The curse that haunted Lakesedge Estate has been broken, but at great cost. Violeta Graceling has sacrificed herself to end the Corruption. To escape death, Leta makes a desperate bargain with the Lord Under, one that sees her living at his side in the land of the dead.
But this world of souls and mist hides many secrets. And when Leta realizes she is still connected to Rowan by a tethering spell, she will risk everything— even her soul— to try and reach him.
Torn between power and love, life and death, Leta struggles to keep hold of her humanity as she falls further and further under the spell of the world Below… and the Lord Under.
Lyndall Clipstone writes about monsters and the girls who like to kiss them. A former youth librarian who grew up running wild in the Barossa Ranges of South Australia, she currently lives in Adelaide, where she tends her own indoor secret garden.
If you wanted a dark, autumnal fantasy steeped in rich lore - with undertones of dark cottagecore - and don’t mind the elements of plot or character development taking a back seat then this is the book for you. This is written in present tense and the style of writing is so intensely lyrical and evocative. It basically reads like a ballad or an extended poem but with an underlying plot. The author has definitely left no stone unturned when it comes to describing setting. But having said that, I did have my issues with this though. Mainly, it was that, at times, tended to get repetitive; the same events occur and reoccur and the same descriptions are made which could feel a little tedious in spite of its beauty.
The writing in this also felt stilted at times, and I honestly think that this book would have benefitted from having more variation in the sentence structure or, alternatively, being cut down and sold as an extended poem of sorts? But I do appreciate that the market for that these days isn’t as lucrative as what the market is for ya. For a large part of the first half, we saw Rowan and Leta have fleeting rendezvous’ through some form of a dark spell for at least about 4 different times. The same adjectives are used, the same setting is described. It just made the entire thing progress at a glacial pace, although, upon reflection I genuinely think that there wasn’t that much plot underlying this book anyway and so making this faster would’ve essentially turned this into a novella. What I do think the author should’ve done to address this was to combine lakesedge and Forestfall into one novel and cut out the repetitive and irrelevant facets of the plot - which would’ve definitely made it more intriguing overall, and would’ve had a solid plot foundation for an incredible standalone. The need to split this off into two books wholly confounded me as it was entirely unnecessary.
There was no basis whatsoever behind Violeta’s “loves”. She out of the blue professes her undying love for a man, or should i say creature, who she seemingly mistrusted two seconds ago - and now she supposedly has feelings for him?? At the same time, she also harbours strong feelings towards Rowan whom she has absolutely zilch chemistry with. The characters literally do not show any sort of mutual adoration other than random kissing scenes sprung out of nowhere that are almost always preceded by the lines “I pull her closer. Bend to her” or “He pulls me closer. Bends to me.” Like seriously, you read those lines at least 15 separate times throughout the book🙄 There’s also a lot of telling but no showing with regards to the romance AND the plot/characters in genersl. You’re told what to see, feel or think in unbearable detail but the things that the author implores us to believe are just never demonstrated to us. It becomes apparent that the author’s main strength lies behind creating a strong sense of atmosphere enhanced by lyrical prose. Anything other than that such as plot or character development/characterisation just left the building as soon as the author sat down to write😅
Also, for a novel that had so many potential avenues to explore, it felt like a cop-out to centre it almost entirely on a paltry love triangle of the blandest variety. …what on earth is it about ya authors and their obsessions with writing about centuries-old, powerful beings being felled at the hands of an indecisive teenage girl😅
Forestfall picks up where Lakesedge left off. Violeta sacrificed herself to break the curse that plagued Lakesedge and saved her loved ones. Now Below with the Lord Under, Leta realizes she is still tethered to Rowan, who desperately looks for a way to rescue her. The story is told from Leta and Rowan’s points of view, which I really liked. It’s interesting to see what’s happening from both of their perspectives, especially considering they spend much of their time in different worlds.
The world-building throughout the story is exceptional. Rich and vivid and atmospheric, the setting and plot include many Gothic elements, which add to the dark and ominous tone. I was so easily immersed into this unique and dangerous world where enemies and threats lurk around every corner. I also liked that the story takes the characters to new settings, from Below to the place where Leta’s story with Lord Under began. Each setting is unique and richly defined and adds to the overall dark and mysterious feel of the story.
