Galen and the Forest Lord


Title: Galen and the Forest Lord
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Fantasy / Shifters / Romance
Length: Novella/30,000 words
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 rating stars

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: Original and fun parody of shifter lore in romantic folk tale fable.

Blurb: By the time Galen Olaf-kin woke up and smelled the spiced ale, it was too late, and he never finished the wicked deed for which he stood trial. Banished from his home, he flees to the forest, taking nothing but the unwanted infant he’s rescued. Perhaps the legends are true and the forest lord will take them both in. The lord is said to give sanctuary to outcasts, but none of the stories mention the naughty, tempting things he whispers, or that he shares Galen’s forbidden passions.

Lord Erik rolls his eyes at the prophecy that says when human hands deliver a babe to the forest, he’ll meet the mate destined to reunite forest folk with humankind. What interest has he in a child? The handsome human who brings the babe is another matter entirely, and a little thing like destiny won’t stand in Erik’s way of claiming the golden-haired Galen as his own. Or will it?

Sometimes prophecies are overrated, legends incomplete, and heroes not always the sharpest swords in the scabbard.

Review:

This is a fun, broad humour-based parody of many M/M shifter traditions, set in a Red Riding Hood forest and village folk tale. I kept expecting to hear a rather toneless Greensleeves sung in the round.

The fairy tale motif is carried on the muscular back of an unexpected babe in the woods. The naive, kind hero Galen is tricked out of his birth right and banished for being attracted to lads not lasses. With the baby he has saved from what he thinks is slavery he is forced to face the dangers of the forest. The wolves of the close by forest had always been a source of scary fire-side stories.

Legends and predictions are manipulated in this story with all the delight of a political spin doctor. Old Jarl, a seer with a very loose concept of interpreting prophecy, Kitta a white witch and Lady Eydis, the Alpha Bitch herself all help to save Galen and Erik, the Forest Lord from themselves. If in addition they preserve two precarious societies — well that provides an extra happy ending.

The details of the the Forest Lord’s court are displayed with a great deal of robust humour as many shifter tropes are tormented with varying degrees of success. I particularly enjoyed the inner wolf dialogues. Also I think I blushed as I realised Erik had caught me with his:

Honestly who’d believe he could determine a man’s length with simply a sniff? Half your clan that’s who.

Although carefully guided by various would-be powers behind the throne, I was pleased that Erik displayed some strong instincts of his own that showed why he was a successful leader. Personally I need at least a certain level of charisma in my heroes, even in parody. Humour is ever a movable feast, and somethings worked better than others for me. I found Galen and the villager’s dialogue, however, had a slightly irritating whiff of ye olde dialect about it.

Both Galen and the Forest Lord Erik are enjoyable characters, with their own mix of the heroic and unheroic; they display outright stupidity, but also kindness, honesty, bravery and unexpected cunning. However when push comes to shove they show they are meant to be together in this quirky and funny fable.

Recommended

11 comments

  • Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Raine. I’m so glad ya’ll liked Galen and Erik’s own quirky version of HEA. Every so often I need a break from angst, and this little story is the result.

    There are two additional snippets that go with Galen and the Forest Lord. The first features Jarl and the pregnant ladies, planning the joining feast.

    http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/278800-bonus-scene-for-galen-and-the-forest-lord

    The second is part of the joining ritual.

    http://crysellescraziness.blogspot.com/2011/09/thousand-word-thursday-eden-winters.html

    Yeah, GRL was a blast. I came home tired but happy. Wish all ya’ll could have been there. I enjoyed the heck out of meeting John.

    Reply
  • I just finished it and did enjoy the tongue in cheek moments. I got this book at grl and met Eden winters personally. She’s quite a lady!!

    Reply
    • This is the first Eden Winters’ book I’ve read, but I understand it’s not her usual style. I’m going to explore her back list now.

      Sounds like you all had a fab time in New Orleans. So very, very envious John. 🙂

      Reply
  • Squeee, so happy you liked this one. I laughed a lot when I read and reread it. So agree that talks with inner wolves were hilarious, I also liked how Galen mistranslated wolves’ thoughts and Eydis was well, hysterical.

    And yes, Galen’s and villagers’ talk grated on me a bit too. Thanks for the great review.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the recommendation Sirius, I would have missed this one otherwise. :flowers:

      I’ve been really enjoying some interesting variations on shifter books recently and this was one of the most original, I think.

      Reply
  • I’m reading it right now and, so far, it’s very cute. And, I’m enjoying Erik’s commentary about his people immensely.

    Reply

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