Cover Image: Forest of Souls

Forest of Souls

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Member Reviews

I've been loving Asian-inspired fantasy worlds lately, and this one is no exception.

While I was entertained and enjoyed the reading experience, I feel like depth was lacking in both characters and world. With how the plot is going and Lee's overall writing style, I believe that that depth I'm searching for will be achieved in following books (which I intend to read).

Sirscha was an entertaining character to follow as she discovers things about herself and readjusts her worldview. The internal conflict she faced when she had to adjust her beliefs was compelling and kept me reading.

There was no romance, which I'm fine with. It wasn't needed and Lee didn't try to force it as many YA authors tend to do. It seems like she's set up a few romantic interests that may emerge I'm future installments, but it's by no means the focus of the story... I wouldn't even call it a subplot. So, if you're looking for YA fantasy romance, this may not be the book for you.


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3.5⭐️ I really liked this. I was given a Netgalley e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Don’ get me wrong, it is a typical YA girl-saves-the-world trope. But I eat that up every time. It was fun and exciting and I’m intrigued enough to get into the others!

I do wish we’d been given a bit more background on our MC, but hopefully we’ll get more as the series goes on.

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Although I enjoyed Forest Of Souls, I found the storyline rather repetitive with no real progression or history of her training, just that "she'd always been a natural" when it came to fighting. I liked the main character despite her flaws, namely her impulsiveness with no real forethought of consequences. What endeared me to her was her loyalty and devotion to her best friend. I think what could have made this a better read would have been a closer look into the relationships between the characters closest to the protagonist.

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A beautifully written book that drew me into the world instantly!

The characters are really fascinating and engaging and the world building was interesting and I really enjoyed being a part of it. There is incredible contrast in this world of the general beauty of this world on the page compared with the truly creepy and terrifying forest! It gave me chills.

This is a wonderful character driven novel focused on friendship and the adventure it can take you on (into a terrifying forest).

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Shamanborn does a fantastic job of scratching that YA itch. I’ve seen it compared to Shadow and Bone, and while there are similar tropes/situations at times, I already like these books way better than S&B (but the Crows are still my ride or dies). We get more culture, more creatures and none of the cringey love triangle (rectangle?) nonsense. Sirscha is driven by her desire to save her best friend, an ovaries before brovaries sentiment I can really get behind.
The book trots along at a great pace and had me continually turning those pages, eager to see what happened next. Highly recommend!!

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I loved this epic tale about friendship, personal growth and badass fight scenes! The plot is gripping and consists of several plot twists!

Apart from humans there are two other races, the shamanborn and shadowblessed, each with their own intricate magic system.

The worldbuilding in this story is very well done. There are three countries and each has their own customs, traditions and history. I personally love the Asian/Hmong influences that pop up throughout the story.

Another thing I love are the characters. Sirscha's an ass-whopping badass who has to fight for practically everything in her life. The bond between Sirscha and Saengo is strong but both characters each have their own story and stuff to deal with.

The writing style is excellent. Lee's descriptions are vivid without overdoing it. The combat is perfectly described and I would strongly recommend reading her book if you're looking on writing combat scenes yourself (swordfighting)

While this book is one of the best ones I've read in the past few months, there's one minor thing I'd like to mention. The beginning of the story was relatively slow and it took a while for the story to truly start. Personally, I don't mind that much because the author took her time showing the wonderful world she created (and I love worldbuilding😻)

In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA Fantasy!

Shared on GR and IG on 9 August 2020 (#writiciousreviews)

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This book was not for me. To be honest, I didn't even finish it because I was having such a hard time getting into this book.

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"Forest of Souls" by Lori M. Lee is a YA fantasy novel that follows the story of Sirscha, a young orphan girl who discovers she has magical abilities and must use them to protect her kingdom from an enemy threat.

Sirscha is a strong and likable protagonist who goes on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. The action scenes are also exciting and well-written, and the plot twists keep you engaged. However, the world-building could have been stronger, as the political and magical systems of the world are not fully explained. Additionally, some of the supporting characters could have been better developed as I couldn't find myself getting fully invested in their journey.

Overall, "Forest of Souls" is a fun read that will appeal to fans of YA fantasy. While it may not be an instant favorite, it's still worth a read if you're looking for an entertaining adventure story.

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I read this in a single sitting because I was so engrossed in the story and the characters (Theyen, in particular, is one of my favorites). In particular, I like the emphasis placed on female friendship and solidarity. At the conclusion of the book, I couldn't tear myself away from the fast-paced action. The creation of the world is decadent. Eagerly awaiting the next installment!

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Forest of Souls was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. I liked how it was set in an Asian fictional setting and learn many of its history and culture. While I did get what I wished, I could not connect to its story. It was very slow moving and the plot was very thin. Still, I recommend this for fans of The Flame and the Mist, Shadow of the Fox, and Descendants of the Crane!