The plot is suspenseful and intriguing, and I love the addition of new characters and supernatural beings. Leta, Rowan, and the rest of the characters learn so much about the Lord Under, his world Below, and the beings who inhabit it. Leta meets many others who have nefarious intentions, and between the dangerous landscape and the villainous beings she encounters, she can never let her guard down. Plus, the Lord Under is a walking jumble of contradictions. Does he love her? Is he using her? Leta never really knows where she stands with this morally grey lord.
Leta struggles with her conflicting feelings throughout the story, especially when it comes to two particular males. She definitely has a type – the monster boy, and she’s not the only one. There’s a bit of a love triangle, which was hinted at in the first book, and though I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, I liked this one! I understood Leta’s confusion and fears. The author explored Leta’s conflicting feelings, confusion, and concern well, though there is one love interest I rooted for from the start.
Rowan also goes through tremendous struggles over the course of the story as he fights to keep the darkness at bay while searching for a way to get Leta back. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Leta, and he is unwavering in his devotion to her. They have such a lovely romance, and Rowan’s depth of feelings is reflected in everything he does. I so hoped that this pair would find a way back to each other and that Leta would also reunite with her beloved brother.
The found family aspect of the story is fantastic too, and it’s easy to see how much Leta, Rowan, and the rest of the group care for each other. They love and support each other through all of the conflict and danger, and they often put themselves in harm’s way to protect those they love. And there’s another love story within this group that is so sweet! I’m a big fan of the found family trope, and Clipstone does it well.
This is a captivating conclusion to the duology, and if you liked the first book, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. It’s dark, atmospheric, and immersive, and the character arcs and world-building are layered and intriguing. Special thanks to TBR & Beyond Book Tours for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Fierce Reads for my copy in exchange for an honest review and promotion. All opinions are my own.
I know I’ve definitely added The World at the Lake’s Edge duology to my favorites of all time! I’ve really been enjoying gothic books lately and this duology was perfect. The monsters, the manor, the worldbuilding! I was easily mesmerized by it all and swept away.
Top five reasons to read Lakesedge & Forestfall: 1. Very queer (including ace rep) and found family trope 2. Full of monsters that are also lovable 3. Magic that always comes with a cost (my favorite type of magic system) 4. An eerie and beautiful haunting atmosphere (perfect for an autumn read) 5. It’s a finished series now which means no waiting 🤩
⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ ‘Lyndall Clipstone writes about monsters and the girls who like to kiss them’
Forestfall by Lyndall Clipstone is a romantic, gothic tale and takes off where Lakesedge finished. I found the story addictive, haunting and atmospheric and deeply enjoyed the lush writing and the memorable characters. Violeta’s (Leta’s) and Rowan’s fate is exposed in this sequel.
There’s an aura of blood, evil and horror as this book delves more into the dark underworld than in the World Above. Leta faces more monsters in the World Below and I was spellbound with her complex relationship with the charming Lord Under. The story revolves around her attempt to return to the World Above and back to Rowan.
Rowan is desperate to bring Leah back home and in this book he comes in as a second narrator.
Themes of a unique love triangle troupe amongst a forest of souls, Gods, mists, moths and dresses made of spider silk. A beautiful sequel to an enchanting duology.
Publication Date 31 August 2021 Publisher Pan MacMillan Australia
Thank you so much Pan Macmillan Australia for the advanced copy.
After reading the first book of the series, I was highly anticipating the second one. Bookfam… It was so disappointing…
First of all, there is no significant plot until the last 20% of the book. Everything between the start of the book and just before the ending, could have been one single chapter. There was a totally unnecessary back and forth that added absolutely no value to the story and didn’t provide any background information either. I convinced myself not to DNF it at least 10 times.
Furthermore, the main character was just unbelievable, in an irritating way, and was driving me crazy from the early start. The actions and internal dialogues were all trying to support the notion of the female-hero-sacrificing-everything, but only came across as juvenile, risking everything without reason and I-want-everything-although-it-was-my-decision-to-sacrifice-all. Nothing related to the strong character we see in the first book.
The Lord’s Under world and it’s magic system so poorly delivered to the reader that it felt as something the author come up with last minute to move on with the story.
Thank you to dear Lyndall for sending me an early copy of her manuscript in exchange for a bookseller blurb!
I loved Lakesedge and connected with Lyndall on Instagram after I read the arc and I was so excited to read Forestfall that I’m so grateful for the opportunity. Truly, words cannot describe the depths of my gratitude and overall excitement. While I read this back in January, I wanted to wait to post my review until digital ARCs had gone out.
