Review: Desperate Forest by Cece Louise

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*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Desperate Forest follows Roselynn, the Princess of the Kingdom of Tover, on a quest to escape her murderous uncle through an ominous forest — with the help of some unexpected friends. Engaged to Darius, the new King of the Kingdom of Marcsnovia, Roselynn’s life seemed perfect — that is, until her uncle murdered her father with the intent to kill her too.

Roselynn escapes Tover with the intent of reaching Darius in Marcsnovia, hoping he can offer her help in reclaiming her own kingdom. After a few short days on the run, she is captured in the forest by Jay, the cute, rugged and mysterious guy venturing to Galesmore with a group of other travelers fleeing the oppressive rule of Roselynn’s uncle, Abrax. 

Jay takes her back to the group he’s traveling with, where she meets an eclectic cast of characters. Gavin, the leader of the group, forces Roselynn to travel with them, claiming that going to Marcsnovia on her own was way too dangerous. Roselynn had no idea how to deal with the things that lurked in the forest.

Instead, he offers to accompany her on his own once he helps the group reach safety in the neighboring kingdom. Roselynn tries her best to blend in with everyone else and contribute, but life in the forest is much different from the life of a princess. And it feels like Roselynn doesn’t belong anywhere anymore.

To make things more complicated, Roselynn is enjoying spending more time with Jay, making her question her engagement to Darius. She doesn’t know what she wants as she debates whether to embrace her lifelong duty or to follow her heart.

Desperate Forest is a fun and easy to read high fantasy book. The reader will quickly be eager to learn more about the characters and their motivations. We especially enjoyed the portions of the story that included Jay. His back story served as an unexpected plot twist. We also enjoyed his slow burn romance with Roselynn and found ourselves rooting for him early on. He had great banter with Roselynn and we could sense their chemistry from their first encounter.

Now, lets talk more about the romance. Roselynn questions her future when chemistry builds between her and Jay. As the two grow closer during the journey, Roselynn can’t help but to think there is more to Jay’s story than he lets on.

Determined to free her beloved kingdom from her uncle, she will do anything she can to make it to her fiancé Darius. Roselynn is torn when her head and her heart begin pulling her in two different directions. The romance was slow-burn, which we appreciated, since she was engaged. However. Darius isn’t exactly a great guy, making Jay the obvious choice.

Our only real complaint was the lack of world building. The kingdoms aren’t explained in a lot of detail. For example, we wondered how big the kingdoms were, how many people live in them and how are the borders drawn? It seemed like the world had real-life references to World War II and classic books, so where exactly does this world fit relative to ours?

Also, the pace of story felt a bit off. It felt like the author would reveal things about the characters rather quickly, without the story naturally developing.

Roselynn was also handed a large portion of critical information in the book, which felt almost too easy. The backstories of the side characters had potential, but they were also rushed for the purposes of pushing the story along. The characters were great — we just wish Louise would’ve spent more time telling us more about them. 

All and all, we were pleased that Roselynn received her much-deserved happy ending. We hate it when YA fantasy or dystonia ends in a sad or cringe worthy way like Divergent did. Desperate Forest was a solid book from a debut author and we can’t wait to read Louise’s future books.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

8 thoughts on “Review: Desperate Forest by Cece Louise”

  1. This is an incredible, and I think it’s so awesome that you are reviewing up and coming authors! Go Imallbookedup!


  2. This is a very fun review! It tells me enough to make me want to read it but doesn’t tell me so much that I feel like I know the whole plot. I’ll definitely check this book out!


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