Book Review: A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy (Tales of the Forest Books 1-3) by Blaine D. Arden

Kelnaht, a truth seeker, is the elf called upon to solve the case whenever anything goes wrong within the tribe. In one, he must find the killer of an old friend. In another, he must track down a missing stripling and find the kidnapper before they can bring harm to anyone else. In the last, he must figure out what is causing all the children of the tribe to get sick with a deadly illness and figure out how to fix it. And throughout all of this, he'll have to balance his relationship with Taruif, the shunned forester who no one is allowed to speak to but who might soon get his freedom, and Ianys, his first love whose deceased wife made him choose between their daughter and Kelnaht with a promise that cannot be broken. The three men will have to overcome many obstacles if they're going to make their relationship work.

Book Review: A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy (Tales of the Forest Books 1-3) by Blaine D. Arden | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, high fantasy, lgbt, elves
Title: A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy
Book Number: Book 1-3 of TBA
Pages: 289
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free ecopy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

First things first, this book is a collection of three different stories, all of which revolve around the same main characters, compiled together into a total of roughly 300 pages. Although each book is available separately, they are also available combined, and that’s what this review is for. Now that that has been cleared up…

Wow, the world-building in this book was incredible! Until recently (at the time of this review), I was mostly a fan of urban and not that big on high fantasy, but had I not already been becoming a high fantasy fan, I think this book would’ve done it. The world was so intricate and detailed, and it was those details that truly made the book what it was. All the characters were elves and they all had different talents/jobs (e.g. the protag was a “truth seeker” which was similar to a detective/cop but with magic and a different legal system) as well as different types (e.g. the protag was also a cloud elf and had wings), they used different vocabulary (e.g. instead of ‘teen’ they used ‘stripling’), they had different ways of doing things (e.g. a special ceremony each year for finding romantic partners), etc. Everything—the society structure, the clothing, the medicinal products, the magic, the character appearances—was taken into account and was all so vivid. And the way it was written, simple yet eloquent with the perfect style and word choices, worked so well. Even I, someone who hasn’t had that much experience with these kinds of worlds, only struggled for about the first 6% and then managed to grasp the rest easily and just sink right in. But even in that first 6%, I was still enthralled already. And with each story, I only got more immersed as I learned more and more about how their world and society and culture worked. So I absolutely loved that aspect of the book.

I also found all the mysteries interesting. I was completely intrigued and invested in each one, and they all felt like they were solved and dealt with in a super realistic way, at least in terms of what was realistic in the world of the book. There were clues, searches, interrogations, etc. There was some magic used, but not in a way that felt like cheating.

The characters and relationship dynamics were good too. Honestly I was confused by the blurb, so I’m just going to explain it really quickly. Kelnaht used to be in a relationship with Ianys and is still in love with him, and he also harbors hidden desires for Taruif, but Taruif is not allowed to communicate with anyone because that’s his punishment for something he did 20 turns (years?) ago. But then Kelnaht finds out that Ianys and Taruif are having a secret relationship. So poor Kelnaht had old wounds reopened and rubbed raw in the beginning, and I loved getting to see the tension and pain between him and Ianys. My only complaint is that the tension didn’t last long at all because the three men settled into their menage rather quickly and easily and there was a case of instalove between Kelnaht and Taruif. However, even once they did all get together, they still had outside obstacles to overcome, like Taruif’s punishment putting the other two at risk and a situation involving Ianys possibly losing custody of his daughter. And even though I tend to like seeing more conflict within relationships in books, I also like seeing healthy relationships and being able to say awwwwww sometimes, and their sweet, sexy, supportive relationship did tick off both those boxes.

So overall I truly enjoyed this book and was completely sucked in by the detailed elf society and the intriguing mysteries, and it made me happy to see the characters overcoming their obstacles and having such a sweet relationship!


