The Untold Tale, by J.M. Frey
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The Forgotten Tale, by J.M. Frey
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series: The Accidental Turn
Publisher: Reuts Publications
The Untold Tale
Forsyth Turn is not a hero. Lordling of Turn Hall and Lysse Chipping, yes. Spymaster for the king, certainly. But hero? That’s his older brother’s job, and Kintyre Turn is nothing if not legendary. However, when a raid on the kingdom’s worst criminal results in the rescue of a bafflingly blunt woman, oddly named and even more oddly mannered, Forsyth finds his quaint, sedentary life is turned on its head.
Dragged reluctantly into a quest he never expected, and fighting villains that even his brother has never managed to best, Forsyth is forced to confront his own self-shame and the demons that come with always being second-best. And, more than that, when he finally realizes where Lucy came from and why she’s here, he’ll be forced to question not only his place in the world, but the very meaning of his own existence.
Smartly crafted, The Untold Tale gives agency to the unlikeliest of heroes: the silenced, the marginalized, and the overlooked. It asks what it really means to be a fan when the worlds you love don’t resemble the world you live in, celebrates the power of the written word, challenges tropes, and shows us what happens when someone stands up and refuses to remain a secondary character in their own life.
The Forgotten Tale
Forsyth Turn has finally become a hero—however reluctantly. But now that Lucy Piper has married him and they’ve started a family in her world, his adventuring days are behind him. Yet not all is as it should be. Beloved novels are disappearing at an alarming rate, not just from the minds of readers like Pip, but from bookshelves as well. Almost as if they had never been. Almost like magic.
Forsyth fears that it is his fault—that Pip’s childhood tales are vanishing because he, a book character, has escaped his pages. But when he and Pip are sucked back into The Tales of Kintyre Turn against their will, they realize that something much more deadly and dire is happening. The stories are vanishing from Forsyth’s world too. So Forsyth sets out on a desperate journey across Hain to discover how, and why, the stories are disappearing… before their own world vanishes forever.
In this clever follow-up to The Untold Tale, The Forgotten Tale questions what it means to create a legacy, and what we owe to those who come after us.
Straight Main Characters
Bisexual Supporting Characters
The Untold Tale – Rape
The Forgotten Tale – Kidnapping
“No matter what happens, no matter what the characters do or how the author twists, no matter the surprises and the heartbreak and the joys, you love something – with all its flaws and all its diamonds. Being a fan means being devoted. It means daydreaming, and flailing with joy, and proudly showing your colors in public with pins and scarves, t-shirts and bags and costumes. It means being part of a tribe, having a place and a people to belong to. Being a fan means being obsessed, but in a good way. It means learning to love – wholeheartedly, honestly, proudly, crazily love.” — Lucy Piper
The Untold Tale
I would say my love for romance consumes 98% of my reading time these days. But for as much as I adore a good contemporary heart-melter, I was really starting to miss the world building in the SF/F books I read before I made the switch. Just when I thought I was going to have to take a break from my beloved ever afters, I happened upon The Accidental Turn series. A love story with my fantasy? Yes, please! Okay, so I wouldn’t necessarily call this book a romance but Forsyth and Pip’s budding relationship is a welcome addition to the plot and I think Forsyth feels the same way.
“I find this slow courtship remarkably calming. It is rare and odd, and I am enjoying it immensely.”
There is angst but it’s a slow burn so I never felt like things weren’t going to work out in their favor, and this is all due to the excellent writing. There are highs and lows, it’s poetic at times, and the comedy sprinkled throughout was also very well done. Who names their sword “Foesmiter” anyway?
Something that would’ve drawn me in, even without the fantasy aspect, is a story where the characters travel. Whether it be the adventuring kind in an alt-world fantasy, a modern day road trip or anything in between. This book has the former and I couldn’t wait to see where it would take me.
