Cover Image: The Phantom Forest

The Phantom Forest

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Member Reviews

I gave this such a red hot crack, think I got nearly halfway through, but something about this was lacking for me- I was trying to persevere but really, reading should be a relaxing enjoyable experience and I just had to let this go- there were many interesting elements to this but they just didn't come together for me.
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This debut novel was full of action/adventure and excitement.   I enjoyed the world building and hope for other books to be added to this series.
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I received an ARC from the publishers via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t like this book. The writing style wasn’t for me and the story just fell flat. The story had so much potential but alas, it didn’t fully live up to its potential. 
The concept of the story was what drew me in and I was thoroughly disappointed. 
The world building was rushed and underdeveloped. 
All I can say is: it could’ve been better...
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It was... okay. 

I went into this really wanting to love this book. The summary immediately caught my attention and I went in eager despite not really enjoying the authors' previous work. I think this was a case of "it's me, not you" when it comes to this book. The style simply wasn't for me and the characters felt a little too flat. I think some readers are going to love the writing style and the characters, but I just... couldn't connect with them.
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Unfortunately, this book wasn't for me. I didn't connect to the story or the characters. The writing style was okay, but not for me.
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I liked the plot and the world that was created for this story. It was an interesting play on a dystopian future that incorporated concepts of faith and a sense of magic. It had multiple layers that all played off one another. It kept me interested enough to keep reading until the end. I was somewhat frustrated by the character development. Some of the key characters felt a bit flat and reacted to situations in ways that seemed out of character. Overall, decent read.
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I liked the writing style and thought that the author did a good development with the characters. I also enjoyed the pacing and thought the story was very interesting.
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I absolutely loved reading this book. I loved the storyline surrounding The Savage and his history. He is one of those enigmatic characters that you just want to keep reading about. I also loved how the author did not change the theme of the story in to a love angst storyline between the two characters, and kept it subtle to the main plot. I also loved how the story is told in multiple perspectives which is so refreshing because it never makes the story dull or boring. Overall, I loved reading this book and it was much better than what I expected it to be!
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A really enjoyable read! Flew threw this one, very captivating and thrilling. I love the premise of this and thought it was a unique and interesting storyline.
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"His tongue's black as coal from the souls that he's swallowed;
When you walk home tonight, be sure you're not followed.
For if you've been guilty of treason or theft,
The Savage will feast on what life you have left.
He sends evil to earth, such mischief he makes:
The famines, the floods, the wildfires, the quakes.
He acts out of fury, the hunger he feels;
So, child, stay in line or you'll be his next meal."

Imperial-styled dystopia, check. A demon you can summon to eat sacrificial villagers, check. Creepy little girls singing shit like this in dark forests at twilight, check. The opening had me ready for something that this book just was not, not to say this was a terrible book because it was okay, but the dark/horror aspects fizzled out fairly quickly and devolved from wonderfully spooky to generically derivative, with characters who continually flatten to an almost painful degree.

"He knew he had to stay focused and keep moving or he'd be drawn in by their horrible, all-consuming ugliness."

Totally, I 100% feel this, yes. This is the quote, y'all, the most important quote of the book. This is basically my mantra for getting through the day.

For me, something began to feel very off maybe midway through the book, and there was some pretty serious disconnect. Character's actions flipped and there was no logical rhyme nor reason, there was too much insta-trust and insta-love to the point where it didn't feel believable, and there were several situations where whatever was needed to push the plot too coincidentally fell into their laps. At around 80% I began skimming the end just to finish it, as I had stopped caring about the characters and the plot had become extremely predictable.

Although I did struggle through some of this, I did enjoy it more than a 2-star read, thus my 3-star rating. I believe that a younger audience with a fresher take on this would find it new and exciting.
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This was a moderately engaging tale that kept my interest at times and lost my interest at others. I'm usually a speed reader who can get through a book in a day or two, but I bounced back and forth to this one several times over many weeks before finishing it. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with the book or the writing style, it just didn't quite resonate with me as much as I'd hoped. 

I think part of the issue is that I often have to read in short spurts, but many of the chapters in this book were too long to allow for that. The author did a fine job, though, and I could see this being a favorite for many YA readers who love fantasy.
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I should have known better to ask for this one. I wasnt a fan of The Hazel Wood nor am I of coming of age. I'll have to be more careful in the first future.
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As with most books on NetGalley, this book is a great read. Captivating and intriguing. Thematically beautiful. Gorgeous writing.
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I received this as an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

If I could, I would have given this a 3.5 but I rounded it up to a 4. 

This was a really cool concept for a book but it took me awhile to get into it, and even then, I’m not sure how attached I am to the characters. It takes place on a post apocalyptic earth after humans have discovered what really happens when we die. After tunnelling through the earth, and slicing through the veil to reveal the beyond, total chaos has ensued and utterly destroyed the concept of religion as we know it. Then there’s a series of wars, and voila, a couple hundred years later, we have the setting for our story. 
There are a few main characters, primarily a brother sister combo, Mika and Seycia, accompanied by your not so friendly demon, aka the Savage, aka Haben. After being targeted by the governing general Simeon, Seycia is sacrificed to the demon and ends up in the underworld, while her brother Mika remains up top with the humans. Each fight their own battles from their own realms with some very interesting consequences. 
I’m thinking this might turn into a series because it was left a bit open ended with more questions and possible chaos. If there is another book, I’d definitely check it out.
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I re started this book several times, but I couldn't connect with the story or the style. However, the ideas were interesting and I'm sure it was just a matter or likes. It may have been the wrong book for me.
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Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book came as a very pleasant surprise for me! At first I was kind of sceptical because, okay, cursed forest, nothing new, but boy I was wrong! The Phantom Forest had me in from the get-go! The premise of the story was really interesting and the world-building was definitely atmospheric. The setting where the afterlife and the living world were both closely interrelated with each other really made me genuinely affixed to how the narrative will go.

