Servants of the Living Forest by Brandon L. Summers

Servants of the Living Forest by Brandon L. Summers
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (48 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Cameron and Jocelyn have been together for eight months, and when Jocelyn suggests a camping trip as their first big outing together Cameron can’t bring herself to say no. Camping isn’t her first choice, but there’s nothing she likes more than seeing Jocelyn happy—and the time alone together isn’t bad either.

When they arrive, all seems better than they could have hoped. The locals are friendly, the area is beautiful, the only odd bits are old blood stains on the floor of the cabin and the strange mark that seems to pop up everywhere, and that’s easily ignored in favor of their romantic escape…

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. This one doesn’t quite fit the bill.

The character development in this tale was well done. I could clearly picture what both Cameron and Jocelyn were like as individuals, especially as the pacing sped up and their personalities began to strongly influence the choices they made. It was even more interesting to see how their flaws were woven into the narrative as the author clearly seemed to spend a lot of time showing the audience who these characters were as human beings.

It would have been helpful to have a more detailed explanation of what was going on in the woods. Everything was covered so hastily that I didn’t completely understand what was happening. There were a few plot holes that I was never able to fill in at all because they were addressed so quickly. I wanted to give this story a much higher rating because the premise was was interesting. Had I better understood these sections, I would have felt comfortable doing so.

There’s something a little spooky about vacationing in the middle of nowhere. Forests are full of all kinds of odd noises that one doesn’t usually come across in cities or suburbs, so I was glad to see so much attention paid to the sights and sounds of the woodland that Cameron and Jocelyn visited. The vivid descriptions of the hunting cabin and surrounding area made me feel like I was walking alongside these characters once they’d arrived at their destination.

I’d recommend Servants of the Living Forest to new fans of science fiction or modern fantasy. This is a good introduction to those genres.

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