As a warning, this review will contain spoilers for the previous novel, Lakesedge, but it’s spoiler-free for Forestfall.
Forestfall picks up where Lakesedge left off: with Violeta Graceling in the World Below at the Lord Under’s side in exchange for fixing the corruption and saving the ones she loved above, leaving love interest Rowan Sylvanan and her brother Arien Graceling behind at Lakesedge Estate.
Above, they believe she’s dead, but after Rowan realizes they are still connected with the tethering spell, he becomes desperate to get her back, no matter if it means accepting and growing the corruption inside him that made him a monster once again.
And Below, Leta struggles to come to terms with the consequences of her deal, and her connection to the Lord Under, and what her life (or undeath) will be in the World Below as Lord Under hides her away in a cottage he created behind walls of brambles from what else may lurk in the gloom.
Forestfall trades one exceptionally moody and wonderfully atmospheric setting for another: Lakesedge’s gothic estate setting replaced by a fantastical wooded realm of the dead, with blood red heartwood trees, walls of brambles with wicked sharp thorns, pervasive silver mist, huddled souls gently carried in the arms of their death god, glowing moth lights, and dresses of cobwebs and moth wings.
Unlike Lakesedge, which was solidly from Leta’s point of view, Forestfall switches between our two equally morose and messy protagonists: Leta and Rowan. Both of them are incredibly flawed, desperate, and raw. Separately, we see both of them at work trying to reunite, however they can, with whatever power is at their fingertips. I appreciated Rowan’s chapters because the book would have been incomplete without them, but I found myself far less interested in his chapters than Leta’s, and I would anxiously await her next chapter whenever I was reading his. This was more so my personal preference than anything else, and mainly due to Leta’s chapters just having a more interesting setting, because I feel like Lyndall did a good job writing both POVs and differentiating the voices of our two protagonists.
I love how the World Below was explored, from the landscape itself, to the addition of new monstrous characters (think too many eyes, deer masks, feathered wings, clawed feet, moth wing cloaks) to Leta and the Lord Under’s undeniable attraction and relationship dynamic. I am an absolute SUCKER for a good “death and the maiden” trope. From fighting the attraction, to giving in, to weaponizing it. All of it was deliciously dark and seductive, and delightful to read.
Leta’s regret and sorrow ran just as deeply as her indomitable will to survive and her resolve to seize any power in order to do so. Reading as her desolation gave way to determination was a fiercely emotional but undeniably strong journey over the course of the novel. Her scrambling to grasp (or steal) any power necessary to survive in a world not meant for a young girl alone was admirable, and something any woman can relate to.
But after Lakesedge, we all know that great magic comes with high costs. The power Leta takes in order to return to the World Above turns her less and less human, and more apart of the World Below than ever before. She’s torn in two different directions: her first love Rowan and life itself, and her feelings for Lord Under and more power than she could ever imagine in a land of the dead.
I often wondered how this book was going to end, between delighted chortles as desperate messy kisses were stolen and blood was spilled for magic and the setting continued to unnerve and astound me. But I’m pleased to say it ended in a satisfactory and fitting conclusion, albeit somewhat somber and bittersweet. Admittedly, I had hoped for something else to happen between the characters at the end, but I can’t say I was disappointed and overall highly enjoyed it and gobbled it up in a single sitting.
Lyndall Clipstone’s “World at the Lakesedge” duology is a must-read for anyone who loves messy characters, monstrous love interests, death and the maiden trope, alchemical magic, and gothic and atmospheric settings.
Forestfall was an epic conclusion to the story that started with Lakesedge, and Lyndall Clipstone is a master at gorgeously atmospheric settings, darkly lush descriptions, perfectly flawed protagonists, and monstrous love interests that are the ideal amount of both frightening and seductive.
Like Lakesedge, I felt like I really had to drag myself through it. And I know that I only read it for completion's sake - I had minimal desire to know where the story was going from the end of Lakesedge. So I admit, it's kind of my fault.
But the writing was good and there was every chance the story was going to get better. But it did not.
We follow Leta down to the World Below since her bargain with the Lord Under backfired on her and she's now essentially his prisoner and he can't understand why she's so upset about that. Rowan, back Above, is convinced she's not dead and is (uselessly) trying to work out how to get her back.
