Genre: New Adult/Fantasy
Publication Date: May 15th 2013
Publisher: Laura Howard
Format: Mobi ARC provided by author for review
Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember. What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.
There's nothing I love more than a good book with an interesting story and great characters. Except when a book is in a certain genre but doesn't read like it is. The Forgotten Ones is based in the land of the Fae realm and while it does have supernatural elements it's not so heavily written that you can't put yourself into the story.
When we meet 22 year old Alison O'Malley we find her living with her grandparents and her mother who upon first glance has some mental issues being diagnosed Schizophrenic. All Alison wants to do is finish college and be able to get a job so she can take care of her mother indefinitely. Strange things start happening almost instantly with flocks of birds gathering in their yard and her mother seeing things out the window causing her to freak out and when Alison starts hearing a voice in her head she panics not wanting to end up like her mother. She has always been told that her mother was fine until she returned from Ireland pregnant with her. After having her she became despondent and erratic missing most of Alison's young life due to this supposed illness.
When a strange man named Liam shows up claiming to be her father with a possible way to bring her mother's sanity back she learns she is one of the ancient Danaan. A group of Fae long thought forgotten by Irish folklore. She has to learn to trust that her father isn't the bad guy all while trying to fight her attraction to her longtime crush Ethan. A boy she has known and loved her whole life. He makes it no secret that he wants to be with her but with this new revelation in her life she pushes him away. When her mother goes missing she ends up going to the land of Tir na n'Og to find her. While there, she discovers more than just the ancient people which she descends from but she also discovers more secrets about her life.
I LOVE FAERIES! No not gay men, but actual Fae people. Stories about the Fae are one of my favorite supernatural elements to read about. Being the first novel for author Laura Howard I was blown away by this story. The characters were interesting and had great chemistry, the plot was well written and thought out, and the attraction between Alison and Ethan had me impatient to see more between them. I felt bad for Alison's character having to carry the burden of feeling like what happened to her mother was her fault. She wants to be able to take care of her because her grandparents have done so much for both of them and I understood where she was coming from in that respect. Sometimes I felt like she would cast herself as a martyr using that as an excuse to push away the very charming and sexy Ethan. I was really happy to see some lucid interaction between Alison and her mother once she finds her in the Fae world. They have a very sweet moment together when she finds out her mom was actually mentally there throughout her life but wasn't able to communicate anything.
Ethan! We don't get to see him much in this book but what you do see from him is just enough to make you fall for him. You could really tell he was genuinely interested in Alison and my heart broke for him countless times when she would turn down his advances. He had been into her for a long time also but she could be aloof and he didn't know what to do besides bide his time and keep trying. By the time she figures out she wants to be with him he is already knee deep in shit lost in her world after being kidnapped. I was literally freaking out the whole time because he was being held captive naked by a group of Fae women. And apparently once you go Danaan you never go back. Like literally, once you have sex with one you lose your fucking mind when you return to the real world which is what happened to Alison's mother.
I found myself enthralled by some of the supporting characters, with the main one being Aodhen who ends up being her guardian while in Tir na' n'Og. He was feared amongst the Danaan because he was this bad ass vigilante type who tracked rogue Danaan's who killed humans. A part of me was hoping for Alison and Aodhen to hook up because I felt like there was some chemistry between them even if he was into someone else and she was into Ethan. I also loved her dad's character Liam and I hope in the next installment we see more from him and her mother. The main thing I loved was how Laura covered all the basic angles of the Faerie world such as the time difference between that world and reality. Not eating the food, Not looking them in the eyes for too long and the general consensus of not staying long enough in that realm to become attached to one of them. You could really tell she read up on the subject and made sure to cover all angles.
Overall this was a very cool take on Faeries that I enjoyed. There was so much going on between all the characters and both realms to keep you excited for more of the story. I would have liked to see a bit more romance between Ethan and Alison but for this to be the first book in a series it succeeded in holding my attention for the followup stories. And there will be followup stories as evidenced by the cliffhanger ending! With it being labeled New Adult I would recommend it to anyone who reads strictly YA because the story didn't have a whole lot of graphic language or sex. Other than the age of the characters I honestly can't see why it's labeled New Adult, not that it's a bad thing. I think this will appeal to readers of both genres and anyone who appreciates a good supernatural story about The Fae as much as I do.
“If you don’t have a good time, fine. But, I’ve been trying to get you to give me a chance for years. Don’t act like you didn’t know.” Loc. 573
I swallowed the truth, wondering if the fact that my life had just turned into a Disney movie would be considered all right. Loc. 978
“It has been like being stuck in a room while I watched your life unfold on a television. All of this time I’ve been trapped in my own mind, screaming, but nobody could hear me.” Loc. 1983
“Allison?” His voice was soft and serious, sounding warning bells in my mind.
“Mm-hmm?” I was afraid to look at him, afraid of the way he said my name, so I kept looking at the sky.
“I want to know why you never date,” he said.
I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t come up with an appropriate answer so I closed it.
“You could have anyone you wanted. Why is it you’re always alone?” I could feel his eyes on me as I stared into the star-studded night.
“Anyone I wanted? That’s a little excessive.”
“Come on, I’m being serious.”
I sighed, trying to think of the right response, one he would understand. “I guess I’m just always busy.”
He chuckled. “Everyone is busy. You have to give me a better reason than that.”
My mouth felt like cotton. Why did I have such a hard time forming coherent sentences when he was looking at me like that? I licked my lips and looked over at him. He stared directly into my eyes, the question still hanging between us.
“I want to take care of my mother. It’s all I want. So, I need to make that happen.” I curled my fingers into fists and pulled my shoulders back, looking back up at the stars. I’d had this conversation countless times with Nicole over the years.
“I know you do,” he said softly. I glanced back at him, surprised he wasn’t telling me that what I wanted was ridiculous. “But...who will take care of you?”
“I will take care of me.” I shook my head sadly. “My whole life everyone has had to take care of me. My grandparents, my aunt and uncle. They all sacrificed so much for me.”
“You act like it’s your fault, but it’s not.”
Now I was back in familiar territory. “My mother was normal before I was born, Ethan. When I came along she began her descent into schizophrenia. You don’t think that’s connected?”
He shifted in his seat. “I just know sometimes things happen, things that can’t be explained. But you still deserve to be happy.”
I glanced over at him before looking down at my hands. I uncurled my fingers. “I am happy. I’m enrolling in grad school, working and saving the money I make at the store. It’s what I want.”
“But what about friends? What about fun?”
“My idea of fun is just different from yours, I guess. I don’t need to be with a lot of people to be happy.” I hoped he would pick up the double entendre of my answer.
Ethan sighed and turned his body to face mine. He reached up and lightly traced a finger down my cheek. A shiver ran through my body. I turned my face away and focused my attention on finishing my ice cream. There were people everywhere. I didn’t want anything that happened between me and Ethan to be the subject of town gossip.
“Thanks for coming tonight,” Ethan said, unaffected. He reached down and picked up my left hand, interlacing his strong fingers with mine. “It seems like I’ve been trying to get you to go out with me forever.”
I stared down at our joined hands, too shocked to move. “Ethan, you’ve never had a lack of dates. I’d even say you’ve had more than your fair share.”
He ducked his head and laughed. “You think I’m a jerk, don’t you?”
I looked at him and smiled. “No. I don’t, actually. What you did today, for my grandparents… that was really great. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. It was no big deal.” He squeezed my hand and jumped down from the tailgate. “I’m going to take you home now, while you still think I’m so great.”
Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.