Book: THE ART OF FORGETTING by Joanne Hall
Series: RIDER, Book #1 | Genre: YA Fantasy
Gifted and cursed with a unique memory, the foundling son of a notorious traitor, Rhodri joins an elite cavalry unit. There, struggling with his own memories of his father, he begins to discover a sense of belonging. Until a face from the past reveals a secret that will change not only Rhodri’s life, but the fate of a nation.
I’ve been meaning to review this lovely book for a long time, and I’m glad to finally be able to shine a light on this wee gem of a story released by small press Kristell Ink (the sci-fi/fantasy imprint of adventurous new publisher Grimbold Books).
Rhodri’s story, at first, seems like a fairly standard fantasy beginning: he’s a farm boy with a perfect memory, raised by a foster father after being abandoned as child. He joins the King’s Third, a cavalry unit of the army, and this is where the world-building really comes into its own. We see the clash of personalities between men and boys, delve into some brutally realistic issues about race and sexuality, and get a sense of the wider conflicts in the world.
As the story developed, I could see what made it stand out from more mainstream fantasy stories. It’s a bold, diverse read, with LGBTQ characters and a bisexual protagonist, that really makes it stand out from the crowd. We need more diverse epic fantasy out there in the world, and THE ART OF FORGETTING delivers that in spades. It was so refreshing to see.
It is a *very*, *very* dark read though, and at times the rape and violence was too much for me, so I’d definitely advise reader caution there — but if you can handle the current GAME OF THRONES TV show and books, then THE ART OF FORGETTING will be familiar, as they both delve into similarly grim and violent spaces.
I’m really looking forward to reading more of Joanne’s detailed world, and unravelling the secrets behind Rhodri’s gradually returning memory and his mysterious past. Especially after that cliffhanger ending!
If you’re a book blogger and would like to read THE ART OF FORGETTING, Joanne welcomes reviewers with open arms. The details for how to request a copy are here.