I found all the back-and-forth just exhausting, kind of similar to Lakesedge. Leta tries to escape, Rowan somehow finds like a spectre of her, they collide, Leta is found by the Lord Under and dragged back to her cottage in the forest. Meanwhile, we're meant to believe this ridiculous love triangle that appears from nowhere - it literally would have made more sense if Leta was playing this guy the whole time, but that's not what happens. And then there's the Corruption, and what he did upset the balance and then this and then that and then it all just felt a bit whatever to me. Like there was supposed to be something so high stakes about it all but I just could never feel it.
I don't see why this had to be two backs, some heavy editing and you could have had one much faster paced book. I couldn't tell you that it would have made more sense or been more compelling, but then there would have been only one book to get through, not two.
Clipstone writes beautiful sentences, but plot and character development were lacking here.
4.5 stars Since reading the dark and sumptuously detailed Lakesedge (which I absolutely loved) I’ve been super eager to get my hands on the sequel. So when Forestfall landed through my letterbox you have no idea how happy that made me and my little, gothic fairytale loving heart—so much so that I had to dive in almost immediately. And it certainly managed to live up to all my expectations as we finally get to explore the land of the dead and with it’s shadowy and mysterious master, the Lord Under.
After the sacrifice that Violeta made, the curse (and the corruption) on the Lakesedge estate is finally gone. But Leta’s bargain with the Lord Under now has her trapped in his domain—the land of the dead. And though he claims to have given her everything he promised, Leta knows that he’s not telling her everything, and she plans to remedy that.
When she discovers she’s still bound to Rowan, Leta goes to drastic lengths to reforge their connection. But her search or answers (and a way home) may just draw her even deeper in to danger—and even deadlier bargains—as she struggles to resist the allure of her new, darker powers…
It was soo good to finally return to Lyndall Clipstone’s exquisitely crafted and hauntingly atmospheric world of monsters, maidens and gods that I fell absolutely in love with last year. The Hades and Persephone vibes that were teased in Lakesedge were really ramped up in this instalment and honestly I love every second we got to spend in the land of the dead with the fiercely determined Violeta and the intoxicatingly dark (and sinfully smouldering) death god, the Lord Under.
The tension between the Lord Under and Leta was absolute perfection—he may be a monsterous god of death, but his intense, longing looks and scene stealing chemistry really had me second guessing my love for Rowan for a minute—but don’t worry he’s still my favourite monster boy.
It was also soo good to see Rowan again, and though he is separated from Leta for a good chunk of the book, we do still see them find a way to interact with one another—I won’t say how, just that the scenes really capture an intensity of emotion that tugged at my heartstrings.
We get to meet some new characters (and monsters) in the World Under in the form of Lady Fawn, Lady Owl and Lady Moth—and they we’re definitely pretty interesting if a little less dimensional than Leta, Rowan or the Lord Under. I loved the detail in the descriptions which was the perfect balance of creepy without being scary and the romance was soo well done. The pace was a little slower than I anticipated, but it definitely gave us time to absorb the exquisite details of the world building and all that deliciously unnerving, gothic goodness.
Lyndall Clipstone is a master of prose and her skill at crafting such beautifully haunting and vivid imagery has quickly made her one of my go to authors for dark, fairy-esque fantasy that I can fully immerse myself in—having loved this soo much, I know I’ll definitely be auto buying everything she writes from now on.
If you love your fantasy brimming with monsters, rich in detail and reminiscent of dark fairytales then absolutely must give this (and the first book, Lakesedge) a read.
Also, a massive thank you to Titan for the wonderful PB copy.
There are some mild Lakesedge spoilers in this review so reader beware. Although, if you haven't yet read the first book but are looking at second book reviews first, I really can't help you.
Anyway, can we just take a second to appreciate that cover? Clipstone really hit the jackpot with such gorgeous and ethereal covers. They capture the vibes of the series so well. Just truly immaculate.
Now, the review! This picks up shortly after the events of Lakesedge. Leta has given up her life to save her friends and family at the lake shore, and now she dwells with the Lord Under in the world Below. And she is not making life easy for him. She is not a girl to be caged, and really it's foolish for the Lord Under to think he can try to do just that. She thwarts him and defies his orders every chance she can, because she isn't dead like all the other souls in the forest around her, and she will do whatever it takes to get back to Rowan and Arien.
