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Forest of Souls

(Shamanborn #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,839 ratings  ·  802 reviews
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 cent
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 23rd 2020 by Page Street Kids
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The Bronze of Immortality there is no romance in this book, but it's definitely tasteful and empowering!…morethere is no romance in this book, but it's definitely tasteful and empowering!(less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,839 ratings  ·  802 reviews

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Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
im a little conflicted with this story. while i have a generally positive feeling about it, i cant help but think about how it could be better.
sirscha is this really fierce MC, but there is no firsthand account of her training.

the main relationship is a friendship between sirscha and saengo, but they have very few memorable interactions.

there is a vast cast of characters with hints of being them complex individuals, but there is no in-depth development.

the world is full of different people and
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)

The 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," accor
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
JUNE FAIRYLOOT! We got two books. Click link to see the goodies.


4.5 Stars

Let’s first give credit to another Charlie Bowater cover! I wish she would put out a book of her art so I could buy it!

I absolutely love this dedication at the front of the book and the little spider hanging down!

I thought this book was awesome and yes, I’m looking forward to the next book!

This isn’t a spoiler so don’t get your panties in a wad, you can read it from the summary 😉

may ➹
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, but more sinister forces a
demi. ♡
Oct 09, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2020-release
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.🤣 ...more
Miranda Reads

Focus on the problems we have now. Not the ones you’re adding in your head.
Sirschia Ashwyn has spent years of her life training to become one of the elite spies for the queen...but even the best laid plans can come to ruin when your best friend is killed and you magically resurrect them.

Now that she's revealed to be a soulguide (an incredibly rare power), her journey truly begins.

A war is looming, and only a teenager with half-understood magic and plenty of convenient plot moments could save
Jun 04, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
another book with a spy protagonist that wants to overthrow the system? count me in
myo (myonna reads)
i really struggled to get through this book because of the lack of plot but other than that i enjoyed the characters and the banter between some of them. even the friendship, i enjoyed the main character a lot. i LOVED Ronin but like i stated there wasn’t much of a plot so this book was literally almost 400 of nothing. it’s a first in a series so i didn’t mind it lacked plot, romance or character development but that being said i do expect some of that in the sequel.
A.G. Howard
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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!
Lucie V.
✅ Gorgeous cover
✅ Original magic-system
🆗 Characters
🆗 World-building
🆗 Pace
🆗❌ Plot
❌ MC's almost insta-control over her magic

2.5 stars. I expected more...

The first problem for me was the development of the characters. The story follows Sirscha, an ordinary orphan who has longed to feel valued and to prove herself all her life. She has been trained by the queen's master spy for the last few years, allowing her to gain a useful set of skills: fighting, lock picking, being sneaky, etc. And that's a
Victoria BookLover
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
(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
Stephanie L
I normally don't prefer people on book covers, but she looks like she could kill me so ...more
Well, well.. another re-read has been knocked off my reading pile. Not even upset about it either but I do hate the whole waiting part now. Ugh, I wish I had the next book with me already but alas - I don't. I kind of want to cry but it's okay.. I will fight anyone to get my hands on the second book and then devour it.

I just have endless questions right now. Even though this was a re-read I definitely saw some things a bit differently than I did the first time around. Which is honestly a great t
Umairah | Sereadipity
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Forest of Souls was a magical read about the strength of friendship and developing self worth. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I really liked it!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5

The main character was Sirscha, a spy-in-training who discovers she is the first soulguide in living memory and the only one capable of restraining the vicious, dangerous Dead Wood. I loved her uncompromising fierceness, skill and strength- she was a force that you definitely woul
Sarah Henning
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 WHAT A CLIFFHANGER! Although I thought there wasn’t enough action at some points I think this was written pretty well. I would’ve liked more description of the world and all the different shadow born and shaman powers rather than just stating what they can do in the glossary. Some more depth of character would’ve been nice too, but I still REALLY enjoyed this story. Such a cool, interesting plot, with some very unexpected turn of events. I recommend this but I advise that you read this clo ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this one before I even started it. Pleased to report that it was really good! It started off feeling very much like the majority of YA fantasies I’ve read, but I quickly got sucked into the world and the story. The entire vibe of this one feels like older YA fantasy (and the comp that comes to mind is Tamora Pierce, though this is very different), and I was here for it. I also feel like this would make such an interesting anime film if someone wanted to adapt it... Suffice t ...more
3/5 stars

I have so many thoughts revolving around this book that i’ll be discussing in my July Wrap Up. My major cons with the book revolve around my lack of connection to the main character and relationships. I didn’t feel for them and even got for example MC and best friends dynamic enough to feel for it. As well as it just took me a while to get into the flow. I enjoyed the overall concept, the world building, and even the imagery Lori M. Lee created. If you are interested in a YA Fantasy wit
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2021
buddy read with Bopeep, Emily, and Hafsah

Tricked by a gorgeous cover.

