Beneath the Forsaken City by C. E. Laureno is a young adult fiction novel, set in an ancient time with magic and intrigue. This Celtic fantasy is like no other book I've read and it has been an interesting trip away from my usual choice in fiction.
C. E. Laureno is an award winning author with an unending imagination. The world she has created in her series The Song of Seare is beautiful and inspiring. I struggled to really get into the book from the beginning, and so I did a little research. What I discovered is this is the second book in a trilogy. My main reason for having a hard time fully understanding what was going on was I have not yet read the first book in the series.
Beneath the Forsaken City begins with a newlywed couple escaping danger created by the evil Druids who rule Seare. The groom, Conor, leaves knowing that he will have to return in order to free Seare from the reign of the Druids. Just when the couple feel a small breath of safety the tragedy of a storm at sea separates them, neither knowing if the other is alive. Aine, the bride, is washed ashore in one place and Conor in another, resulting in the fight to survive and find one another.
Throughout the novel both Conor and Aine must learn to follow the leading of Comdiu, the One we would call the God of heaven. Each takes a different path and must struggle to lean on Comdiu alone, a journey they struggle through.
As I said before, this is a great departure from the genre of literature I usually gravitate towards. While the story-line itself was engaging, I found myself bogged down by the unfamiliar names of people and places, having a hard time keeping it all straight. I think this may have been a bit easier had I read the first novel in this the trilogy. The other struggle I had as I read was the amount of description for the violence. I know I am personally more affected by both reading and watching violent things, even when they aren't very graphic. I have to say as far as that is concerned, the author did a good job keeping the amount of blood minimal compared to most popular novels, but it was still too much for me to comfortably read.
If you have an interest in reading Celtic fantasy, this is an excellent read for you. While it isn't one which particularly delighted me, the story is well written and in my opinion would be incredibly engaging for anyone who loves this genre. I have a strong feeling my oldest daughter will particularly enjoy this book when she is a bit older.
Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of Beneath the Forsaken City from Tyndale Publishers as part of the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and did not receive any other compensation.