For the Intended: Journal One, by Haven Berg:
Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
Have you stumbled across any new favourite reads lately?
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing For the Intended: Journal One, a gripping paranormal fantasy mystery with a young adult cast, by author Haven Berg.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
For the Intended is set around the grand city of Umplidore, in the fabled land of Edgeladine. Galayne, once a lost girl trying her best to survive in a forest full of monsters, is now acting Princess of Edgeladine and known as ‘the Summer Born.’ Galayne possesses unique powers, some of which are fast growing and causing her to become ill at times.
To Galayne’s surprise, her best friend Vir has been banished from the land due to supposedly presenting a danger to her. Without his reassuring presence, being able to conduct her difficult life as the people’s Princess seems more than a little daunting.
Meanwhile, Galayne and her friends come to learn that they are Naetera, each possessing unique powers of their own. It is said that more Naetera have been showing up over the years, meaning that something troubling is occurring in the land of Edgeladine.
Secrets are being kept, some by Galayne herself. But, is keeping such secrets doing more harm than good, or is it a kindness to hide such a devastating truth from those she holds dear?
Of the characters involved in For the Intended, the following four seemed the most important: Galayne, Vir, Arnet, and Queen Aurora.
Galayne (14, bordering on 15) has been inducted into her new role as Princess of Edgeladine and as the Summer Born, the rarest of all Naetera. She has since begun to develop new powers, experiencing power bursts which temporarily sap her of her energy. Throughout the story, Galayne seems reluctant to take on the responsibilities of being a princess and doesn’t really seem the princess type. To me, she appeared to be more of a tom boy, taking a more casual and rash approach toward life. It is also said that she seeks to give off a reputation as a ‘fierce, ferocious warrior’, which is something that made me chuckle as I read the book. Overall, I liked Galayne as a character as she was interesting and made for a steadfast friend, however, I was never sure what her goal was in the story.
Next, we come to Vir, Galayne’s best friend since they were first found together years ago in the woods. Vir always seemed to take things in his stride, becoming emboldened by challenges set out for him. He seemed sweet and sincere in his feelings for Galayne, always doing his best to protect her whenever he could. He had an outwardly calm demeanour, his powers relating to the elemental ability to conjure and manipulate snow and frost to varying degrees. He was a fascinating character in his own right and I wish we’d gotten to see more of him over the course of the story.
Next, we come to Arnet, Galayne’s guardian and commanding officer. At first, Arnet always seemed strict and over-protective of Galayne, never leaving her much room for personal freedom. However, as the story progressed, we learn that he has his own reasons for acting this way. He cares deeply for Galayne as if she were his own daughter, just as he cares deeply for the other teenagers in his charge. He must do whatever he can to both protect them and prepare them for whatever may come their way, a great burden which understandably takes its toll on him.
Finally, we come to Queen Aurora of Edgeladine. She at first appeared to be beautiful and profoundly gentle as a ruler, however, she was also quite firm when she needed to be. Her primary duty was to keep the Summer Born safe. In addition, Galayne occasionally compares Queen Aurora to her, who we later learn refers to her birth mother, a woman Galayne harbours resentful feelings toward. As such, I was never sure how I felt about Queen Aurora’s character, having only witnessed her through Galayne’s lens of mild hatred and distrust.
There was much to like about For the Intended, many points which have been included below:
- The author introduces characters succinctly and provides a reliable, yet brief snapshot of their personality, so you get a good feel for the type of person they are.
- The worldbuilding was done well, with original places, foods, and creatures galore.
- The history and practices of the magical animal species were interesting, especially the bonding practices of the Arakin (ancient wolves.)
- The idea of the ‘Naetera’ was fascinating. These are people with unique powers which often appear to be of the elemental kind. They’re said to be from another world known only as ‘The Outside’, which appears to be our equivalent to Earth.
Although there were many positives to For the Intended, there were also some negatives which I noticed.
- The protagonist seems to lack a goal in the story, even a minor one, so it’s hard to know what’s driving the story forward when there’s nothing to really pursue.
- What ‘the Summer Born’ was wasn’t really explained until very late in the story and even then, the explanation given didn’t seem very substantial, the same with the idea of the Naetera: it seemed rather vague until near the end of the story.
- Although I liked the chapters delving into how Galayne came to have her beloved horse and wolf companions, I feel that these chapters took away from the main story, diverting it unnecessarily.
Throughout the story, three particular quotes stood out to me.
1) ‘I shook uncontrollably, wanting to just break down into a million pieces, and sink beneath the ground; alone, forgotten, a big mound of nothing.’
This quote specifically refers to when Galayne receives some troubling news about a friend’s intentions to venture on a quest to The Outside. It felt especially relatable as I think we’ve all felt this way at certain points in our life when things no longer feel familiar or stable.
2) ‘There is a sense of protection and order for the people if they see a kind, gentle ruler.’
3) ‘It’s funny when your worst fear happens- it’s not like you’d expect. Once the emotions come and go, you’re left with a sort of emptiness; a dreary bleakness of failure rimmed with only a trace of previous excitement and terror.’
Overall, For the Intended was a fascinating fantasy novel which explored a world separate from, yet somehow connected to our own. The worldbuilding was wonderfully done and the history of the land of Edgeladine and its unique inhabitants was fascinating. However, I feel that the lack of a strong plot let the story down a little as I didn’t really know what I was rooting for.
Themes included; friendship and family, magic and monsters, history, and secrets.
My Rating: 3.5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of young adult fantasy novels involving unique magical powers and beings.
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