Forest of Souls (Shamanborn #1) by Lori M. Lee

Fantasy, 400 pages, published in 2020

Sirscha has been training for years to become the Queen’s spy, but all of her plans crumble when she discovers she has the shaman powers that are looked down upon in her country. Her best friend is killed, but she is able to bring her back to life, revealing her as the first soulguide in centuries.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Content Warnings: violence, body horror

This review is honestly going to be quite short because I came out of this book feeling almost nothing.

Right away, I was kind of disoriented in this world. Going into a new fantasy world is always hit or miss for me in ways I can’t really describe, but this one was a miss. I felt there was too much worldbuilding, but at the same time, not enough. There felt to be a lot of information in the beginning that wasn’t really necessary yet.

I don’t want to say this felt like a typical YA fantasy, because many elements of it were fresh, but there was definitely a familiar feeling when I started it. I do think the magic, the absence of a romance, and the focus on friendship were definitely not typical. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with magic based on shamanism before.

Other than that, I just didn’t feel a connection to this book. I didn’t have a reason to care about Sirscha, or her best friend Saengo, or what problems they were facing. I was confused about a couple things (possibly my fault because I fell asleep listening to this and didn’t make a huge effort to go back and understand) that ended up hindering how much I cared about the outcome of this book.

I don’t think this was a bad book, I just don’t think that it was for me.

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