Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shadow Forest” as Want to Read:
Shadow Forest
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shadow Forest

(Shadow Forest #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,000 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Samuel Blink is the hero of this story, but he doesn't know it yet. Right now, he and his sister Martha are in the back of his parents car. He has no idea a giant log is about to fall from the sky and change his life forever. He doesn't know that he and Martha will be forced to move to Norway and eat their Aunt Eda's smelly brown cheese. He hasn't the slightest clue Martha ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 3rd 2007 by Bodley Head (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,000 ratings  ·  153 reviews

Sort order
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: LS
My first audiobook for this year. I still prefer reading physical books but I trusted the taste of my friend LS who liked this so much. She is our supplier of audiobooks in our book club. I also decided to listen to this audiobook this week because my favorite morning radio program has become boring because the two lady DJs seem to have permanently left the station. I think their reason was they could no longer stand the nastiness and arrogance of their fellow but boss DJ.

I liked this fairy tal
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shadow Forest

I picked this up at Title Wave, the local used bookstore. I was a tad confused when I attempted to find out more about it on Amazon because it seemed as though you couldn’t buy a copy in the USA unless you’re buying a used copy. However, it turns out that in the USA it was published as Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest, which leads me to wonder if this is anything like the whole Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone versus Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone fiasco. Because
I was intrigued by this book because it is set in Norway and uses Norse folklore about trolls and huldre folk instead of the more standard YA fantasy Celtic or British mythology. However, the writing was nothing to excite and the characters, especially the main character Samuel, were unlikable. I'm all for giving characters life-like flaws, but the Blinks took it a little too far: needlessly rude, quarrelsome, ungrateful, and selfish. Possibly this would appeal to younger readers who fantasize a ...more
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trotz des Verbots ihrer Tante betreten die Geschwister Martha und Samuel den nahe gelegenen Wald. Dort ist nichts so ist, wie es scheint. Hinter jedem Baum lauern tückische Gefahren: Hinterhältige Pixies, die vergiftete Suppen kochen, Furcht einflößende Huldren, die anderen nach dem Leben trachten, Trolle mit zwei Köpfen, Trolle, die sich ein Auge teilen. Sie alle würden ein glückliches Leben führen, wäre da nicht der "Veränderer", der mächtige Herrscher des Waldes, der allen Wesen seinen Willen ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein düsteres Märchen mit einem etwas spröden Hauptcharakter, der aber gerade dadurch authentisch wirkt. Nach dem schrecklichen Ereignis am Anfang des Buches hätte auch nichts anderes gepasst. Durch die gesamte Geschichte zieht sich eine leise Melancholie, und ganz im Sinne klassischer Grimm-Märchen auch einiges an Grausamkeiten. Trotzdem ist es soweit kindgerecht und es gibt auch immer hoffnungsvolle und witzige (der zweiköpfige Troll, herrlich!) Momente. Für sehr zartbesaitete Kinder würde ich ...more
Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest is an exciting fantasy by Matt Haig. Samuel, 12, and his 10-year-old sister, Martha, live in Nottingham with their parents. As the story opens the family is in the car, heading for a surprise destination to celebrate Martha’s birthday. His sister is singing, his parents are arguing over the map and Samuel is hoping they aill arrive at a theme park. And then, in a bizarre twist of fate involving a truck hauling logs, Samuel and Martha’s parents are killed in ...more
Alice Radwell
The blurb, and the cover, had me believing I was in for a Lemony Snicket inspired adventure full of wit and satire, unfortunately, while the style attempts to mimic the dark, casual format of A Series of Unfortunate Events, it just isn’t able to commit. The author blinks in and out of addressing the audience with chatty writing, dipping frequently into traditional third-person story-telling, creating a confusion of styles that don’t sit well together. Just when one is starting to flow, the other ...more
I don't think that Matt Haig's Shadow Forest, is going to be one of the greats of children's literature, it will vanish into oblivion, and unlike Swallows and Amazons and Alice in Wonderland, it will not live on as long as there are children of whatever age in the world. Lord of the Rings it is not. It concerns two children, both very irritating, who despite being warned not to, go off into a wood, full of goblins and nasties. Jusat typical! They are captured, and one's sympathy is for there poo ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very similar to the Fairy Tale Detectives in overarching plot and character types, but I enjoyed this so much more. I believed it so much more, and the disobedience of the kids, while equally grievous in both cases, seems so much more reasonable here. A believable and highly entertaining (I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud) fantasy.
Natasha Scharf
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful and imaginative children's story that's been beautifully written with just the right amount of humour. I found it hard to put the book down and look forward to reading more of Matt Haig's work.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-series
I LOVEED this book!! I can't wait to read the 2nd one!!
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidsbooks, library
This is one of those books that I had varying feelings about. It's a little dark, starting with the death of the children's parents, which we are present for (unlike most books which begin with the children already being orphans). We are left with a very angry, hostile, and rude Samuel and his sister Martha who suffers from selective mutism. The children are whisked from everything that they've ever known to a dull existence in a nowhere kind of place in Norway--something sure to build sympathy ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 out of five stars

This book was so enjoyable. I had a great time reading it. The premise of this book was really simplistic but it was executed fantastically.
I would've given it five stars however I had some issues with some things that the main characters did.

