Sirscha Ashwyn Comes From Nothing, But She S Intent On Becoming Something After Years Of Training To Become The Queen S Next Royal Spy, Her Plans Are Derailed When Shamans Attack And Kill Her Best Friend SaengoAnd Then Sirscha, Somehow, Restores Saengo To LifeUnveiled As The First Soulguide In Living Memory, Sirscha Is Summoned To The Domain Of The Spider King For Centuries, He Has Used His Influence Over The Dead Wood An Ancient Forest Possessed By Souls To Enforce Peace Between The Kingdoms Now, With The Trees Growing Wild And Untamed, Only A Soulguide Can Restrain Them As War Looms, Sirscha Must Master Her Newly Awakened Abilities Before The Trees Shatter The Brittle Peace, Or Worse, Claim Saengo, The Friend She Would Die ForDanger Lurks Within The Roots Of Forest Of Souls, An Epic, Unrelenting Tale Of Destiny And Sisterhood, Perfect For Fans Of Naomi Novik And Susan Dennard


10 thoughts on “Forest of Souls

  1. Lori Lori says:

    To request an ARC, please send an email with your info to Lauren Cepero at laurenc pagestreetpublishing.comTo request via NetGalley first line of this book The earth is black with last night s rain a perfect morning for shadows Thematically, Forest of Souls is about fighting to belong against every effort to push you out It s about loyalty driven by insecurity and searching for self worth It s about unconditional female friendship It s also abo To request an ARC, please send an email with your info to Lauren Cepero at laurenc pagestreetpublishing.comTo request via NetGalley first line of this book The earth is black with last night s rain a perfect morning for shadows Thematically, Forest of Souls is about fighting to belong against every effort to push you out It s about loyalty driven by insecurity and searching for self worth It s about unconditional female friendship It s also about a spy in training whose chosen path is upended, landing her under the scrutiny of a Spider King.This isn t an Asian fantasy, according to my own definitions it might be, according to yours, and that s okay But it is Asians in fantasy It s a mishmash of my favorite western fantasy tropes alongside bits of my own cultural influences and a magical system inspired by Hmong shamanism.When I began writing this as a NaNoWriMo ms way back in 2014, I didn t realize then that it would become the sort of book I needed growing up as part of the Asian diaspora Even as I fell in love with the medieval ish fantasy genre, I felt painfully excluded from it So this book features Asian coded characters being warriors and shamans, queens and mentors, villains and friends, all within a secondary world fantasy.I can t wait for you to read it Artist artoflore_ on Instagram


  2. may ➹ may ➹ says:

    if the girl on this cover came to life and stepped on me all I m saying is I would not complain Forest of Souls is a YA fantasy filled with culture and magic inspired by Hmong shamanism It follows Sirscha, whose life is suddenly disrupted after an attack kills her friend Saengo, and Sirscha accidentally brings her back to life She s taken under the Spider King and is tasked to attempt to control the Dead Wood, a creepy forest full of the souls of the dead, butsinister forces a if the girl on this cover came to life and stepped on me all I m saying is I would not complain Forest of Souls is a YA fantasy filled with culture and magic inspired by Hmong shamanism It follows Sirscha, whose life is suddenly disrupted after an attack kills her friend Saengo, and Sirscha accidentally brings her back to life She s taken under the Spider King and is tasked to attempt to control the Dead Wood, a creepy forest full of the souls of the dead, butsinister forces are at play than she realizes.While I unfortunately hadnegative things to say about this book than positive, I still was able to enjoy it to some extent I had issues with the actual craft of the story, but there were also some things that were just personally not for me, so they could possibly work for you WHAT I LIKED It is not from the world that I need acknowledgement of my worth. After trudging through the first third of the book, I flew through the rest really quickly I m not sure why or how I was able to read so much in so little time, but the writing was simple for me to read and get into after a rough beginning There are lots of plot events to keep you on your toes during the middle and end,I really loved that there wasn t a romance So many YA fantasies are focused on romance, and while I love reading it, I d like to see other types of relationships written about as well This one is definitelyfocused on Sirscha s friendship with Saengo, as well as Sirscha s own individual journey, and not having a romance was so refreshing Especially when there are two male characters, who I feel like would have been a part of a love triangle in any other book Sirscha s story is one of worth, and how we often tie our own self worth to other people She thought her value as a person was based on what she could offer as a spy to the queen, or a soulguide for the Spider King, but by the end she learns to beindependent and do things for herself, and I appreciated that.The worldbuilding was interesting to me, and I thought it was decently done There are a few info dumpy parts, and I wished certain aspects had beenexpanded upon, but there s a very helpful and descriptive glossary It draws on Hmong culture, and I loved reading about the inclusion of shamanism and magic WHAT I DIDN T LIKEThe beginning is so slow I first started reading it a month ago and I read about 100 pages But I genuinely thought I d only read 50 pages because it had moved so slowly, and I couldn t believe that I d read so much while so little had happened.This book is absolutelyplot driven than character driven, meaning that Sirscha didn t have that much of an active role in the story As someone who really cares about characters and their arcs, I wasn t the right audience for a plot driven book, and I just wanted to see a lotfrom the characters.Honestly, there was just so much potential with Sirscha that wasn t tapped into I wish we could have seenof the skills she d picked up while training to be a spy, or her shamanic soul magic craft Her magic was the one thing I didn t really understand from the worldbuilding There were also hints of her being scarily indifferent to killing others or having power over them, and I was so sad that that kind of darkness wasn t developedOn top of that, Sirscha declared certain things that were supposed to be empowering to support her character growth, and I feel like that s a kind of common thing in YA that I ve outgrown I just personally like my character development to besubtle, so seeing that kind of mental announcement made her growth feel cheap to meI was afraid Not for my life I was afraid of being invisible, a fear I ve held close from the moment I was old enough to understand that I d been abandoned with no true name. I said before that I liked that there was no romance, but I wanted to seefrom their friendship before Saengo was killed I didn t care about their close bond enough to feel something about how their relationship was disrupted by her death and subsequent reviving, so their friendship didn t have as much of an impact on me Overall, actually, a lot of the book was built up on little twists or reveals, but they fell flat because they hadn t been developed, so it was just like okay cool why does this matter My last complaint is that there was a very detached feeling with the book in general I can t tell if it s me who couldn t connect to Sirscha, or if the writing was at fault and didn t portray Sirscha s emotions well, but was frustrating to read because I never felt like I was transported to this world I feel like I could have enjoyed this book so muchhad I been able to immerse myself in it Also, I m going to be real honest There s a sassy side character named Theyen and he provided all the entertainment If only there could have beenfrom him, or just less dryness from the other characters CONCLUSIONI m conflicted on how I should feel about this Because on one hand, lots of things were just so eh to me that I didn t care, but on the other hand, I genuinely was interested to see where the story went at one point and flew through the book But unfortunately overall, this book fell flat.I think things end on an intriguing cliffhanger, so I m actually, cautiously interested in reading the sequel especially to see if Sirscha s character arc becomes darker , if that is any reassurance This might not be for you if you re a fan of books that focuson characters, like me, but if a plot driven fantasy with captivating worldbuilding and magic sounds up your alley, I d recommend checking this outrep Asian coded cast content warnings death murder including loved ones , battle violence, imprisonment, mentions of mutilation, loved one with disease infection, spidersThank you to Page Street Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review This did not affect my opinion in any way.All quotes are taken from an advance copy and may differ in final publication