As I read, I found the story to be very thought-provoking. We are made to deliberately question certain actions for we will eventually be told the answers. The reader is never left hanging. It can actually be a bit of a mind fuck at times and I loved that. An important note to mention is the recognition of problems in classic fantasy books, such as misogyny, racism, and homophobia, among others. Must the hero always be a cis, straight, white male? Calling out these problems is a step in the right direction and gives me hope that we’ll start to see changes for the better in the genre.
The character growth is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Forsyth goes through an incredible transformation and Pip learns a lot about herself too. Another thing that intrigued me was the crossover between worlds and seeing how the characters adjust to the different cultures. It was especially fun to see Forsyth’s reaction to our “realm” and the technology that it offers.
I could go on and on so I’ll end this by saying that I enjoyed this book immensely. I highly recommend it if you’re into fantasy with an interesting twist and a side of romance.
The Forgotten Tale
Okay, so if you’re reading this I hope you’ve already read The Untold Tale because since this is a continuation from the first book, even the smallest of details could be spoilery. Yes, you will definitely want to have read the first before starting this or I fear even with the brief recaps you’ll be missing a lot. But trust me, The Untold Tale is so worth it and, I believe, an essential part of this series.
After pointing out so many problems with fantasy books, including the written realm where Forsyth comes from, I wasn’t sure how to feel about Pip and Forsyth interacting with the “Writer” Elgar Reed in person. Pip still holds the series that she grew up reading dear to her but she’s able to recognize that these problems were born of Reed’s writing so maybe he’s someone they should be wary of.
“While it is the books that mesmerized my wife, I cannot stop staring at the paper in my hands. So easy a thing, so small a gesture, and so profound a change it has wrought in its Readers. Is that what being a Writer means? Not the creation, but the way that others are affected when they are done reading what you’ve toiled to create?”
I love Forsyth so much. It’s no surprise that he’s an amazing father and husband, and seeing him flourish in a world so new to him makes me very happy. His thoughts on parenting had my heart swelling.
“I heartily do not understand this mentality that men are incapable of being supportive co-parents. Why, by the Writer, would I ever want to foist my daughter solely onto my wife and have no involvement in her upbringing? She is my daughter.”
See what I mean? For many reasons, he’s one of my favorite characters I’ve read in quite some time.
There were several funny moments among the peril that they kept finding themselves in. Especially with Pip’s snark, and the brotherly banter between Forsyth and Kintyre. And Kintyre and Bevel are so sweet together! Don’t tell Forsyth but I would totally read a book just about them.
I also liked that Pip and Forsyth would make deals and promises, if possible, rather than resorting to violence when confronted with their nemeses. Pip continues to be a strong, and occasionally hot headed character but it’s good to see a more confident Forsyth stand up to her when need be.
The political messages were a little more blunt in comparison to the first book. I felt that they weren’t incorporated as seamlessly so at times it felt like more of an agenda than a work of fiction that I can use to escape my own reality. Regardless of this, I still love that these issues are being addressed in the first place. I liked reading about characters who have similar values to my own and I felt it made them more relatable to me.
Since Forsyth and Pip’s story continues, their relationship is a lot more HFN than HEA. There will be a third book released at some point in 2017 so it looks like we’ll get to follow this adventurous family for a little longer before they decide to settle down. Two books in and I’m very much enjoying these delightful existential tales of worlds colliding. You should give them a try too!
A trained voice actor and singer, Frey is an author, actor, and professional geek. She is a professional smartypants on AMI Radio’s Live From Studio 5 morning show, is an occasional talking head on the SPACE Channel’s premier chat show InnerSPACE, has appeared in documentaries, lived in Japan, and lent costumes to the Ontario Science Centre. She also has a number of academic credentials, including a BA in Dramatic Literature and an MA in Communications Culture, and has lectured at the Pop Culture Association of America’s Annual Conference (San Francisco), at the University of Cardiff’s ‘Whoniversal Appeal’ Conference, and the Technology and Pedagogy Conference at York University. Frey’s dream is to one day sing a duet with John Barrowman.
You can purchase the Accidental Turn books from:
The Untold Tale:
Barnes and Noble
The Forgotten Tale:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.