Greenheart of the Forest by Lizbeth Klein (Wombat Books)
PB RRP $17.95
Reviewed by Peta Biggin
Robbie, Dougray and Belle continue their quest to drive Morgran’s untaming from Bethloria. Facing carnivorous sunflowers, unstoppable black wolves and giant centipedes, they seek the city of healers for respite and rest. However, as Dougray and Robbie discover that their parents may still be alive, they also learn a dark truth about the city of healers. Their flight underground sends them even deeper into adventure and danger as they search for the Greenheart of the Forest.
Greenheart of the Forest is the next instalment in the Bethloria fantasy series and follows the continuing quest of the three heroes: Robbie, Dougray and Belle. A fast paced and exciting story it is a great sequel to the first book: Firelight of Heaven.
As with the first book there are battles and dangers throughout this story. However, in addition, there is a developing complexity in the plot as the boys learn that their parents may not be dead as they had always believed. We also get to see the continuing development of each character – the two boys in particular. As the story is brought to us through both boys’ points of view, we get to enjoy the inner thoughts of each and the way circumstances effect and develop them. Belle remains a little more enigmatic but her presence is by no means a simple plot device. She is strong and resilient; a source of strength and pragmatism when the boys need it.
The world of Bethloria is diverse and dark in this early stage of the series. There is a great variety in the locations in which the trio find themselves: a gardened sanctuary, an abandoned underground city and a walled town filled with plague-infested peasants to name a few. The environment is not a mere backdrop though; it is a necessary part of the story and used to great effect to convey mood and atmosphere.
Overall, I really enjoyed Greenheart of the Forest and found it to be a great follow-on from the first book. It has action, mystery and even a hint of romance. It will appeal to any fantasy-lovers both young and old.
Lizbeth Klein has over nineteen years’ experience in the classroom and has written several stories for the Yellow Box – a reading kit for early primary readers. Greenheart of the Forest is the second book it the Bethloria series, following on from Firelight of Heaven. She lives in the Sutherland Shire, NSW, with her husband. She can be found online at: http://bethloria.com.au/index.html