  3. ♡ ᴅ ʀ ᴇ ᴀ ᴍ ♡ ♡ ᴅ ʀ ᴇ ᴀ ᴍ ♡ says:

    Why does every book in 2020 seem to have gorgeous cover This year I think I m broke already but next year, I bet I m gonna go bankrupt.


  4. Nick Nick says:

    another book with a spy protagonist that wants to overthrow the system count me in


  5. ♠ TABI ♠ ♠ TABI ♠ says:

    someone yeet me into 2020 so I can land at the feet of this book and its flawless cover someone yeet me into 2020 so I can land at the feet of this book and its flawless cover


  6. A.G. Howard A.G. Howard says:

    Lori Lee has a gift for writing relatable characters and crafting intricate worlds and magic And that villain shudders Looking forward to the next book in the series


  7. Victoria Booklover Victoria Booklover says:

    I forgot to thank the publisher for this ARC Thank you Page Street Kids for sending it to me Another Charlie cover that I let compel me I should have known And yes if Charlie does art for a book I m gonna try it Sue me.Listen, I love Charlie s art Love it so much that it hypes me up for the books she draws covers for, but the last few that I ve tried where she was the cover artists, I wasn t too happy with This one included Sirscha wasn t a heroine who became REAL to me I learned nothi I forgot to thank the publisher for this ARC Thank you Page Street Kids for sending it to me Another Charlie cover that I let compel me I should have known And yes if Charlie does art for a book I m gonna try it Sue me.Listen, I love Charlie s art Love it so much that it hypes me up for the books she draws covers for, but the last few that I ve tried where she was the cover artists, I wasn t too happy with This one included Sirscha wasn t a heroine who became REAL to me I learned nothing about HER as a person Her personality was so shallow and surface level that the only think she thought about was the plot and her friend Saengo I wanted her to have a sense of presence, I wanted her to exist I craved the moment when she would feel real to me, but she didn t That kept me very detached from novel, and I found myself just reading the words rather than actually soaking in the story The secondary characters didn t really aid in this issue Theyen was the only redeeming entity of this book besides the conclusion which we will get to Continuing on though, love a sassy boy with pointed ears, and Theyen was that boy in every way Unfortunately Lori didn t utilize him time the best of her ability, because I think he could have been muchinvolved in the story, and he could have lent a hand to the rest of bland characters with his wit Meilik and Saengo were also just mediocre I felt nothing towards them.Saengo is supposed to be this best friend we mourn for, but Lori doesn t make me care about her death And she doesn t paint the necromantic moment that occurs right after that in an exciting enough way to where I was intrigued by it.The magical system fell flat to me Sirscha barely even tapped into her powers All but three times with no training or growth to show for it when she used them at the end There was no struggle, no fight for her strength, it was just there when it needed to be It was convenient.I wished I understood the plot I really do I read some reviews where they said that it was messy and all over the place, sadly I m inclined to agree There were about three different things whether that be goals or events that were happening and none of them felt like they connected They were all separate entities and it felt like Lori was trying to messily balance them all, but never weave them together It s really sad to have to say I didn t very much enjoy this book Not until those last 2 pages when things FINALLY started to click Finally And even then I was still confused.Needless to say Lori hooked me enough to read the next book because I need to knowabout the thing that occurs at the end Other than that, Forest of Souls sadly wasn t enjoyable


  8. Stephanie L (catteabooks) Stephanie L (catteabooks) says:

    I normally don t prefer people on book covers, but she looks like she could kill me so


  9. Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin says:

    JUNE FAIRYLOOT We got two books Click link to see the goodies JUNE FAIRYLOOT We got two books Click link to see the goodies


  10. Sarah Henning Sarah Henning says:

    Enchanting world building, non stop action, political intrigue, and dark magic are woven into the silky yet fast paced daydream of a fantasy that is FOREST OF SOULS Using shadows and light, Lori M Lee casts the perfect web of unforgettable characters and an intriguing plot you won t want to escape.