I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review! Thank you, Page Street Publishing, for this earc!
Sircha Ashwyn has no family, no name, abandoned in an orphanage when she was very little, but she’s determined to find her own place in the world.
Trained by the mysterious Kendara, hoping to become the queen’s next Shadow, a royal spy, and training as a soldier, all Sircha’s plan are ruined when she got involved into a shamans’ attack and her best friend Saengo is killed. But, without even knowing how, Sircha manages to bring her soul back, discovering an ability and a power she knew nothing about.
Unveiled as soulguide, a rare and powerful kind of shaman, Sircha and Saengo are summoned to the Spider King, Ronin, whose power is vital in maintaining the peace between kingdoms and in controlling the dangerous Dead Wood, a forest possessed by trapped souls. But his powers seem to be weakening, since the trees are becoming more and more wild and spreading.
Sircha finds herself involving into the dangerous task of taming the Dead wood, before the trees claim her friend’s life and welcome a war between kingdoms.
Forest of souls is a lush, evocative and magical fantasy first book of the Shamanborn series, set in a world of political conflicts, mysterious powers, magic, intrigue, sisterhood and friendship. The world-building is spectacular and the author has the ability of grabbing’s the reader’s attention right away, thrusting her/him/them into a world skillfully written, with magic, drakes, plot twists, secrets, murders, giant spiders, ambigous and complex characters.
The writing style is absolutely evocative and the characterization is brilliant. Told by Sircha’s POV, the main character, Sircha is determined, stubborn, loyal and strong. She came from nothing, in a world, a place where family’s name can be very important, but she’s determined to prove to everyone and to herself her worth, her abilities and her loyalty.
When she discovers a new truth about hersef, changing her whole life and future and those of Saengo’s, Sircha proves herself to be even more adaptable, strong and skilled, relying on her training and bond with Saengo, looking for answers, eager to do something to save her friend and her country, fighting for beliefs she believes in, her loyalties tested when she discovers the cruelty and intrigues of her queen. Forest of souls is full of wonderful and intense characters.
Besides Sircha, Saengo is brilliant, loyal, a true friend and their relationship and sisterhood is one of the things I loved the most in this book. How both of them would do anything for the other, how they are bonded, how they love and trust one other implicitly.
Theyen is another complex figure and I really liked his sarcasm and the way he and Sircha bicker and prince Meilik is a wonderful written character, whose loyalties and beliefs are constantly tested throughout the whole book, pushing him to chose and I liked his relationship with Sircha, how it changes from prince and subject, to commander and soldier to become allies and friends. Intense and ambigous are the characters of Kendara and Ronin and I really need to know more about them and what will happen in the next book to this wonderful and skilled characters.
Overall, I really loved Forest of souls, the story was thrilling and captivating and the characters are impossible not to love and cheer on. I can’t wait to have this book in my hands and I will wait devoutly for the sequel!