About the Book:
Author: Elayne Audrey Becker
Page Length: 368
Publication Date: Aug. 31, 2021
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: TO BE BORN OF THE FOREST IS A GIFT AND A CURSE.
Rora is a shifter, as magical as all those born in the wilderness–and as feared. She uses her abilities to spy for the king, traveling under different guises and listening for signs of trouble.
When a magical illness surfaces across the kingdom, Rora uncovers a devastating truth: Finley, the young prince and her best friend, has caught it, too. His only hope is stardust, the rarest of magical elements, found deep in the wilderness where Rora grew up–and to which she swore never to return.
But for her only friend, Rora will face her past and brave the dark, magical wood, journeying with her brother and the obstinate, older prince who insists on coming. Together, they must survive sentient forests and creatures unknown, battling an ever-changing landscape while escaping human pursuers who want them dead. With illness gripping the kingdom and war on the horizon, Finley’s is not the only life that hangs in the balance.
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Rora is a shifter who lives among humans who distrust any kind of magic or supernatural ability. A spy for the king, Rora and her brother Helios were taken in by the royal family, and they have become particularly close with the youngest son, Finley. When Finley contracts a deadly disease that is running rampant through the kingdom, the king sends Rora to the magical wilderness she came from to obtain stardust, which should heal the sick. Helios and Finley’s older broth Weslyn accompany Rora on the quest. Throughout the story, the trio must learn how to trust each other, even though they are not close. Their complicated relationships are put to the test as they encounter ever-increasing danger and fight to save their kingdom and people.
I loved this story! The fantasy elements are unique and interesting, as is the world-building, and the author’s writing brings this world to life and creates an immersive and engrossing story. Though the plot has elements of the typical young adult quest story, it feels refreshingly unique. The animals, the magic, the terrain, and the other beings Rora, Wes, and Helios encounter are original, surprising, and unpredictable, which makes for an entertaining and suspenseful read.
Turns out, solitude is lonely, but being surrounded by people who want nothing to do with you hurts even worse.
Rora is a fascinating character and is a young woman who never quite feels like she fits in. She, and the rest of the characters, suffer through some very intense situations, including returning to the place where her father was brutally murdered. She shows such strength, intelligence, and bravery, and I love how capable she is even when she is afraid and everything seems hopeless. Rora is also vulnerable and insecure, and she doesn’t feel entirely comfortable in her own skin. I enjoyed all of the layers to her character and was totally invested in her story.
I also love the sibling relationship. Rora and Helios have their ups and downs, and they don’t always agree, but their love is unbreakable. They have been through so much together, and they are very committed to protecting each other and staying together. I love the messages about family and the bonds of love. These messages are also shown with the prince and his family. They are all so different, but there is nothing they won’t do for each other, and it is clear that there is a lot of love in his family.
There’s a ton of action, political intrigue, a deadly illness, a desperate search through dangerous wilds for a cure, and the uncovering of other shocking happenings during their journey. Loyalties are tested, and the characters have to make many difficult decisions that change the trajectory of their journey and their relationships. I found these aspects of the story really interesting.
There is danger in acting reactively.
There’s a wonderful enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn romance that I very much enjoyed. Rora and her love interest appear to dislike each other, but miscommunication and misunderstandings are what led to their strained relationship. As the pair gets to know and understand each other better, they develop strong feelings for each other. However, their relationship is riddled with complications, and I’m curious to see how they handle them as the series progresses. Another relationship is hinted at, and I’m curious to learn more about them and what prompted their separation. Hopefully, we will see more of this pair and their relationship in the next book.
Forestborn is a great young adult fantasy, and I would definitely recommend it to readers who like YA quest stories with fantastic world-building and characters. Thanks so much to Tor Teen, Elayne Audrey Becker, and NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The world building is fantastic and immersive!
- The enemies-to-lovers romance!
- The sibling relationship.
- The quest! I love a good quest story.
- The fantasy elements are unique and intriguing.
We cannot revive the past any more than we can escape it.
Fear is just a story waiting to be told.
It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been away. Each step forward feels like stepping into the past, back into that state of prolonged uncertainty and dread, teasing out threads of fear woven into my core.
You’re allowed to be affected by the past, you know. Remembering doesn’t make you weak.
This is a great story for readers who like action-packed YA quest fantasy with great characters and world-building!