I don’t know where exactly to start. This book has potential, but there are a lot of things that didn’t work for me. If there wasn’t an audiobook I don’t know how I would’ve made myself pick it up again because I had that problem even with the audiobook. However, even though the audiobook helped me finally finish the book, I concluded that maybe the audio version was making me not like it very much as the narrator was r
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
three words: BIG ASS SPIDER

Arc provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review (coming soon)
ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω
DTSreadathon hosted on Twitter

Holy shit this was an epically fun read! I'm totally blown away.

When I read the blurb when it first had one I knew it sounded amazing. I pre-ordered it and couldn't wait until it's release. Once it arrived I wanted to instantly delve into it's glorious depths, but didn't dare cause I was in the middle of a 2 and a half month long book slump that had already killed my enthusiasm for other anticipated books, so I held off. I wanted to wait until I had kicked the slum
Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Hear Our Voices Book Tours, Netgalley, and Page Street Kids for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

Clearly I am completely full of emotions all around because this book really just had me feeling all kinds of things. This is the first Lori M. Lee novel that I had the pleasure of reading – I
Zoë ☆

This was pretty cool! But for some reason the audiobook didn't continuously to grab my attention 🙈 I didn't relisten to some stuff so maybe I missed some bits 😅 I would also have loved for there to be a map, although the glossary was already a major help! Maybe in the next book?! Anyway, if the synopsis sounds cool to you I'd still recommend it! 🙌🏻
Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads)
**NetGalley ARC*"
I wanted to like this! The synopsis sounds really cool right? But sadly this didn't really work for me. This book feels very similar to "Truthwitch" with the big fantasy world, two girls that are best friends and the main character having the super rare special power. But with those similarities aside, the only things I liked was the cool world building and the lore with all the shaman powers, their crafts and a couple of the myths that are mentioned. But that's where my positiv
Rachel Kathryn Wright
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 ⭐️

This book at first was really slow paced, and it made me think I was not going to enjoy this story. But the world building was really good throughout the book. One of the problems I had was that the main character was already so fierce and independent and she seemed to already have a knowledge about everything. So, she did not really grow in this book, I think it would have been interesting to see her training to get to where she was in the beginning of this book. There are also not real
Céline (lumierewhispers)
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 🌟

"It is not from the world that I need acknowledgement of my worth."

Forest of Souls is a YA fantasy full of magic and myths inspired by Hmong shamanism. I loved Sirscha, the main character, and her growth throughout the book. Although I'd have loved to read more about her apprenticeship with Kendara, I really enjoyed her voice and how she slowly discovers herself and her magic. It's pretty rare these days, but there is no romance in this book — and I loved it. Sometimes it does feel a bit for
Emily (moonlight&moths)
Rep: Southeast-Asian inspired characters & setting

Check out my full review on my blog:

Forest of Souls contains the perfect blend of worldbuilding, unique magic, and incredible characters. YA fantasy really got lucky with an author like Lori writing books within its genre. Everyone go preorder this book NOW.
✨Emily | Procrastinating • Bibliophile
Buddy read with Mina, Bopeep and Hafsah.

Forest of Souls follows Sirscha Ashwyn, a lowly soldier in the Queen's Company who discovers that she is the first soulguide in centuries. Together with her best friend, Saengo, they must journey into the Dead Woods, ominous forest that can leach the life from living beings and serves as a barrier separating two kingdoms. At its heart, is the realm of the Spider King, Ronin. There, Sirscha will uncover secrets that will tip the precarious peace between
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

I wanted to love this book but unfortunately, this was kind of a snooze fest for me. I always have a hard time pointing out what makes me feel "meh" about a story and Forest of Souls is no exception. There were a few interesting moments but a majority of the time I wasn't really into it. I might still read the next book to see if I like it more but we'll see. I wish this book had been an LGBTQ+ read, it would have made things more interesting in my opinion with a romance between the FM
Jul 25, 2020 added it
Shelves: dnfed
I am gutted I ended up not enjoying this book, as Lori M Lee is very gentle, nice and attentivr with her fans, and the pre order swag for this book is amazing!

But there's some problems I am having with this book:

- we began the book completly lost. I was hoping things began to get explained as we moved on, but no. I felt like I was thrown in the middle of the book. How and why did oir MC get to the training grounds? In what consists the training? We see sparring and abuse.
- why the hate of the sh
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Lori is an avid writer, reader, artist, and lover of unicorns. She should probably spend less time on the internet (but she won't). She considers herself a unicorn aficianado, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. ...more

Other books in the series

Shamanborn (3 books)
  • Broken Web (Shamanborn, #2)
  • Untitled (Shamanborn, #3)

Articles featuring this book

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young...
68 likes · 18 comments
“For everyone who’s ever wondered if they were enough.” 6 likes
“Focus on the problems we have now. Not the ones you’re adding in your head.” 3 likes
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