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 Saengo.
And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.
Unveiled 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 for.
Danger 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.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 3 Stars
When a book is pitched as “perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard”, I sit up and take notice. I add it to my preorder list, I request a galley of it, I add it on Goodreads. These are all things I did IMMEDIATELY after reading the synopsis for Forest of Souls. It definitely didn’t hurt that the cover was easy on the eyes. Given that the book has been compared to books written by two of my favorite female authors, I had extremely high hopes. Hopes that were, unfortunately completely dashed by the middle of this book.
Don’t get me wrong, there were absolutely things that I liked about Forest of Souls! The plot on its own is great and had the potential to be absolutely incredible. The world and magic system created with unique and interesting. The bare bones of the book were great.
Unfortunately, the characters fell flat for me. Which characters, you may ask? Well, all of them. I loved the main character and her best friend in the first few chapters of the book, but somehow by the middle they had lost all personality. The snark, the banter, and all of the other things that I found intriguing about the two of them was gone. There was one character that I liked, Theyen. That being said, I only liked him because he was mean and it was entertaining. His entire personality boiled down to one word: mean.
The other character who intrigued me was the potential romantic interest. While there is no romance in this book, I feel that there is the potential for romance in future books. If he is indeed Sirscha’s romantic interest, I will definitely be curious to see how that progresses, as he was a character that I felt had dimension.
Additionally, the execution of the plot fell short for me. There were no scenes that really got my heart pounding or had me turning the pages hungrily. I felt that at any time, even in the middle of a fight or action scene, I could put this book down and walk away.
I really wish that this had been the book I was hoping for. As a debut, it had potential and I might pick up the sequel just to see where things go.