Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review: A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy by Blaine D. Arden

triad in three actsTitle ~ A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy

Author ~ Blaine D. Arden

Publisher ~ Cayendi Press 

Published ~ 15th August 2016

Genre ~ Fantasy M/M/M Romance, Mystery





“There is always a way.”
Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and the decree of the elders prevent them from claiming each other openly at Solstice. Kelnaht can investigate murder and foul play, but he can’t see how he can keep both his lovers without breaking the rules. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.
The Forester
Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith, when a murder reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit. Kelnaht’s former lover Ianys once betrayed him, and the shunned forester Taruif is not allowed to talk to anyone but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder.
Lost and Found
A stripling goes missing from the tribe, and heavy rainfall hides all traces of his whereabouts. With days creeping by without a lead, it’s hard to keep the tribe’s spirits up, more so when Kelnaht’s own future depends on the elders. Taruif has been shunned for almost twenty turns, but now that a possible forester’s apprentice is coming of age, the elders consider reducing his sentence. Taruif could be set free.
Full Circle
When several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Ianys’ daughter Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.


Sally’s Review

I have always enjoyed books that mash up genres to make up something completely new and different – urban paranormal romances for instance where one gets the noirsh elements of private eye stories plus, oh I dunno, whatever floats your boat. The last Harry Dresden I read had a zombie dinosaur in it! Well in this trio of books there are all the trappings of high fantasy with a well realised medieval world inhabited by elves whose technology largely depends on magic, plus a series of police procedural mysteries!

I’ll not talk much about the mysteries because of spoilers. Let’s just say that they are all interesting and rooted in the manners and mores of the society in which they occur. That their resolution is based on hard work, rather than just on magical highjinks, is enormously satisfying. I also enjoyed how this society managed to carry out thorough forensic examinations, within the bounds posed by their technology.

I’ve already mentioned the world-building as enjoyable. It wasn’t overdone either. I’m a fantasy appendice reader by nature, but found that in this case I didn’t really need to know the average mean rainfall or their agricultural practices. I would have liked to know a bit more about the difference between cloud and tree elves – had the latter always been wingless, for instance – but the reader is so closely entwined with Kelnaht’s point of view and he is so preoccupied with his problems that a history lesson would have been inappropriate.

There were some really good secondary characters who contributed greatly to the story – the guide in particular was a standout. But the key to the books is the relationship between Kelnaht and his two lovers, the flighty Ianys and shunned Taruif, whose past is let out a fact at a time and whose mystery contributes to the through plot.

Kelnaht is the truthseeker – policeman/detective, etc. – of the village, answering to the elders – City Hall – and the guide – a spiritual guardian whose part in a Philip Marlowe adventure would probably be taken by a tough priest with a past. Kelnaht, as a cloud elf, has wings that will bear his weight for short periods of time and don’t seem to be a cause of any resentment by the non-winged elves in his village. Painstaking and meticulous, Kelnaht uses his observational skills as well as his magic to solve the crimes, petty and major, of the village, but he doesn’t seem to take any real joy in it. As the trilogy begins he is deeply unhappy, caught between a hopeless crush on Taruif who is ‘shunned’ meaning that nobody is allowed to speak to him, and his enduring love for Ianys, who discarded him in order to have children. When Kelnaht discovers that far from shunning Taruif, Ianys is clandestinely bonking him, his feelings of despair and jealousy are almost overwhelming.

I found Kelnaht and Taruif very sympathetic, but frankly I loathed Ianys and never got over his selfishness and duplicity. He did fill the emotional gap for both the other protagonists, however, he remained untrustworthy to me right to the end of the book, and also seemed very entitled – rules applied to other people, not Ianys! They weren’t youths – all three were mature middle-aged men with years of experience behind them so the imbalance between two decent men and one who hadn’t got far past the whiny teenager stage, took a bit of the gloss off the romance for me. But, I guess we love who we love and I hope they continued happy.

Purchase Links



Meet Blaine D. Arden

Blaine D. Arden is a purple-haired, forty-something author of queer romance mixed with fantasy, mystery, and magic who sings her way through life in platform boots.

Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Blaine spent many hours of her sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories and acting them out with her Barbies. After seeing the film “An Early Frost” as a teen in the mid-eighties, an idealistic Blaine wanted to do away with the negativity surrounding homosexuality and strove to show the world how beautiful love between men could be. Our difference is our strength, is Blaine’s motto, and her stories are often set in worlds where gender fluidity and sexual diversity are accepted as is.

When not writing or reading, Blaine has singing lessons and hopes to be in a band someday. Supporting Blaine in pursuing her dreams and all matters regarding household, sons, and cairn terrier, is her long-suffering husband for over twenty years.

Blaine is an EPIC Award winning author and has been published by Storm Moon Press, Less Than Three Press, and Wilde City Press. Her scifi romance “Aliens, Smith and Jones” received an Honourable Mention in the Best Gay Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the Rainbow Awards 2012.




  1. Thanks for the review! The cover is lovely and the mix between fantasy and mystery sounds like I might like it.

    1. We're glad Sally's review helped you out and hope you enjoy it when you read it.