I found this book brought about an interesting shift in character arcs. Leta barely had any power in the first book, and what she did have was hardly worth using. Here, she's gotten a taste of what could be and now she is hellbent on reclaiming her power. She goes to incredible lengths to make this happen, sacrificing bits and pieces of herself along the way.
What's fun about this is that we get Rowan's POV! Rowan alone knows that Leta isn't dead through the spell mark that ties them together. He continually gets visions where Leta comes to him, and he can feel her, touch her. As such, he turns his efforts to a dangerous idea: searching for a way to get that terrible poison back inside his veins so that it might bring him closer to Leta. I really liked his POV. It was nice to see inside his head, and I found his chapters to be quite snappy.
As I hoped, we are introduced to a few new monsters slash gods in the world Below. They create an interesting development in the world-building and make things difficult for Leta. There is a huge chasm between who she can trust, should trust, and has to trust, and it was entertaining to see how she navigates every sacrifice and bargain she makes.
I think what kept me from enjoying this as much as Lakesedge is it didn't feel as grounded. It took a little too long to get going and for me to tap into what the goals of everyone were. But given how strong the atmosphere of the book is and the characters we gather our bearings with, I don't think that will bother a lot of people.
The moral of the story is that I will read whatever Lyndall Clipstone chooses to publish next.
"There are monsters, and there are monsters : There’s a boy who was cursed and a creature who rules the dead."
I adore Lakesedge, so I went into Forestfall with high expectation -- and it doesn't disappoint. Forestfall somehow has a little different vibes from Lakesedge. The first book was leaning toward gothic romance, but this second book is heavy with underworld lore vibes like Hades&Persephone or Orpheous&Eurydice (perhaps mix of both, actually). That being said, I love it as much as the first book for different reasons.
I love the dark forest aesthetic, the blood tithe and rituals and sacrifices, bargains and kisses. Clipstone's poetic writing style which I love from her debut is on point again and I love every single word. It was lush, dangerous, tricky, angsty, and beautiful story. It's a journey of dealing with grief, of self transformation, and do what you have to do for your loved ones, no matter what the cost.
The characters! Leta is as headstrong and lovely as always. Rowan's POV broke my heart just too many times, he is so sweet and sad and deserves all the very best. Lord Under? Amazing. I just love how we get more of him in this book and a glimpse of who he is. Can't say more because it will be spoilers but dang believe me you would not be able to choose between Rowan and Lord Under. Team OT3! Arien is such a sweet boy! I love him and Clover, Thea, also Florence.
In conclusion, it was a beautiful sequel! A little different vibes from first book and I love it all the same. I love this duology with my whole heart!
Prefacing my review with the fact I didn’t enjoy LakesEdge, but I was hoping ForestFall might redeem the issues I had with the debut book. Alas, I struggled to get through this book and almost DNF’d at 87%.
TLDR; Unfulfilling read that lacked substance.
Clipstone writes hauntingly lyrical lines… until it’s repeated every other chapter. The magic system for both the Above and Below seemed like a concept rather than a concrete idea. Violeta’s time in the Below and with those that inhabit it, acted as filler for the last 20% of the book. Similar to the random queer relationship that got thrown in the name of diversity and brownie points!
The character and relationship building was entirely non-existent which led to the romantic progression between Violeta and any eligible male bachelor read as baseless insta-love. Clipstone doesn’t expand on why The Lord Under formed a bond or any semblance of [romantic] interest in Violeta other than the fact they made a deal when she was a child and later, needed a vessel.
Everyone thinks Leta is dead after she sacrificed herself to purify the Corruption. That is, except for Rowan. Somehow, the magic within still connected him with Leta. In the world Below, Leta had bargained her memories of her loved ones away to stay alive. When she started seeing Rowan, desperate hope bloomed and Leta dreams of returning back to the Above to reunite with her brother and Rowan once more.
Forestfall has the atmosphere of a gothic novel. Since Leta is trapped in the world Below, she explored the eerie and gloomy forest that housed all the dead, souls sealed within the trees. Even Above, Rowan and the rest of the crew worked with magic, alchemy, and blood hoping to bring Leta back. The author did a great job in creating this dark and mysterious setting.
While Leta yearns for Rowan, she somehow is attracted to Lord Under the longer she stays Below. I wouldn’t say I’m too surprised about a tall, dark, and brooding male character deemed as a monster will fall in love with the female lead. There’s bound to be something between Leta and Lord Under, and it was interesting to discover what his motives were and why he made the bargain with Leta.
