in an unknown and strange world where he meets Jessa. Knowing that the Trolls are following him, and the encounter will likely end with his death Simith tries to get her to run, but Jessa knows loss too well, and if she can help this strange man then she absolutely will. Unfortunately Jessa gets hurt in the attack, and Simith uses the last of his magic to save her, unknowingly linking the pair. After Simith learns of a deception he knows he must return to his world, even if it means certain death, but it’s only after he leaves that the two realise the reality of their link, and before long Jessa finds herself travelling through Simith’s world filled with magical creatures she thought only existed in books, and putting herself into dangerous situations for a man she barely knows and yet feels shes known a lifetime.
Jessa and Simith couldn’t be less alike, yet they both know of loss, and that is the overwhelming thing that connects them. Simith knows battle, he is not made for peace, yet he made a promise to his sister that he would try and find peace between the Pixie’s and Trolls. He is ashamed of his actions as a ruthless killer, and would willingly give his life for the cause. But meeting Jessa changes that, Simith feels a strange link to her, one that might just give him something to live for. Jessa has become somewhat of a social recluse, after a tragic event that permanently changed her life. She did her best to remove herself from society, her friends and family. She goes each day with an almost void where her emotions should be, too afraid to let people in for fear they will leave her, but meeting Simith changes that. She can’t help but worry for him, and one emotion is all it takes for her to start feeling again. Though the story focuses on Simith and Jessa we do get a whole cast of well built side characters from Jessa’s best friend & her crush, to the Fae, Pixies,Trolls and multitude of other creatures that inherit Simiths land. Each have a part to play and all help further Simith and Jessa’s story.
I loved the magical world that Deen created. We have the usual Fae, Fairies, Pixies etc but she brings a new twist to it filled with inner politics, scheming and deception. Though only a short book we do get to travel a good distance in Simith’s world, and get to see the differences in the lands of all the different magical beings. As well as this she gives us an in depth insight into the history of the world, why it is like it is today, why the Fairies are at war with the Trolls etc, as well as a well built and described magic system.
I enjoyed the romance in this book, it was sweet, if not a little fast paced, but we get to spend a lot of time with the characters and are able to see their bond grow throughout the story. Both Simith and Jessa have faced loss, and neither were looking for a relationship of any kind, but they saw something of themselves in each other, a need for contact, for love, and that is what brings them together… well that and a few near death experiences.
This is a story filled to the brim with action and adventure, with a few plot twists thrown in for good measure. I absolutely flew through the pages (in fact I read this in one sitting.) and am certainly eager to see where the author will take the story in the next book, as well as checking out her other works.