Friday, August 30, 2013

The Forgotten Ones Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Laura Howard's The Forgotten Ones, organized by Xpresso Book Tours! I have a review for you today, plus there's a giveaway for you to enter below. Also be sure to follow the rest of the tour by checking out the tour schedule.

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard
The Forgotten Ones (The Danaan Trilogy #1)
By Laura Howard
Publication Date:
April 30, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

* A copy was provided for review for the blog tour.

Synopsis: 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.

Review: At first glance, The Forgotten Ones is a poignant story about Allison O’Malley, a young woman who’s resigned herself to a life of caring for her schizophrenic mother. There’s much more to Allison’s mother’s condition than meets the eye, though, and it involves the Tuatha de Danaan, also known as fairies. The novel is a deft mix of contemporary and Celtic folklore, with the latter element introduced in a gradual manner that smoothly bridges the two facets of the book.

Even if the novel hadn’t incorporated fantasy into it, I still would have found Allison’s story compelling. Being a caregiver for a parent was something that I could completely relate to, and I really felt for her because of everything she was sacrificing, including a potential relationship with her longtime mutual crush, Ethan. Allison is determined to put her mom before anything and anyone else, and it was sad watching her try not to grow too attached to Ethan.

Luckily for Allison, she has the support of a close-knit family. Her strong relationship with her grandparents was especially moving. They’ve been looking after both her and her mother for years, and Allison wants nothing more than to ease their load. Allison’s family life becomes even more complicated, however, when Liam, the father she’s never met, suddenly shows up, claiming that he can help her mother.

It’s at this point that the fantasy aspect picks up, and, having Irish roots on both sides of my family, I really liked how the book went with a Celtic take on fairies. Allison quickly learns that not all of the Danaan are harmless, and one jealous, vengeful Danaan in particular has had a large hand in what happened to Allison's mother, Elizabeth. We get to meet quite a few Danaans as well as travel to their realm, Tír na n’Óg, and both this world and its inhabitants are fascinating. Despite some of the fairies seeming to bear no ill will toward humans, they don’t give off the sense that they’re entirely trustworthy, either. By the sound of the novel’s open ending, it appears that Allison isn’t finished dealing with them, which made me happy in a way because I’d definitely like to revisit Tír na n’Óg.

From the outset, Allison was a very relatable protagonist, and that initial connection with her drew me into her story quickly. The fantasy element was also well done, with a fresh, Celtic twist to it. The Forgotten Ones is a reminder that, though fairies can be cunning and wreak all sorts of havoc for the humans some of them enjoy preying on, they certainly add spark to a narrative.

All in All: If you’re looking for something a little different in a fairy book, try this one. It’s neither a straightforward contemporary nor a straightforward fantasy but rather a nice combination of the two.

About Laura Howard

Author Laura Howard

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.

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  1. I love the cover! Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. Ooh I like Celtic lore & I didn't know you're part Irish, Lee! Yeah the old take on fairies is a little tired, I'm a little curious what kind of modern twist she did. I do like the fae Celts, they're a curious bunch.


    1. I definitely want to read more Celtic folklore after reading this; I find it really intriguing!

  3. I'm really curious about this Celtic take on faerie lore. It sounds really different and interesting. I haven't had the best of luck with faerie books in the past but they were also the same old lame paranormal story, too, so this sounds like it would actually stand out from the rest! I also love the contemporary touches in the plot! Glad you enjoyed it, Lee! :)

    1. Faerie books and I haven't always gotten along, either, but this one clicked with me. I liked the realistic fiction aspect of Allison's story, too; I could truly relate to a certain part of it. So together, the two sides of the novel worked really well for me.

  4. I love fae so the story-line of caregiver sounds like Allison would be a relatable heroine mixed with a world that I love learning more about. The Celtic angle would be neat to me and I'd like to know more about that. Definitely adding this one to my TBR. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

    1. The world of the fae in this book is so cool; I especially loved the Celtic twist to it. And I admired Allison for her dedication to her mother and to her family as a whole. Hope you enjoy reading this too, Jaclyn!

  5. This sounds really interesting and the Celtic twist sounds nice! The vengeful mental aspect with her mom sounds particularly interesting!

    1. The story behind what happened to Allison's mom is really sad, and Aoife is one vindictive faerie!


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