Review: The Forbidden Realms by H. C. Newell

Posted 06/10/2023 by Charli in Blog Tours, Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Cover for The Forbidden Realms

Review: The Forbidden Realms by H. C. Newell

Our review for today is for H. C. Newell’s The Forbidden Realms. This is book 2 in the Fallen Light series. The front matter of the book actually says this book is to be read after book 1, Curse of the Fallen.

I received this book for free from Escapist Book Co. to facilitate my review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may contain material that is disturbing to some readers. Please Google for trigger warnings as I cannot possibly find/relay every trigger warning. Thank you!
Review: The Forbidden Realms by H. C. NewellThe Forbidden Realms by H C Newell
Series: Fallen Light #2
Published by Self-Published on 07/31/2022
Genres: Grimdark, Dark Fantasy
Pages: 465
Format: Paperback
Source: Escapist Book Co.
Amazon US // Author Direct

Book II of the Fallen Light series.

Nerana is a sorceress. An exile. The Child of Skye. 
And she isn’t alone. 

After a vicious attack against the Order of Saro, Nerana finds herself lost in the wastelands of Aragoth. Forbidden of humans or evae, the desert is a land teeming with fire and vengeance, and Nerana’s only hope for survival lies in the trust of another. 

Aélla, a powerful evaesh sorceress, travels the desert on a pilgrimage of sacrifice and strength. Determined to enter the Realm of Elements and see her quest complete, she must survive the hardened warriors of the desert, the vaxros, who banished her kind from their land centuries ago. 

But the vaxros aren’t the only threat, and the weight of such imbalance could shift the fate of the world.

Content Warning: grief, violence, death, gore, horror, monsters, racism, cliffhanger

Ok, first, you’ll need to read the trigger warnings for this book. If you have issues with grief, gore, horror, etc., then I can tell you now, this book will not be for you… if Curse of the Fallen wasn’t for you, this one won’t be either.

A quick note about Curse of the Fallen – it took me two tries to actually read it. Not because it wasn’t a good book, it was a “right book, wrong time” situation, which I knew from the beginning when I was having trouble with it. The book was good, my brain just didn’t want to focus on it. I read Curse of the Fallen and The Forbidden Realms in the span of a week, so yes, they are that good because I usually don’t read fantasy novels of any sort back-to-back. Now…

After finishing Curse of the Fallen, I jumped straight into The Forbidden Realms. As in, I put Curse of the Fallen down and picked up The Forbidden Realms and started reading. We’re still following Nerana, Neer to those of us in the know, but we’ve got some new characters joining us for this journey. What can I say – I loved the characters I was supposed to love, hated the characters I was supposed to hate (don’t get me started on The Nasir). I was a bit confused as to who Aélla was at first, but then figured it out later.

I quite enjoyed our change of scenery for this book – so many series end up with every book being set in the same place and it can get boring or get old. Not so with the Fallen Light series so far. I love this because for one, it gives us a chance to see different parts of the world in which our beloved characters live. For another, it makes it so we don’t get bored with the scenery.

I really liked the plot to this one as well. Ok, we all know that the basics of a fantasy novel plot involve one or more people going on a quest to do or find something. But it’s how that basic plot is executed that makes the difference. Trust me when I say, this book follows the basic fantasy novel plot, but does so in a spectacular way.

I want to say one more thing about a particular character – Thorne gives me Winter Soldier vibes and I kept picturing Sebastian Stan ala Captain America and the Winter Soldier… metal arm, mask, etc… Just saying.

This book was a ride from the beginning to the end. I loved it so much and I can’t wait for the third book in the series. This was a solid four star read and I can’t recommend this series enough.

About H C Newell

Author H. C. Newell

H.C. Newell is an American author of epic fantasy. She is best known for the Fallen Light fictional universe, in which her fantasy novel Curse of the Fallen, is set.

Newell began her writing journey at a young age. In elementary school, she would often write small plays for her and her cousins to perform. In middle and high school her love of writing transformed into fiction literature, which she would write in spiral-bound notebooks. By 2015, she had written more than 5 romance and young adult novels and several short stories. 

In 2014, Newell started her first novel series, Forthwind, which was a young adult trilogy. As she grew as an author, she found her niche in adult fantasy, and created the Fallen Light universe. This six-part novel series took Newell over seven years to create. She published her debut novel "Curse of the Fallen" in April 2021.

Newell's works have been compared by readers to authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Andrejz Sapkowski, and Robert Jordan among others. Newell lives in Nashville, TN with her husband.