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Review: In the Jaded Grove by Anela Deen

Updated: Aug 25



As someone who has read YA and Adult Fantasy in lengthy sequences, I often perceive the genre as something that’s too broad and massive to fit into a stand-alone book, where barely of its surface gets scratched if not written as a series or an anthology of books. Such was my surprise when I went in cold and read Adela Deen’s In the Jaded Grove, as part of my participation for the #KindredRealmsTour organized by Caffeine Book Tours, who provided me complimentary access to the digital book. Before diving into my review, written below is the synopsis for In the Jaded Grove:



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.

Anela Deen’s talent shines through an incredibly fast-paced story on war, grief, hope, and heartache, told through third person POVs by two of the main characters: Simith and Jessa --- both dynamically developed, intriguing, and relatable. Almost like every reader out there, I often see myself in parts or pieces of a character, however, Simith and Jessa's raw expression of grief and pain, as a result of their personal losses, felt like seeing my entire self reflected through them (most particularly through Jessa) as both internally struggle to free themselves from the grief that consumed and shaped them --- something that I strongly relate to. Deen's sheer power of using words, wrapping them in emotions, and projecting them through these two for her readers to feel the minute details expressed in their gestures are a testament of her talent.


Not only does Deen expertly tug strings of emotions from her readers, but her ability to introduce a world that's carefully and impressively built in just under 300 pages --- a surprisingly limited number for a stand-alone fantasy book --- nevertheless, will blow you away for how gifted she is at storytelling. Deen doesn't waste words with unnecessary plot points as she manuevers the plot to an established direction, all the while stringing sentences to paragraphs that read like prose, without leaving behind loose plot ends.


From the first 'til the last page, In the Jaded Grove is brimmed with adventure, action, and twists that will engross you until you find yourself immersed in a world tangled in political intrigue with emotionally-driven characters who will capture your heart for their quiet, resilient souls as they navigate through war and acceptance in a beautifully and carefully written story that only gifted storytellers like Anela Deen are capable of. Should such story have been penned by less experienced hands, I believe it wouldn't be as impactful as it is. I have nothing but praise, adulation, and a 4.5-star rating for In the Jaded Grove.

BOOK INFORMATION


Title: In the Jaded Grove

Author: Anela Deen

Publisher: Fine Fables Press

Cover artist: Jenny Zemanek

Publication date: 15 April 2021

Age group: New Adult

Genres: Fantasy


Synopsis:


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.



On-page Representation

  • Filipino (main character)

  • Secondary sapphic characters


Trigger and Content Warnings

  • Violence

  • Trauma

  • Grief

  • Death of a loved one (in the past - not on page)


Get your copy through:

Amazon — https://amzn.to/37BnDbN

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56889113-in-the-jaded-grove

AUTHOR INFORMATION


A child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently landlocked in the Midwest. After exploring the world for a chunk of years, she hunkered down in Minnesota and now fills her days with family, fiction, and the occasional snowstorm. With a house full of lovable toddlers, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm.


Author links:

Author website — http://amidtheimaginary.wordpress.com/

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15162848.Anela_Deen

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/AnelaDeen

Twitter — http://www.twitter.com/AnelaDeen