In the Above, Rowan is running himself into the ground. Initially, he was the only one who believed that Leta was alive, and his resolve to bring her home never went away. Rowan is truly devoted to Leta, wanting the best for her, and even understanding that there might be another in her heart.
While exploring this whole new place, Leta slowly gained magic that she had never thought she would possess. In her desperation to find out the truth, she made bargains and sacrifices once more. Leta is determined to go home and she would do anything to achieve that.
If you’re looking for a gothic novel, visit the dark forest of the dead in Forestfall. You will read about desperate main characters trying to find their way back to the other. An inexplicable love triangle with the lord of death. Overall, I had a fantastic time reading the duology.
"Fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars."
i remember really liking the first book in this duology, and so i had high expectations for forestfall. however, that may have been what let me down while i was reading this book.
let's start with the positives: the writing of this was beautiful and lush and the descriptors for the setting were fabulous. the pain that violeta and rowan felt as they tried to find each other made my heart ache in turn, along with the pain that violeta felt that she couldn't go home- no matter what she tried. i loved being able to explore the world below, and overall the plot was entertaining. this story almost feels like some sort of anciet folklore or faerie tale, and i highly recommend this as a fall read, because of the ✨vibes✨
however, i do have some negatives for this story as well: a lot of the time i felt confused as to how violeta and rowan kept "seeing" each other, and they were there and could touch each other but weren't actually there? i don't know, maybe it was something my 3am brain couldn't comprehend and i should reread in the future. also, when i read about them seeing each other, i believe in the same interaction in different povs, each character said not the same things? (if that makes any sense-). the magic system, which plays into violeta and rowan "seeing" each other, was also a bit difficult to understand as well. a lot of the time the plot felt repetitive, and little predictable but the parts that weren't were so fun to read.
overall, i recommend this book to anyone looking for a lush, gothic, faerie-tale-feeling story with a dash of romance and a love triangle.
if you have any feedback, positive or negative for my reviews, i would love to know it so i can improve! 🤗
This was a perfect ending to a fantastic duology. I loved Lakesedge and I was excited to read this book! This is a very unusual, strange, dark, gothic, romantasy. I love that kind of story, and this duology hit the mark perfectly.
The characters are very different, touched by magic in different ways, touched by the Lord Under and his darkness. Rowen and Violeta (Leta) are such a powerful couple. Rowan has become monstrous from the Lord Under, and Violeta’s brother has also been changed by the Lord Under.
The end of Lakesedge ends has you wanting to read this book right away, so if you’re just diving in to this story be thankful that you don’t have to wait to see what happens. The world of the Lord Under is explored in this book, and the author did a wonderful job in bringing this world to life for us. I do wish there had been a few chapters in the Lord Under’s POV, but I still loved this story anyway. I think that this is going to stay with me for quite a while. Also, Forestfall is a great book to read in the fall. I’m glad I was able to read it when I did!
Many thanks to the author for providing an advance copy to review. All opinions are my own.
Oh this was so amazing! Gothic, dark, tortured, beautiful, magical, and just so perfect. The longing and the angst between both Leta and Rowan and Leta and the Lord Under were *chef’s kiss*. There was an ache in my heart and my soul as I read and I LOVED it! It’s that feeling that your heart is literally in the grips of the narrative. I loved Leta and Rowan’s journeys and how desperately they tried to return to each other. And that neither can escape how inextricably they’re linked to the Lord Under. This is such a fantastic conclusion to the story. To quote the author herself, “blurred as a fever dream but imprinted forever on my heart.”
I loved the idea of this more than the story itself. I mean the concept is just fantastic and I’ve been hunting for a gothic romance. So disappointed because even while I was reading this , I was trying to convince myself to like it. It was missing je ne sais quoi. And Violeta was an infuriating character.
I will still read Clipstone’s next book because she “writes about monsters and the girls who like to kiss them” and that’s absolutely something I can get on board with. Here’s hoping I like her future works better.
Lyndall has once again managed to completely enchant me from beginning to end with her lush prose.
Forestfall opens up where Lakesedge left off - Leta trapped in the world below with the Lord Under after making a desperate plea to save the ones she loves the most.
The world below is just as gorgeous as Lakesedge, in such a completely different way. It’s dark, lush and filled with wild magic, luminescent mushrooms, silver winged moths and spider silk. Need I say more?
