Forest of Souls (Shamanborn, #1) by Lori M. Lee – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Publication Date: June 23, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads | Amazon

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. 

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me an e-arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I LOVE me some Asian Fantasy, so I was really excited to read this one!

It started off with a really strong start. It started off with Sirscha getting back from a mission and talking with her mentor about being this really cool shadow assassin then meeting up with her best friend then you come to find out they ride drakes. So freaking cool. I was so invested from the beginning! Sirscha has a mysterious past, she’s has crazy fighting skills, and she’s sassy. I liked her.

However, the story just didn’t get really far after that. It felt like being on a roller coaster and anticipating the drop but it never comes. She had plenty of adventure but they were all short trips where nothing actually happened. Until the very end. Like the last 5% of the book. Then it ends on a cliffhanger. I liked that part but the majority of the book was a bit lackluster. The beginning and the end were intense but the whole middle was just not.

Things I liked. There is no romance in this book. And that’s totally fine! It stands completely on it’s own! However, I am totally shipping Sirscha and Theyen. Theyen was my favorite. He is mysterious and brooding and sassy. More of him please! I also really liked the magic system. It was very Avatar-y except add in shadow magic and soul magic. It was so cool!

I do want to read book 2. I think this series has a lot of promise so I am excited about that. I also liked the authors writing!

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1) Spoiler Free Review

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Inkyard Press (Harlequin Teen)

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Genre: YA, Asian, Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

| AMAZON


“One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.”

I almost rated this 5 stars but the beginning didn’t suck me in like I wanted it to. However, this ended up being freaking awesome. It was surprisingly funny, cute, and bloody. It had adventure, fighting yokai, demons, rescues, and literally everything I want in a book. Romance is a slow burn which is my favorite!

Okame was probably my favorite character. He added some hilarious sarcastic remarks. I want him to live and be happy and maybe end up with Reika? I mean, I know I’m reaching here but they would balance each other so perfectly!

Yumeko is probably my favorite heroine I’ve read about in a long time! She was wonderfully naive in the fact that she didn’t know she was pretty. And not in the annoying, “well I’m ugly, blah blah blah, but really I’m so pretty” way. She just didn’t think about her looks. I loved that. She didn’t understand sarcasm which resulted in some funny moments. And I really liked that she played pranks. She seems like someone I would want to be friends with!

Tatsumi, and I’ve never used this term before, is a cinnamon roll. Yep I said it. I love this character so much. He is brooding but not in a refreshing way. Let me explain, instead of being like, “poor me poor me” he was just like, this is how I was raised, I don’t know any different.

I loved the adventures they all have. There are multiple fights and escapes and I was excited about all of them. I also enjoyed that Yumeko kept picking up “strays” (a little pun there) to add to their party. And Tatsumi was always annoyed when she did this.

I loved this book so much. You should go read it.