Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Review: Forests of the Heart

Finally moving out of the '90s and into the 2000s, Charles de Lint's Forests of the Heart is a pretty fantastic way to start the new decade.

The novel, set in his fictional Canadian city of Newford, does feature a few of his fan favourite characters, but in this novel they are secondary to a new group, one including artists, musicians, a witch, and some very kind people who get in way over their heads.

As with most of his fiction set in Newford, de Lint focuses on how regular folk interact with the mythic, being creatures or events from beyond our world (but often also from just around the corner), but as with his best work, this focuses largely on his human characters and their all-too-human issues.

Two of the main characters, a used-record store owner named Hunter Cole, and an artist/social worker named Ellie Jones, actually begin with very little in terms of fantasy elements in their lives, neither are the latest in a family lineages of healers (another character in the novel) or have a family history involved with a group of creatures simply called "The Gentry" (that falls to two other characters).  A Big part of what I love about this novel is how well de Lint manages a large cast of characters, deftly switching back and forth between them, without ever losing the inertia of the story.

Forests of the Heart is a well crafted fantasy novel, something I might suggest to bring fans of Urban Fantasy into some of the amazing things the genre of Fantasy can bring to a story.

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