It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any book or e-book but this web novel is a really great companion read to the webtoon that I am currently addicted to. It makes the story of Under the Oak Tree all the more richer when its told from a different perspective. Perhaps, this was what Stephenie Meyer was gunning for with Midnight Sun?
Riftan’s POV of Under the Oak Tree is something that explores the origins of the main character Riftan Calypse — his humble roots as a mixed breed peasant, the childhood traumas he experienced, and the best reveal — his childhood connection with Maximillian Croix, who later becomes his reluctant bride in a screwed up deal with her father, the Duke of Croix.
The novel truly explores Riftan’s roots, his miserable life as an apprentice at the Croix smithy, his deplorable family life, as well as his childhood fascination with little girl who lived in the Croix castle, the way he saved her from a monster when they were young and his eventual decision to leave and make his fortune by joining a band of mercenaries.
While Under the Oak Tree focuses more on Maxi and how she is trying to become a worthy Lady of Anatol and mate to her husband, Riftan’s POV thoroughly expounds on his warring emotions with each encounter he had with the Duke’s eldest daughter, which she knew nothing about. Unfortunately though, because he was also clueless about the way Maxi was treated by her father, he jumped to all the wrong conclusions like an oaf.
I loved how he tried to fight his feelings for Maxi but always went back to her as if being called by a beacon. I also liked how his relationship with Ruth was described in the novel. After reading this perspective, readers of the manga would find a better appreciation of the webtoon because everything starts to click.
It also explains why Riftan agreed with the Duke of Croix’s deal even though it seemed like he received the losing end to the stick, principle wise.
And hold on to your hearts dear readers, because the sincerity in which Riftan bares his soul in the web novel will make you grab your hankies and ugly cry, just as you probably wept for Maxi in her version of the tale.
While I was only able to read until the part where Riftan goes on the quest to defeat the Red Dragon and uses Maxi as a motivation to survive, I have no doubt that Riftan’s POV will make my heart flutter even more as I picture the events from his point of view.
Now, if either the Under the Oak Tree webtoon or web novels would put readers out of their misery by making these two beautiful souls admit their feelings already, that would be great.