Evergreens and Aspen Trees by A.L. Lorensen SPFBO 9 REVIEW

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Moving right along with my reviews!

This one will be for people who like elves, found family, and stories about recovering one’s past.

The prologue opens with a mysterious woman healing Tristan, our MC, from a severe head injury he would have otherwise died from. Consequently, Tristan has lost all of his memories and a good deal of the book revolves around him finding out who he is, because he has no idea. He was given the name Tristan by his ‘rescuers’ who may not really be rescuers. The woman who healed Tristan on the battlefield saw his rescuer come and get him, she described him as a monster and lamented she couldn’t change anything about the boy’s future.

The man who took him from the battlefield is a general, sort of a disgraced general. The troops aren’t a big fan of him but he doesn’t seem to care. He thrusts Tristan right into their ranks almost the moment he wakes up after resting from severe inquires. The general’s wife is very motherly, warm, and honestly a little stereotypical so I didn’t quite warm to her the way I think I was supposed to. They (the general and his wife) have a daughter who Tristan dotes on and over the next five years he becomes a part of their family.

However, he still wants to know where he came from. He has this recurring thought about a place called the Dragon Scales, but everyone makes fun of him because the Dragon Scales are supposed to be mythical. It would be like someone saying “I think I’m going to go find Atlantis.” People look at him like he’s a little off, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He throws their insults back at them and keeps on his way. He has a best friend named Styrax (who also doesn’t want to talk about his past so he’s a bit mysterious at first).

So, we also get the perspectives of the elves/ancient ones, Aspen and Ash. They’re trying to prevent another war, and save their people and this could potentially put them at odds with Tristan since he’s part of the human army. She’s on the search for the lost prince even though it could be all for naught, he could be dead. He’s been gone for years now.

This is definitely an old school sword and sorcery classic epic fantasy that I think would appeal to a lot of readers, and the romance here was of a slower burn variety which is more my speed. I really liked the banter between the friends, the adventures Tristan got up to, and a familiar tone and pace to a fantasy world and story. I did have a few quibbles, sometimes word choice rubbed me a little wrong. One of the first examples of this was when a soldier was dying on a field and “congealed” blood dripped from her mouth. I had thought this was an indicator she was undead (since she was talking), but she wasn’t. I felt it was an awkward word choice because typically blood congeals/coagulates either when a wound is healing or when you’re dead. The time skips at the beginning also felt like things got rushed a bit, five years went by in a flash and I would never have known had it not been for the infant turning into a little kid within a chapter.

Overall though this is a fun epic fantasy that I think has broad appeal and at the time of this review it’s been marked as safe!