‘Forest of Souls’ by Lori M. Lee is a Perfect Debut to a New Series – Book Review
Forest of Souls, the first book of the Shaman Born series, has a lot of information to take in upon first cracking open the novel. Readers are greeted with a substantial glossary that truly shows just how much world-building you’re set to receive. While that may be daunting to some, it surely shouldn’t be something to deter anyone from reading the book. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learning about all of the important people, terms and places well in advance of beginning the actual story.
The novel follows the protagonist, Sirscha as she is on her journey to become something special. Vying for the job of becoming the Queen’s spy, Sirscha has been spending years training for her moment. However, when a wrench is thrown into her plans and shamans attack, it costs her best friend Saengo her life. But somehow, Sirscha stirs something in Saengo back to life.
While still wanting to complete her journey to become the Queen’s spy, Sirscha now has to figure out how she was able to bring her friend back to life. In order to do so, she has to pass through the Dead Wood and enter the dominion of the Spider King. With all of this on her mind and trying to come into her newfound powerset, there’s also a war brewing in Thiy.
Lori M. Lee’s Forest of Souls is a bold and exciting new fantasy story that I couldn’t put down. The descriptions are perfectly written and I truly felt immersed within the world that Lee created. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the action, adventure and political intrigue that can be found within the novel. There is truly something for every reader to appreciate and the story that unfolds makes the book difficult to put down. Lee’s storytelling makes it so that with each turn of the page, you can feel the dangerousness swelling. The tension is high throughout and keeps you intrigued from start-to-finish.
The relationships between the various characters within the book was one of my favourite parts. Specifically, the friendship between Sirscha and Saengo is one that I feel a lot of readers will be able to relate to. We might have groups of friends, but there are always those select few or select one that we gravitate toward, and the best friend we know will be there for us through thick and thin and we’d do anything for. The friendship that the pair share is written into Forest of Souls with genuine heart, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Sirscha and Saengo.
Another character that I really liked (and actually liked from the very beginning) was Prince Meilek. While I don’t want to say too much about him, I will say that he certainly grows on you the further you get into the book. On a separate note about the antagonists, I really loved them. Much like the Prince, I don’t want to go too in-depth here because there are revelations that you need to read for yourself, but I really enjoyed them. My only wish is that I got to experience more of them. However, I am sure this is a need that will be satisfied in the next book and I cannot wait for it!
In Forest of Souls, Lee constructed a tale that was tremendous with courageous characters that captivated my attention in every way. I am excited to see where all of the build-up will lead us for the second book.