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  1. Lampshade Reader

    What an interesting concept! I agree, the blurb is a little confusing, thanks for clearing it up 😀 I haven’t read these books but I do love fantasy worlds. ~Aleen

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, I was totally lost with the blurb before I read it. I was imagining some completely different story, but I liked what it turned out to be 🙂 And fantasy worlds are so much fun to read about!

  2. AngelErin

    I’m glad you found some high fantasy that you liked! The elf society does sound intriguing. I don’t know if this one will be for me though, but love your review and that you found something new to enjoy!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I just got more high fantasy review copies this week, so I’m totally going for this high fantasy thing, haha. I can understand that this wouldn’t be for everyone, but I really liked it! Thanks!

  3. Lola

    I love how you describe the world building in this book. I love it when an author can describe a world so well and bring it alive with it’s own customs and such. The magic system also sounds interesting. I used to read a lot of high fantasy, but don’t pick it up as often anymore. I think I read too much of it a few years ago and then tried out other genres. I never really got back to high fantasy, but still remember the books I read in that genre fondly.

    I was a bit confused by the blurb indeed, so i am glad you clarified that. While conflict in a romance can be interesting there’s also something to be said for a romance that does go a bit easier and where they have outside conflict instead.

    I like it when authors combine shorter stories in a set like this one as well.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I know you’re a fan of world-building, and I’m totally starting to get it lol.

      I’m glad I included that description since apparently I was not the only confused by the blurb. And yeah, I think it’s just a matter of preference, but relationships can still be swoony and nice to read about when the conflict comes from the outside 🙂

      I actually prefer longer stories, if only because I’d rather have a whole longer series to read instead of one book when I enjoy something, but I’ll read any sort of format if it sounds good enough! And it worked in this one.

  4. roro

    I’ve not read gay triad relationship before only M-M relationships. Thanks for clearing up what the book’s about. The synopsis is so confusing. Why didn’t the publisher change it. I love world building in fantasy but i hate overly dense ones. I like a balance between both. It is cool that the elves have different profession in their society. I’m picking a paperback copy soon. Lovely review, Kristen

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve actually read a few because I like seeing the different relationship dynamics, as opposed to just M-M. But yeah, I’m glad I included a little description since apparently I wasn’t the only one confused by the blurb. I think the book is self-published, so the author might’ve just written it, and I suppose blurb writing can be difficult. And I agree, I’ve really started to appreciate good world building, but I still wouldn’t want it to be *too* much. I thought this was well done though. Thanks!

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This book sounds absolutely amazing. I love that it’s a collection of shorter stories and mysteries and it’s high fantasy. I basically love the sound of this and I want to read. You are successfully convincing me to read books I never would have considered before.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, yay for making you interested in new books! I really did enjoy this one. I wasn’t expecting the mystery aspect, but I ended up being totally hooked by them and wanting to know whodunnit and how they would fix it. And high fantasy + mystery turned out to be a really cool mix!

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    You know I’m not a high fantasy reader. BUT you have me curious about this one. I typically prefer a character-driven story but I like detailed world building so while these stories seem to be driven more by plot (which is totally cool when there’s a mystery to solve) I like that the author has created such a intricate world. And yet, the story and the characters don’t seem to have gotten lost in the world building. Plus, I’m very curious as to how this society views same-sex relationships – whether there is discrimination that goes on or if in Ianys’ case, his wife just took issue with it. All of this is to say that I’m intrigued, Kristen. LOL And I’ve added it to my tbr.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You should totally become a high fantasy reader like me 😉 It’s not like the characters were neglected in this or anything, but yeah, the mystery was mostly what was driving the story. I was never a high fantasy fan either because most of it seems very un-character-focused and broad-scoped and distant. But this wasn’t like that, so I thought it was good for people who want high fantasy but also not too broad a scope. But actually it wasn’t the fact that they were same sex that Ianys’s wife had an issue with. Same-sex and menage relationships were just a norm in this world 🙂