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A lush Asian inspired fantasy that has a wonderful friendship at the core of it. I loved the magic used in this novel, and the twists I didn't always see coming.

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I thought this book was good. I would not say it is my favorite book but it is somewhere in the middle. I liked the characters and the storyline but there just wasn't enough detail for me. I thought the book lacked on worldbuilding and character development. Again, I still thought it was a good book, it was just a little to YA for me.

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This was a fast-paced read with room for so much more. I absolutely love the cover, the dedication, and the overall premise. I especially appreciate that the main relationship is just Sirscha and Saengo's friendship, and I would have loved to see more interactions between the two. However, I would have liked to learn even more about the world and the other characters that inhabit it, so I am looking forward to picking up the sequel one day!

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This was an interesting story filled with some really awesome aspects, but it wasn't one that really 'caught' me? This was no fault of the author or the writing - both were good! But for some reason I just wasn't as excited while I was reading it. It could just be that I'm over the whole 'spy' thing for right now?

I did enjoy the magic system in this one and the romance as well! I think it just didn't hit me right - which could have been the time that I was reading it.

If you like YA fantasy with a touch of Naomi Novak - this is going to be a great book for you!

My rating: 3.2*

Thanks to NetGalley for this early review copy. All opinions are my own.

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Unfortunately, this did end up on the DNF shelf for me many months ago but I did read far enough into it that I felt I was able to give this a fair chance and have enough to mention why this didn't work for me. While I really enjoy the fast paced nature of this read I really struggled with the world building. I tried to stick it out for as long as I could hoping eventually it would be easier to understand/enjoy the world but it never really got better for me. However, I did really enjoy the writing style (world building aside) and would absolutely love to try reading another book from this author.

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I received an earc from NetGalley and the publisher but all opinions are my own after reading a finished copy.

I had high hopes for this book but was a little weary to read it after it first received mixed reviews following its release.

And unfortunately I was a little underwhelmed by it too. The intentions were there but the world and characters weren't fleshed out enough. At no point was I really engaging and invested in the story. I mostly picked the book up so I could finish it but not because I was so enthusiastic about it. The magic was great and the shamanism in this book was such a great idea. But the characters felts little too flat for me and I feel like we didn't really learn enough about the world and it's different countries and people.

I can't really pinpoint any bad issued with this book but it just felt overall a little boring at times. It was a really fast read but I felt like almost nothing happened.

I think there is great potential in the book and the writing and I'm curious to see what the author comes up with next.

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We meet Sirscha Ashwyn as she arrives at the home of her mentor Kendara. Sirscha is currently apprentice to the Queen’s shadow but she is just one of a few, maybe even many. To become the Queen’s spy, she must be able to prove that she is the best, that she is more than enough. She works hard but continues to feel deficient, especially as individuals like the officit leading the students to visit the prison for shamanborn and Jonyah Thao, her best friend Saengo’s cousin, continue to debase her because of her upbringing; Sirscha is an orphan, and orphans are of no value. Ultimately, it is the discovery of a rival for the coveted position that will lead to Saengo’s death, her subsequent resurrection, and the revelation that Sirscha is a lightwender, specifically a soulguide with the ability to guide souls to the afterlife or to bring them back to life. This will likely have reverberations for the kingdoms and ultimately results in Ronin, the Spider King, summoning both Sirscha and Saengo to Spinner’s End.

This is the first book of the Shamanborn trilogy. Sirscha Ashwyn is a character that many of us may be able to sympathize with because she is still seeking her place in the world and often feels like she is never enough. Lee fills the pages with lush descriptions of the world, immersing us into Sirscha's world but at times, because Sirscha is often going from place to place, we might not necessarily feel as connected to her and Evewyn as we should. It feels like we're still in the beginning stages of something that could be, will be great. I still very much enjoyed it and think it is worth the read. Lee writes well and I'm excited for the rest of the trilogy.

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I liked the world building in this book, the different characters really made the world come to life. I hope there is going to be a sequel

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Forest of Souls is an exciting fantasy packed with suspense. The main character Sirscha has gone through years of training to become a spy for the queen. Only a month away from graduation, Sircha's journey begins when she uncovers that she has a mysterious ability when she saves her friend by bringing her back to life. This novel is very plot-driven and filled with some interesting twists, especially towards the end.

It was really refreshing that there weren't any heavy romance elements, and I thought that Sirscha was a compelling protagonist.

I do wish that there was more worldbuilding and that some of the other side characters would have been better developed.

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I think the hardest part of starting a new series is getting into the characters and the plot. But I found myself truly intrigued from the start. So hard to do.

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