The Untold Tale by J.M. Frey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Summary from GoodReads
Forsyth Turn is not a hero. Lordling of Turn Hall and Lysse Chipping, yes. Spymaster for the king, certainly. But hero? That’s his older brother’s job, and Kintyre Turn is nothing if not legendary. However, when a raid on the kingdom’s worst criminal results in the rescue of a bafflingly blunt woman, oddly named and even more oddly mannered, Forsyth finds his quaint, sedentary life is turned on its head.
Dragged reluctantly into a quest he never expected, and fighting villains that even his brother has never managed to best, Forsyth is forced to confront his own self-shame and the demons that come with always being second-best. And, more than that, when he finally realizes where Lucy came from and why she’s here, he’ll be forced to question not only his place in the world, but the very meaning of his own existence.
Smartly crafted, The Untold Tale gives agency to the unlikeliest of heroes: the silenced, the marginalized, and the overlooked. It asks what it really means to be a fan when the worlds you love don't resemble the world you live in, celebrates the power of the written word, challenges tropes, and shows us what happens when someone stands up and refuses to remain a secondary character in their own life.
Available now in paperback and ebook!
I recieved an ARC from REUTS Publications in exchange for an honest review.
When I read the summary from this book, I swore I would obtain it. I think I had a small Gollum episode but now I am fine! For ture!
So, in this new fantasy novel we have Forsyth. He is a lord in Turn Hall and Lysse Chipping, areas found in the magical kingdom he lives in, as also secretly he is the spymaster of the King. He is a decent guy with love for books as also quite smart and strategic. (there is also a nice map at the beginning of the book, so you can't get lost)
But when his Men bring in a wounded woman who not only looks foreign but also knows about his identity and his life, Forsyth will have to rethink not only his role in this world but also the idea he has about his self.
Now brace yourselves: Pip is not just any damsel in distress. She is a Reader! Meaning that she got sucked into Forsyth's world, which is none other than a book! The details are quite a spoiler so, if you know evil mini-me, then you have to read the book in order to learn more.
The whole story is an adventure which actually takes all the stereotypes we have about high fantasy novels, deconstructs them, reforms them and then we have the author adding new, more exciting details about everything and everyone! If you are a good YA reader then I can assure you that Frey can deliver a story with critism but also with romance, fighting and humor.
The character I liked most was Forsyth. He is the main POV of the book and through his eyes we learn about Pip, who has dedicated her life reading the book series Forsyth is in. He is always surprised about the way she thinks and silently he falls for her, which I found quite cute. It was nice to have a noble man in a story who did not have the caveman attitude and actually cared about the female character.
Although Forsyth is quite a strong character he always doubts himself, has low self-esteem and self confidence since he had to endure his life under the shadow of his older brother who is the type of the alpha-male knight. His brother also is a jerk, but I will bypass it for now.
What makes even more amazing the plot in this book, is the faint feeling I got when reading it. It felt like I was watching "The Princess Bride" both the movie and the book, not to mention the reference of the phrase "As you wish" in the story. Adding to that the fact that Ivy was transported into a bookish world and you have me recommending the book to every person I know!
There was also a small fantasy of me traveling to the world of "Throne of Glass" series but after seeing what Pip got through, I did rethink about it. Not always do you get to become who you think in a bookish world and the evil guy can be even more sadistic than he looks like.
"The Untold Tale" is a three book series and after reading the ending I have quite high expectations about the sequels. Rarely you can find true gems in books and indie authors should be more known. I am sure that J. M. Frey will blow my mind again and I am crossing my fingers wishing for more adventures for Forsyth and Pip!
About the author:
Her debut novel TRIPTYCH has been nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards, won the San Francisco Book Festival award for SF/F, was nominated for a 2011 CBC Bookie, was named one of The Advocate’s Best Overlooked Books of 2011, and garnered both a starred review and a place among the Best Books of 2011 from Publishers Weekly.