Books & Literature

Book Review: Forestfall, by Lyndall Clipstone

YA FANTASY: The curse that haunted Lakesedge Estate has been broken – but at great cost. Violeta Graceling has sacrificed herself to the Lord Under in exchange for the end of the Corruption.

A sequel that delivers what it should for the fans.

Forestfall is Adelaide author Lyndall Clipstone’s eagerly awaited sequel to 2021’s Lakesedge. It is a direct continuation, picking up the story only a few days after the events of the last book. This time, the first-person narrative of Violeta is joined by a second point of view, that of Rowan, as both try to make sense of the new life that their actions have wrought for them.

Fans of the first book need not fear about this change. Rowan’s voice is as vibrant and yearning as Violeta’s, and necessary. The story is told in two plots—that of Rowan in the world above, as he struggles with magic to somehow wrest Violeta back from the clutches of The Lord Under, and Violeta as she struggles to accept her fate and the romantic attentions of the dark lord of the World Below.

A major theme of the novel is acceptance, or rather that one need not accept the hand they were dealt. The Lord Under, full of deceit and lies, may have set a bargain that was accepted by Violeta, but she was under duress, and now must make her way home. But where is home? In the World Below, Violeta starts to realise that the Lord Under, dark and evil as he may be, is more than just that, and even in the underworld things are never as simple as black and white.

While the dual nature of the story is a good vehicle for the plot, it does mean that some elements of the story are dealt with all too briefly. Fans of the alchemist Clover and Violeta’s brother Arien may be disappointed that their roles in this book are only minor. The action revolves solely around Violeta and the denizens of the underworld, and Rowan’s efforts to connect with her in the world above. The team established in the first book is, of necessity, more assumed than seen.

Clipstone did great work establishing her fantasy world in Lakesedge, and his has been continued in Forestfall. This time it is assumed that the reader will know all about the world above, and Clipstone spends her time fleshing out the world under, with its magical trees and not-so-nice denizens.

Unlike the majority of fantasy at the moment where the emphasis is on trilogies, Forestfall completes the story of Violeta and Rowan although it is hoped (by this reviewer at least) that Clipstone will continue to show us more of the world she has so painstakingly built.

Reviewed by DC White

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: August 2022
RRP: $24.99

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