In Forestfall we get both Leta and Rowan’s perspectives which is lovely as we get a deeper insight into Rowan’s mind and thoughts. They are both perfectly imperfect. And this is why they endear me so much. Leta’s self-growth over the course of the duology was a highlight for me. She is such a fierce, loving young woman and I simply adore her.
I adored all of the side characters! They added so much vibrancy to an already spellbinding world, particularly Lady Moth, Fawn and Owl.
Forestfall is such a perfect finish to a beautiful story. I am genuinely so sad to be leaving this world and I feel a reread will happen pretty quickly! I fell for this duology, world and characters. There will always be a special place in my heart for Leta and the gang.
A heartfelt thanks to Pan MacMillan for providing me with an ARC and a gorgeous finished copy of Lakesedge!
Forestfall was a really darkly enchanting sequel. I loved spending time in The Under and seeing The Lord Under’s world. I loved the twisted bond between Leta and The Lord Under and the way Clipstone explored that and Leta’s conflicting emotions. (Is it wrong I wanted her to stay?)
I loved the blossoming sub-plots between Clover and Thea, and Arien and a certain non-spoilery someone towards the end and I’d honestly adore a spinoff series with either (or both?) of these romances.
This book did get a little repetitive at times for me and that’s really the only reason I didn’t rate it as highly as the first. It’s still a fantastic sequel with a captivating plot that I devoured in an entire day.
I’m excited to see what Lyndall Clipstone does next.
*I received an e-arc via the publisher and Netgalley for review. Thank you for the opportunity. All thoughts are my own. This review contains spoilers for book one.*
After reading Clipstone’s debut, Lakesedge I became an instant fan! Her sophomore follow up, Forestfall did not disappoint. This story was dark, atmospheric, and wickedly beautiful from start to finish.
This story picks up right where Lakesedge left off. The curse at Lakesedge Estate has been broken, but at a huge cost. Violeta “Leta” Graceling has sacrificed herself to end the Corruption. To escape death, Leta made a bargain with the Lord Under, one that sees her living in the land of the dead.
She discovers that the World Below hides many secrets, and there are dangers she never could have anticipated. Leta soon realizes that she is still connected to Rowan through a tethering spell. She decides that she will risk everything, including her very soul to reach him.
Leta finds herself torn between the World Above and the World Below, between life and death, and between power and love. She struggles to hold onto her humanity as she gets pulled further into the World Below and the spell of the Lord Under.
I loved Leta’s growth in this story. It was interesting to see just how far she would go to be with those she loves, and she does some pretty cutthroat things. We also meet some new fascinating characters that really add to the story, and Clipstone does some amazing world building with the World Below.
If you’re looking for some spooky reads, World at the Lake’s Edge duology would make the perfect choice! I loved this duology so much, and I can’t wait to see what Clipstone writes next. Sign me up!
As a gothic fantasy, I thought the book did well in setting up the atmosphere and mood. Forestfall was gritty and dark but I found myself struggling to read this book whereas Lakesedge was far easier to fly through.
A few things I noticed that hindered my reading: pacing, characterization, and just the overall motivation.
Starting with the writing, there were a lot of sentence fragments that made the story not flow. I believe the intention was to add to the intensity of the situation, but the multiple sentence fragments in a row to drive a point home was frustrating to read. For our characters, I could not tell their head voices apart, making it seem like they have the same personality. While I understood Rowan's goal was to get Leta back, and Leta to return to Rowan in the World Above, I found myself wondering why I care for their problem. Leta's newfound powers from her bargain was unexplained but by the end of the book, she was more powerful than the gods. I found this to be arrogance on her part and just couldn't root for her.
It's great that this series wrapped up with a nice little bow by the end, but it seemed a little too perfect for how dark this YA was supposed to be. No one suffered any consequences or made any sacrifices, and it felt rather unwarranted. While I strongly considered giving up on this book, by the end it overall ended up as a 3 star read for me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This is a lush gothic tale with the return of beloved characters, our complex and precious Leta and Rowan. Having the dual povs made this book feel like it was uprooted and then dragged back deeper into the ground to a world of dreams and nightmares entwined with dark blood. The Lord Under and his dark magnetic pull is back and with more monsters to meet in the sorrowful depth of the World Below. We are in a forest of crimson, mist-covered trees of the realm of the dead. I was wanting to learn more about these new monsters, but obviously grateful for more scenes of the Lord Under instead.
