Mythic Forest: Louis Eliopoulos
As the male member of a royal family Erich is expected to learn the necessary duties that he will be expected to carry out when he takes over the throne and becomes King. But, Erich is young and seeks his fun and adventure elsewhere and as the story opens he is sent to do what is referred to as an Estate’s check but finds his way to a world much more exciting and enchanted. Wanting less responsibilities and more fun he has visions of a place that would allow him to find excitement. A place called the Dark Wood, which he seems drawn to, and where he finds Zel, locked away in a tower and treated as a prisoner wanting more out of life than the loneliness she experiences each day. But, through Erich she learns about the world, life, animals and the many creatures that exist and she learns something else that will change her life but enrage someone else. Held captive in this tower she is only privy to one person, her Godmother, who comes to see her each day. Climbing her long braid that she uses to get into the window of this tower, the Godmother seeks revenge when she learns that she has been meeting with someone else. Erich and Zel seem to belong together but what happens when the magic of the forest takes hold, their friendship discovered and the end result could help win the ancient war. As Erich seeks the Dark Wood to escape his own life, Zel would love to find someplace else. Is the Dark Wood really someplace to be or is it somewhere you had better avoid?
Like the fairytale, Rapunzel, the author sets the scene as we learn what happens when Zel and the Prince are found out and are exiled. Two teens each seeking their own place in the world but to what extent will they go to be together and what will the end result be? When ejected from her tower and left on her own Zel learns the true meaning of fear when trying to deal with her surroundings. Grass, flowers, thorns and the Dark Wood engulf her as a group of magical fairies light their way to her for her protection. Never having anyone care for her but Lucinda her Godmother she never realized the cruelties that befell her and her fate was sealed in this tower. But, leaving there, living with these magical spirits that protected her and consider her a Golden Child, they revel in the knowledge that she is going to have twins and hope that her children will be faeries too.
In another part of the Dark Wood Erich deals with the wrath of Lucinda leaving him helpless and blind. The author describes his fear, his lack of trust when approached by a special faerie and the knowledge that without her help and that of many others he would not survive. Knowledge of Zel and her whereabouts is kept secret from him and his from Zel as they both learn to cope with their present and have no idea about their future. Erich repents and realizes that his fate was sealed and he cannot go home because of his lack of fortitude, responsibility and understanding of what a true prince should be. Selfish, greedy and not taking on what his parents expected of him made him ashamed of who and what he was. But, with the help of Zel, if and when they reunite maybe that would change.
As Zel and the amazing Faeries deal with her upcoming birth they nurture her, teach her how to hunt and survive as well as methods of dealing with the pain involved in having a child. But, on of their own does not want her to survive and feels she is a creature of the Dark side and she needs to be eliminated. When Zel gives birth to one child she feels the presence of Sauroter there and what she does and how she is able to use her magical powers is incredible. Growing up in the Tower she had been fed magical and brought up magical in many ways and in this way she was able to destroy him before he destroyed her.
Aoide wanted allow the faerie’s to know and how and why she blessed Humans and why she allowed one of their rituals to take place. “It marked humanity as a recognized and important ally in the struggle against the Dark.” This book deals with good vs. bad or light vs. Dark as two separate groups struggle for power and decisions regarding which Erich and Zel fit into overpower the leaders of both. As Aoide creates a special marriage ceremony for the two young people the world, as they know it listens, observes and hears the words as she blesses them and their children in the name of the Gods of Light. If everyone in our world believed as Aoide, that the “law of life is to love,” maybe hate, greed, wars and deceits would take a back seat and there will be less storms. Listening to both Erich and Zel give their vows we also realize that Zel never really lived in the real world but spent her days locked up in a tower believing what her Godmother, the witch, told her and now has to decide where life will take her, Erich and their children. When offered a sip of enchanted water from the enchanted spring what they learn and what they see will change everything as Zel remembers Sauroter’s attack and the end result.
Within the novel sides are clearly drawn, doubts are casted and voices are heard but who listens and the end result will surprise readers as the author relates that “ the new battleground would be the hearts and minds of humanity.” How would the Gods counter the ranks of Brutes and demons with the “expanding population of men, to fight fire with fire?” Wouldn’t it be nice if humanity and mankind would learn to respect creation, serve it and in turn maybe they would serve them? One solid voice belonging to one of the Sisters as the faeries are called reveals her thoughts as Aoide listens to Drymus express her doubts about the two young people and proposes a different fate for them. Reminding her that Rapunzel/Zel was raised by a witch who sent this young girl to the Sacred Meadow with these magical faeries stating that the only way that could or would happen was with the help of Dark Gods or devils.
Things begin to change and the two young people decide to leave the sanctuary of the faeries and Drymus as a result of an act by Zel, which will remain secret until you learn about it for yourself, depletes them of the protection they have received and the two loyal faeries are told to no longer watch over them as they journey home to Erich’s kingdom. As you read pages 140-146 the author cleverly, graphically and vividly reveals Zel’s thoughts and recreates an event that will change it all as Zel’s actions that follow prove just how immature and inexperienced she is dealing with adult situations. But, when their safety is in question the help of someone is enlisted and things change drastically.
Returning home to his kingdom Erich does not face the welcome he so rightly felt he deserved. Interspersed you hear him reveal his mixed emotions about why he wanted the throne, what he should have done differently in order to save Zel from the witch and his own selfishness and greed. Both young people struggling within themselves to survive in two different worlds that they are thrown or born into. One who is so naïve and still must learn the truth about the real world and the other too caught up in his quest to become King, find his own niche that he often loses sight of what is important.
Entering his Kingdom the reception is hostile and the final result will surprise readers as they learn who has the thrown and why. When Erich returns to Zel the final scenes will who sent her wrath against these two not surprise readers but the end result will. When one man is forced to make a decision will he take on the challenge and responsibilities? When magic plays a prominent role can it make for a happy ending? Two teens fell in love and the world dealt them challenges that they would either overcome or not. The final sparks of life are gone and who is left will create a whole new chapter in the lives of many as the author will continue with The Fabelwald Saga in book two when we learn more about Dandle and Lion.
A great book to teach honesty, responsibility, how to deal with those that are of different races, understanding, love, hate and positive ways to deal with those with opposing viewpoints, acceptance, tolerance and even more love. Author Louis Eliopoulos allows readers young, young adults and adults to see life through the eyes of two young teens, learn from their mistakes and heed the warnings and the life experiences shared by those of The God of Light. Enter the Clearing and find your way to a place where everyone gets along. Learn more when you read Book 2.
This book gets: FIVE GOLDEN LIGHTS
Fran Lewis :reviewer