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Book Review: Wildbound (Forestborn #2) (ARC)

Expected publication August 30, 2022

Author: Elayne Audrey Becker

The thrilling follow-up to Elayne Audrey Becker’s debut YA epic fantasy, Forestborn, full of forest magic and a kingdom on the brink of war.

With the assassination of Telyan’s king, the time for peace has passed.

Determined to make up for his failure to procure the stardust, Helos finds work as a healer at Fendolyn’s Keep, the military garrison to which Telyan’s exiled royals–and half its civilians–have fled. Racing against the Fallow Throes’ ticking clock, he endeavors to repair his relationship with Prince Finley and fight off the gathering shadows in his head, as the base around him prepares for war.

Half a continent away, his sister Rora is doing everything she can to reawaken the land and end Eradain’s slaughter of magical beings. Still reeling from the revelation that Eradain’s violent monarch is her half-brother, she journeys to the kingdom determined to infiltrate his court in disguise–and finds the seeds of rebellion are already stirring.

With a magical illness running rampant and the continent arming for battle, the three realms’ long-feared destruction seems inevitable. But the two shifters they believed would bring about Alemara’s ruin may in fact hold the key to its survival.

Wildbound (#2)

After reading and loving Forestborn, I was excited to read the sequel, Wildbound, and complete the duology! The story picks up where the previous novel left off and alternates between siblings, and shifters, Rora and Helos. The two of them have been separated after their mission to find stardust in the Vale, which cures the magical disease, the Fallow Throes. Unlike the first novel, this story is told between the POVs of both Helos and Rora. While I was initially unsure how I would feel about it, I loved it by the end.

Helos is dealing with the unknown involving Finley, his love interest and a victim of the Fallow Throes. He is going through a lot internally where he doesn’t know how he fits in while trying to prove himself as a healer. All of this combined with the discovery of a secret in the previous novel, mean that Helos has a lot to deal with in this story. Helos is currently in the company of Finley’s older brother, Weslyn, and they meet up with their older sister, Violet, who has ascended the throne after the death of King Gerar of Telyan.

As for Rora, she is on her way to Eradain, which is ruled by Jol Holworth. She is on a mission to free imprisoned shifters and to help protect those she loves. For her love interest, Wes, I kept waiting for the two of them to reunite after connecting with their relationship in the first novel. The two of them continue to shine as a couple, even when they are not together on the page. Through events in the previous novel, including a secret, she has a lot of emotions to deal with in this story, too.

The relationships are amazingly well-written in this story as there are ones between shifters and non-shifters, friendships, familial relationships (Wes/Finley/Violet and Helos/Rora), and romantic ones (Rora/Wes and Finley/Helos). All of the characters worked well together and were all compelling as individuals. There is the war between Eradain and Telyan along with the Fallow Throes that are the driving forces, which allow for interesting plots that weave together with character development. While I enjoyed Helo’s growth a little more than Rora’s in this one, I still loved Rora’s part of the story. The pacing kept up nicely throughout and led to an excellent conclusion. Overall, I loved this duology and I would easily read more from this author!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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