I was also drawn to Seycia as a character and how she developed as a character in the story: from just being an older sister who has to shoulder the responsibilities of survival along with looking after her younger brother, until the latter part of the story, where she literally held the fate of the world in her hands. I really admired her resilience, spirit, and determination to set things right. I think that she was written as a well-rounded character and I would definitely love to see more of her soon!

Haben was also a character that I loved while reading the book. At first, he comes on as this enigmatic character with all the mystery and the ~brooding~ but he also harbors a dark burden as a result of deeds he has done in the past. He sees himself as a monster and is quite cold to Seycia upon their first meeting as he only thought of her as a tool to set him free from the burden he carries but he really also developed as a character. To quote Seycia, “Even a monster can be redeemed if he truly wishes to be.”

Miko—Seycia’s younger brother—was also another character who was vital to the progression of the story but even though he seemed like an interesting character, I sort of wanted more from him. I get that because Seycia and him got separated in the book and that he has a part to play in making things right, I felt like he wasn’t given enough space as the book’s narration seemed to focus more on Seycia and Haben as they both were the key players. But then again, this is only the first book, so I am looking forward to Miko’s growth and role in the future!

Dohv and General Simeon were the Big Bads of this book: one’s a dark overlord which doles out punishments and damnation to seize power and control while the other’s an opportunist who makes use of religion to gain power and control over the people he governs. While these two got their just desserts in the end, the way it came to be came off as kinda anticlimactic to me, I guess. I wanted more scheming and cunning and getting in the way—the way I want my villains to be. But these two have an interesting connection with one another and that satisfies my curiosity for now.

All in all, I really loved this book! Redemption and second chances were the major themes in the narrative and I think that the main characters did get their own second chances at making things right. I really loved how the world-building was so immersive and it drew me in the story. The characters were memorable and made their own distinct impressions on me, the plot pacing was great, and that major cliffhanger at the end just made me go, WHATTTT!! I am definitely looking forward to this book’s sequel and I want to read more about its world soon!
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This book had a unique premise, it was a tad bit slow at the beginning but swept me up soon enough and kept me in it's grip well until the end. I would recommend it to other fellow fantasy fans in a heartbeat. Thank you for allowing me to read and hand sell this title.
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This story takes place in Khronasia, a war-ravaged, post-apocalyptic land with two different kinds of people. There are the Khronasians, and the Coalition. MC Seycia is. Khronasian, while her nemesis, Simeon, is a general of the coalition. 
A lot of drama happens and Seycia winds up dying and leaving behind her brother Miko. She meets a beast in the underworld called Haben who turns her into something other. Not quite human, not quite demon, and bound on a mission to destroy the soul tree of General Simeon. 
Back home, Miko stumbles into a group of Khronasians that treat him like a king and call him The Lasting Light. 
More drama happens. 
I don’t know... this book has such glowing reviews and I’m going to be honest here and say that I don’t get it. 
A lot of it was confusing. The characters were interesting enough, and the whole concept seemed promising, but it just sort of fell short of my expectations.
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3.5 stars

This is a fantasy novel that counts with its own mythology, a lot of action and a small dose of romance, so I highly recommend it. Although I feel that from the middle to the end the rhythm becomes slower due to the parallel plot that arises -I was not particularly interested in it, to be honest-, The Phantom Forest has a fascinating and addictive start. The characters are well built, they have virtues and flaws, but what I want to highlight the most is the original and rich world that the author has created. It is based on really interesting legends, not to mention that several fantastic creatures appear and that is a plus. I admit that that the love story felt a little bit rushed to me; however, as this novel is not intended to revolve around a love plot I don’t think it’s a major problem. The ending actually surprised me and now I want more! According to the author, this story is meant to be a trilogy, but currently she has no other publication contracts. I hope you give this novel a chance, since this dangerous adventure through the Underworld between a human and a demon is worthwhile and is a breath of fresh air to the genre of Young Adult literature.

After a worldwide catastrophe, the Veil that connects the Earth with the Underworld became visible in the sky. Civilization has taken a step back in history, leaving aside technology and luxuries and returning to its rudimentary and superstitious beginnings. Seycia and her brother are inseparable since their parents died, but one day she is chosen as human sacrifice in her village and is offered to The Savage, the demon that crosses the Veil and takes a soul to the Underworld. The problem is that Seycia does not die when she crosses the Veil and now Haben, the demon, does not know what to do with this strange and stubborn human. What if they allied against a common enemy? What if she is not as kind and he is not as wicked as they believe?
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My feedback here is late to the party.  I enjoyed this book, but it was relatively forgettable.  I'd recommend it to others as a quick read.
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