THE JASPER FOREST is the second book in the Guardian Cycle, a sweeping fantasy epic from one of the best new storytellers in the genre.
Exiled from Vadanis, the homeland he risked his life to save, Terrel finds himself adrift on the ocean. Delirious with hunger and exhaustion, he is on the point of giving up when he realises that he has found land. Rescued from the perilous waters by two fishermen, Terrel is nursed back to health. His situation seems desperate, but at least he is not alone. The ghosts of his friends - both dead and alive - are still with him.
For the time being, events on Vadanis are beyond his control. His new home, however, faces difficulties of its own, and Terrel may be in a unique position to overcome them. Leaving behind the villagers, he embarks on a remarkable quest to discover the truth - about the world and himself. For in Terrel's past is the key to his destiny.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My first thought is that I wish they'd stop making the backs of these books sound so very cheesy.My second thought is that its hard to describe epic fantasy adventures in many ways that don't sound cheesy.Either way, with this series of books, I find that often the description on the back cover doesn't do the story justice. Despite sounding like the most unoriginal piece of clap-trap the world has ever seen, Julia Gray really does have a flair for pulling people into a story in such a way that you can read 100 pages and not even notice the passage of time.The most difficult part of this book to get past was that it seemed, up to the later stages of the story, like Terrel was constantly getting trapped in inconsequential situations. He ends up in Fenduca... and it trapped there for a while, albeit partially because he had to recover his health. He gets to the clouded valley... and isn't allowed to leave until he lifts a curse. He travels to meet the sharaken... and they hold him prisoner for a little while. And while all of these events were important, it did get a little tedious. I can't say I was surprised when Terrel got to Talazoria and ended up in prison for a month.Also, the section in the clouded valley was a part of this book I'm a bit iffy on. Prophecies about Terrel seem to be springing up left, right, and centre, and that's somewhat to be expected in a world where moon-lore and dreams and prophecy are taken very seriously, but it seemed that the clouded valley bit could have been shorter. He had to stay there long enough to see the creatures in the darkness, sure, and an easy way to do that would be to have a prophecy about his arrival and a curse affecting the local women (due to the elemental in Talazoria, of course), but as interesting as it was to read, it felt like it was longer than necessary.These are not books to go into if you're big on action scenes. Like a lot of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, the Guardian Cycle spends most of the book building up to one big event at the end, which is big in scale but often short in pages. There's a lot of talking, speculation, character interaction, but not much fighting or huge exciting events that make your heart pound.That isn't to say the book wasn't well-written or enjoyable. A bit cheesy in times, but the story drew me in and I didn't want it to let me go. I think I'll always have a soft spot for this series, and although I'm more critical of it than when I first read it, that doesn't mean I'm enjoying it any less.