Four point five stars.
River is book #2 of The Stranger In The Woods series of magical realism tales. Set in woodlands of North Carolina, book #1 introduced us to Guardian Warrior Elves, entrusted to guard humans against evil and bring balance to the universe.
In a complex love triangle, two elves fell in love with Rose, a human, who became pregnant. She could not choose between her half-blood best friend and her soulmate, but the child she carried was surrounded by a prophecy, and blood demons wanted to kidnap her for their leader.
In book #2 baby Rain has been born. Rose and her baby are now part of the Elven community and live with them deep in the woods. Guards are assigned to protect both Rose and the baby, but will it ever be enough against the evil of the one called King? This powerful entity of the underworld is able to manipulate time and slip beings into alternate universes. No one knows the lengths he will go to, to have Rose by his side.
This is an emotion filled book. Adams knows how to write characters that grasp you and tie you to their story. It is written in alternating chapters from points of view of Rose and Ryder. There are multiple layers of themes within the story: the Elvish ways, spirituality, the good versus evil and sexual relationships. But they are written in such a way that they also reflect deep human needs, emotions and teachings that have got lost into today’s speeding world of consumerism. However, the book isn’t slowed down by the emotional depth, or lost on a spiritual path. Adams uses plenty of light-hearted banter to lift the mood and show us the camaraderie of the Elves.
A good second book to a series, but I would recommend reading book #1 (Rain) first to get the most from this fantasy series.
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He wipes blood from his mouth with his bare arms. “I need you to hold still so I don’t feel the need to chase and conquer. Do you understand?”
I feel his breath on my skin. “My chances if I run?”
I had wondered if I would be strong enough to love Ryder, my stranger from the woods. I learned that I was—still am. But now Ryder, Gunner and I have a young together, Rain, the Princess go the Guardian Warriors. And a very powerful being, King of the Shadow Clones, wants her dead. The only time I ever saw King was in the dream where forced a kiss on me, sending me into labor. Yes, I learned I was strong enough to love Ryder, but with a new stranger in the woods, will he be strong enough to love me?
India is either hiding away and writing in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, in a studio writing and recording songs for the Forever series, in yoga trying to find her Zen (that keeps escaping her), walking down an old dirt road (no joke), outdoors with her dogs and family (because to live without the sun is a crime), in a coffee shop talking books, or floating in a lake (when the weather permits). She thinks reading books is the answer to all problems (and having a glass of red wine is a fabulous second solution). She loves to chat with readers because she says they are brilliant and most passionate.