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Sylvan Valley Aflame


Jonathan Pembroke

You know that feeling when things seem to be going okay, and you just know that something really bad is going to happen, but not quite what? A kind of anxiety that almost makes you reluctant to keep reading, but you kind of have to, because now you’ve started, and you just can’t leave the poor characters on their own?

That’s how this book begins.

After over half a year since last, I didn’t have all the names and all the plot points fresh in my mind, but I know that there was trouble brewing. Bad stuff. Very bad stuff.

It was almost a relief when things finally started going wrong.

This is the third book in the series of Sydney and her journey to becoming the leader of the fairy gang – a criminal group (of fairies – it’s not just a name) in the city of Woodhollow, selling drugs, running rackets, trying to stay out of the way of the enforcers. It’s not quite the story of daring robberies and sneaky break-ins that you might perhaps expect, though.

Rather, this story is about the characters and their relations to each other, how they and the gang grow and change, and, eventually, about even bigger things.

It’s been a ride, and while I didn’t expect the book to take quite the turns it did, it still made good sense as it happened.

What I’ll whine about

There are a lot of characters in the gang, and from time to time, I had a hard time telling them apart. This probably would have been easier if it hadn’t been so long since I read the previous part, but as it were, it was an issue. I’d suggest reading all three books in one go, with just a short break between them.

What I’ll gush about

I had my doubts about a gang of criminal fairies when I started the first book, but I soon grew to love the idea, and I still find it awesome. It takes everything I thought I knew about fairies and turns it on its head.

The setting. It felt good to be back. Woodhollow and the world it’s in is an amazingly diverse and colorful place. There’s all kinds of different fantasy races, and then some, but no actual humans at all.

There’s more to come. This could have been a whine, as future stories in this setting aren’t out yet, but for now, I’m happy to wait. This series ends on a good note, but there are enough unanswered questions to fill plenty more series.

Final word

A great end to a great series. If you want fantasy that’s a little bit off the beaten path, but not so much as to be weird and alienating, this is a book for you.

Find Sylvan Valley Aflame on Goodreads.

Check out our reviews of the first book in the series: Rumble in Woodhollow

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