Sunday, 3 October 2010

Forest Born by Shannon Hale

July 2010, Bloomsbury
400 pages, Paperback
Review copy

YA Fantasy
Content: death, violent injury (though not graphic at all), danger and suspense in places, piercing insights into the human condition

Summary from Bloomsbury Children's Books:
Rin, Razo’s little sister, is haunted by the forest she has always loved. When Razo invites her back to the city to be one of Queen Ani’s waiting women, she happily accepts . . . only to end up on the adventure of her lifetime, following the queen, Enna and Dasha into the countryside in search of a fire-starting enemy that no one can see. As she learns more about the three women’s magical talents, she finds her own strength comes from places both expected − the forest − and unexpected − the sound of her own voice.

A brilliant addition to the Books of Bayern, this book is a treat for fans of this series, and stands alone for readers who might be discovering the joys of Shannon Hale’s writing for the first time.

Amy's thoughts:
This book is not plot-twisty. I predicted what would happen in most instances, including the big 'reveal' of the book. This book is not fancy, with a cast of thousands. This book is one of the best I've ever read, and will stay with me for the rest of my life.

This book has worldbuilding that will delight anyone who truly loves magic - the languages of the world, the languages that every living thing speaks, one for each species, and the rare people who can learn to understand these languages.

This book has characters who hurt, who suffer, who hide and flee and fight - who grow and develop and change into real, beautiful people, who I want for my best friends.

This book is deep and precious, and speaks of the quietest, most important things in life: Love who you are. Love others. Speak no harm. Seek no harm. You are as you decide, not as you are born.

This book even has explosions, for those who desire such things - the firespeakers make sure of this!

But centrally, this book is a book about 'just a girl', a girl who fears herself and isn't convinced she's a good person; a girl who fears and angers and hurts and gets confused. A girl who doesn't want to be brave, but knows that she loves her friends and family most of all; a girl who travels the world to remember that home fits her best of all. In short, a girl who represents so many of the secret fears and longings of my own heart that this book is almost a fairytale of my own life. Only not quite, because it's actually the fairytale of one of my friends ;) :D

I can't offer you - I don't want to offer you, don't need to offer you - anything more about this story, except to say that it is gentle, it is beautiful, and it is important. And if you haven't read the others in the series (as I haven't, but will be soon), you'll be fine.

This book is what reading is all about - finding the essence of humanity within us and being reminded that It Is Good.

Final conclusion:
I love this book more than gushy or even eloquent words could say.

To find out more about Shannon Hale and her marvellous books, and to read first chapters, deleted scenes and more, head to Squeetus, Official Site of Shannon Hale.

1 comment:

Nayuleska said...

Something tells me this is a good book! Thanks for the review Amy x