Heidi Burkhart
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific fantasy for upper elementary students. Matt Haig rocks!
Colin Playford
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short book, but I like Matt Haig's writing style & humour.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun, well written fantasy book that I'd have really enjoyed if I'd have read it as a child. As an adult, it's still fun and easy to read through, but it misses some depth.
Laura Wallace
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whimsical and atmospheric, a dark children's story riven with Norse mythology.
Tobreth Hansen
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
except how did the black witch not die?
Michael Dubakov
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Good start, but too fast ending (the author stole the catharsis). Also second part of the book somehow lost all the humor of the first part.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a bit scary that's why it shouldn't have pictures. I don't know why horrors always have pictures of the scary things. If they didn't it wouldn't be so scary.
Gabriel Bumgardmer
I did not like the ending of the book and how Martha was disobedient, but the book itself was not that bad. Just about to read the 2 book
Emiliano Justice
Great book, it really showed me that you can find happiness anywhere
Raewyn Holmes
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rants and Bants
This was a nice little children’s fantasy book. The plot was original enough, and ominous. I’ve always been intrigued by mysterious forests. I like that it takes from Norwegian folklore and takes place in Norway, since I’m not as familiar with that country or the mythology. All of the creatures were really interesting, especially the family of trolls. They were pretty funny. I even felt bad for the villain, despite how terrible he was. The human characters were likeable, even though Samuel was b ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: form-1
In the novel, Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig, the authors main message is if one breaks serious rules there may be negative consequences. This story was written in first person from Samuel, Martha, and Aunt Eda. The two main characters, Samuel and Martha, have to move and live with their aunt in Norway, because their parents just died in a car accident. Aunt Eda's lived in a white wooden house with a steep sloping gray roof, a few miles outside of Flam, Norway. This house wa ...more
Stefani Sloma
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can also read this review and others on my blog, Caught Read Handed.

What I thought:

Chances are if you follow my blog, you are aware that I kind of (hahaha. Kind of. Yeah, right) LOVE Matt Haig’s The Humans. I also quite enjoyed The Radleys. I’ve been trying to find his other books here in the US, but some of them are a little hard to come by. I found Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest in our library system and immediately checked it out. Just like the other two, I LOVED it.

Matt Haig’s wri
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
September 1, 2016
Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest
I loved the book Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest. It was full of action, adventure, family, and tragedy. I think that you would enjoy this book of you liked the Otto and the Flying Twins. I enjoyed this books so much that I rated it 5 stars. I didn't have anything negative to say about this book. The things that I liked about it was the fact that it was a fantasy, it had many interesting words, names, and quotes, and I also liked had a
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Star parts: The beginning is very well built up. You know something is going to happen (I'll come to that bit in a minute). You get led to believe it's going to happen straight away, then it doesn't so you relax a little bit and then wham!

I loved the world of the Shadow Forest, the tunnels, the little houses, the little clues that something has gone awry here. In fact once Aunt Eda also entered the Shadow Forest, the reader is completely immersed in this world and its creatures, its culture and
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Norwegian folklore, Norwegian folklore galore :D Mythological creatures, trolls, witches, holdras, etc. Also a good, original plot and characters who move the story along. Samuel and his younger sister Martha are having to go live with their aunt in Norway after their parents die in a car accident. Neither of them are thrilled with having to live in a different country, with not only a different language and customs (such as the brown cheese their Aunt Eda makes them eat), but they are not at al ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Really really really good! I actually read the book in three sittings but had to keep leaving it, unfortunately.

Brilliantly paced, lovely imagery and the illustrations were wonderful.

We follow Samuel and Martha on their heartbreaking journey to Norway to stay with Aunt Eda when their parents are killed in a car accident. Eda is a great character, she has a dog called Ibsen but thats about the only thing she has in her home. Samuel decides he hates Eda but Martha hasn't since her parents died an
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Boy Who Could Fly
  • Otto and the Flying Twins (The Karmidee, #1)
  • Puddlejumpers
  • Here Be Monsters!
  • The Dead House
  • Candle Man: The Society of Dread (Candle Man, #2)
  • Broken Moon
  • Hear the Wind Blow
  • Unwritten
  • Zombie Tag
  • La guardiana perdida (Mystical, #2)
  • Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact (Darwen Arkwright, #1)
  • From Where I Stand
  • Mago por casualidad (Por Casualidad, #1)
  • The Silver Dolphin (Mermaid Curse, #1)
  • Urchin and the Rage Tide (The Mistmantle Chronicles, #5)
  • Till Death Do Us Bark (43 Old Cemetery Road, #3)
  • Damage
Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as 'delightfully weird' and the New York Times has called him 'a novelist of great talent' whose writing is 'funny, rive ...more

Other books in the series

Shadow Forest (2 books)
  • Samuel Blink and the Runaway Troll