My heart fluttered with moths throughout this story with every push of survival and sacrifice for our beloved protagonists. We were sucked into the darkness, the moth lights guided us through each twist and turn, through the fight and surrender in the most cunning ways. This was truly a bittersweet tale.
If you love gothic tales, fascinated by alchemic magic and death, love and sacrifice, raw characters, monstrous passion that haunts you and pulls you toward dark forests, then these books are for you.
*Remember to look up trigger warnings on the author’s website.
Thank you to Macmillan for the ARC of Forestfall to review!
Okay before I get into the review here is a little shortened version of it all. • Love triangle but exciting and fresh? Check. • Coming into power but also in like a corruption kind of way? Check. • Red thread of fate trope? Check. • Monsters? Check. • Kissing those monsters? CHECK. I loved this book. I have been in a bit of a slump but I read through this almost 400-page book like it was nothing. It was captivating. I was trying to figure out what the Lord Under’s tactics were. And hoping that Leta and Rowan would find each other. And even torn apart there is romance and so many kissing scenes that it does not feel like a slog to get through for the reuniting that other books suffer from. Leta also becomes so much more powerful and becomes more self-agented which I loved. She’s confused but will do what she wants – even if they aren’t the smartest of choices. I also love how the love triangle was fully established and how it ended! I won’t say much but it was quite unique. And speaking of the ending, unlike a few YA books that just end once the conflict is done and will do an epilogue maybe, Lyndall Clipstone gives us two chapters of what happens after. How they are still dealing, how the world is doing, and how our characters and Leta and Rowan are doing in a new and average daily life. AND if you’re looking for a YA book with some YA spice then this book delivers. Especially that chapter. All I can say there’s a throne and I think BookTok would go crazy for it. And if I don’t see any art of this scene (more so the SFW part of this scene) I am going to riot or even just commission it. Because oh my god. I do rate this a 5/5 stars. Is it the most perfect book? No, I was a little confused at the beginning with some of the magic because I was only a quarter through my readthrough of Lakesedge. But it was a book that kept me hooked. One that I thought about at work. And it does have an almost perfect ending. If I doing a more critical post I would round down to a 4.75 as it does have a trope that I don’t vibe with. It does make sense in the book but also I just wish it didn’t happen. I will elaborate on this and more once the book releases and once people have a chance to read it. Either way, pick up this series! It’s short but not too short. It’s gothic and has a great romance. And Lyndall Clipstone’s writing is magical. It makes me wish I was made out of moth wings and smoke and ash.
Some oaths can never be broken… Violeta Graceling sacrificed herself to end the Corruption. She now lives in the world Below with the Lord Under and she must find a way to get back home. She is still connected to Rowan by a tether spell and will do anything and everything she can to return to him.
I was so very excited to go back to Lakesedge and everyone who resides there. I was eager to find out what actually happened to Leta when she destroyed the Corruption. The Lord Under used Leta, but she gets him back. This story is very dark and haunting. There are parts of the world Below that are so beautiful and others that make you want to hide. The story was also very interesting. I was intrigued by the others who resided in the world Below and also how they were able to change their appearance so that you were unable to see their true self. Violeta did irritate a bit though. Every time the Lord Under told he stay at her “home” and not wander into the forest, she would disobey and end up getting into some pretty serious trouble. I could see doing it once, maybe twice, but after a while you just want to slap her because she ends up getting the Lord Under in trouble. I know he wasn’t the best person, but he did end up growing on me. Leta, too. There is a lot that goes on in the second part of the book that really had me hooked. It ended on a positive note with a twist. I know this was probably only a duology, but I wouldn’t mind if the author decided to revisit Lakesedge in the future.
This rather dark fantasy du0logy continued with Forestfall and after book one which I enjoyed, I was pretty invested in this story. I don't know why in retrospect but I really didn't expect the love triangle we got, partly because I thought I knew where the female MC's allegiances were; I was wrong.
This story continued in the land of the Lord Under and I did like reading about life there, where Violetta found herself and the family of the Lord Under. I didn't like the separation between her and Rowan but we were set up for that previously.
Violetta's conflicted feelings, her actions and the fast-paced journey to resolution didn't hit the high I felt with book one but I was glad to see this duology to it's end. I found it less dark than book one, probably because the corruption lost it's fear in me as a reader.
Overall, this wasn't as strong as book one for me, but I am glad I followed it to its conclusion.