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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Broken Forest by Eliza Tilton is the first book in The Daath Chronicles. Avikar spends every day trying to forget the day he lost his little brother as it haunts him every moment. Their lives have found a happy routine with an impending engagement that is quickly disrupted when Avikar’s sister is kidnapped and sent to the dark lord of Daath. Avikar and his best friend set out on the trail of the kidnappers and uncover a shocking secret within the darkness of Daath. Along the way, they make a few surprising allies, but the longer it takes to find Jeslyn, the further she falls under the trance of the dark lord. When Jeslyn meets the charming Lucino, he isn’t what she expected and as the two spend together, the further their connection grows. A connection that is so enthralling that she’s blinded to the monster he is within.
The story is told from the three perspectives of Avikar, Jeslyn, and Lucino with each of them providing a separate aspect of the story. When Avikar's sister is kidnapped, guilt and determination not to lose another sibling are at the core of what drives him to go after her with the only reinforcement he has being his best friend. The dynamic between the two friends adds some lightness to the story through their bickering and how they push each other forward. Avikar’s journey is one where he must learn how to forgive himself and how to open his heart again.
Jeslyn has been abducted along with other girls to be delivered to the dark lord, but then she meets Lucino, who on the surface is charming and alluring. They have an immediate spark between them that she can’t deny, and this connection has her confused as to what to feel. Their dynamic is a reflection of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale which adds a complication to her story through a love triangle. Through Lucino’s perspective, the story weaves in a tale reminiscent of Bluebeard as Lucino takes woman after woman for his dollhouse. Broken Forest is an enchanting tale that Eliza Tilton creates about healing and family with a fairytale element woven throughout that provides a dark undercurrent.