Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: The Awful Truth About Forgetting

It's here. I've got a Dragon Award Nominee for YA for next year.

Welcome to The Awful Truth About Forgetting the fourth of the Books of Unexpected Enlightenment.
What she knows, she dare not tell.

Rachel Griffin should be having an amazing freshman year. She has the Princess of Magical Australia and crazy orphan Sigfried the Dragonslayer for friends and a handsome sorcerer boyfriend romancing her with charms magical and otherwise.

But otherworldly forces conspire against those she loves.

While all others can be made to forget the truth, Rachel cannot. When she runs afoul of the hidden force hiding these terrible secrets, Rachel must face her most desperate hour yet.

This on top of winter fairies, missing friends, Yule gifts, flying practice, and a rampaging ogre…oh, and schoolwork.

Then there is the matter of a certain undeniably attractive older boy…
The Awful Truth About Forgetting (Books of Unexpected Enlightenment Book 4) by [Lamplighter, L. Jagi]Yeah, this is the one where everything goes dark. I don't know if we have finally seen the ultimate villain for the series, or merely one of his henchmen. After all, book 1 had a cameo appearance by Lucifer himself, and not the charming hedonist played by Tom Ellis, but the Prince of Darkness.

I must say that this one was a surprise. Unlike the previous novels, book 4 doesn't open with a massive recap of the events of the last novel. It even does something strange, like take a break from the action. This one starts several days after the last novel .... instead of hours. I guess Rachel could use the break. She has had a rough couple of months. And the evil baby skeletons were probably stressful. The only real recap is that we see the fate of several of the bad guys from book #3.

This is also surprising in that I'm not sure I could summarize the plot easily. Books 1-3 were in a solid arc. #4 ... this is actually a surprise in that this is a character driven novel. No frenetic action. No Jack Bauer ticking clock. Heck, we even managed to get several months along the school year in this one. They deal with family issues, and exploration of most of the concepts in the prior novels that everyone was too busy to delve into ... mostly because everyone was too busy being shot at.

The title of the series is, after all, about Rachel's enlightenment. And the enlightenment is the majority of book #4. Character development and growth, and dealing with character-related blowback from not the last book, but all three books. It was only briefly touched on in Many Splendoured Dreamland, but Rachel is only 13. And, unlike certain other magical British student adventurers, she has enough of a personality and character that she actually needs time to recover from things that would give full adults PTSD. Because when Rachel goes through something Hellish, the roots of the event are literally straight from Hell.

However, while dealing with the personal repercussions of Rachel and Co acting as the Scooby Gang, we also discover just how deep and complicated the problems of the world truly are. Yes, because dealing with three different demons in as many books wasn't complicated enough. No. Those are the easy, "simple" problems. In fact, by the time you finish the book -- actually,when you're three quarters of the way done -- there's enough new data to see that this could end so very, very badly for everyone.

The problems with the book are the problems of ... characters. IE: They have flaws. Trust me, the Princess of Magical Down Under is one character who the reader will want to throttle at points. However, given various and sundry revelations, even that isn't as quite a simple problem as one might think.

For those of you who are saddened by the lack of 24-level threats from all comers every dozen pages or so, don't worry. The last 60 pages or so involve a full scale attack on the school.


Pick up The Awful Truth About Forgetting  here.

1 comment:

  1. And the author starts tearing off some of the masks. I mean in the previous books it was there, but here it's in your face and you can't avoid it. A most excellent review of a great book.


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