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The Forest God

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  40 reviews
The Forest God, incarnated into the body of hare, ready to die and live again.

The Apprentice Witch, outcast and unwanted, unsure of her path.

The Young Lord, frivolous and rootless, inconsiderate of his duties.

Their three souls should be bound to a cycle of death and sacrifice, responsibility and rebirth. But the bonds lie broken and shrouded in mystery. The wood remains
Paperback, 82 pages
Published June 5th 2020 by Air and Nothingness Press
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Average rating 4.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  54 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Ola G
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
8/10 stars

My full review can be found on my blog here.

A wonderful little story reminiscent of works by Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones, The Forest God is a feel-good literary adventure full of witches, quests, lord’s sons, love and duty. Who wouldn’t want to read one of those?

The Forest God reincarnates once again – this time into the body of a hare. He’s been many creatures before, predators and prey, and he had tasted and given blood in the unending circle of life and death. Even the bo
Beth Cato
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2021, novella
What a gorgeous novella! I started it, thinking to read a few pages, then had to finish the whole thing in one setting. The flow is effortless, the feel incredibly cozy and warm and good. This is a book is nestle into when the real world is awful, for a necessary reminder that people aren't so bad.

The story follows three viewpoints: that of an apprentice witch convinced of her ugliness and lack of lack, a lord's son who is tactless and ignorant, and a Forest God, recently reborn as a hare. Thes
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Netgalley and the publisher, for providing an e-arc for me to read!

The Forest God follows three characters:
Margery is a half-Witch: she's been apprenticing with the village's Witch for fifteen years now. Soon, she will take her vows and with it, the Witch's place. She's ready. The way she left fifteen years ago, she severed all connections to the village except for her sister.
We also meet the Young Lord Hugh, who wants to get to the end of a little mystery concerning his family.. an
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
read on my blog

“What does it mean to be loved by the Forest God?”

The Forest God is a fairytale that delves into the concept of duty, love, and the Ancient Celtic tradition of marriage of the land.
This short novella explores its characters and their dynamics very well for 80 pages only. The narration of a God adds a unique touch to the story, and its character arc – a god’s humanisation – was something deeply interesting to see. As was its counterpart: a human’s sanctification.

The novella follo
Mer Mendoza (Merlyn’s Book Hoard)

“Even if you knew you’d start a new life tomorrow, would you want to die today?”

I was drawn to this book by its cover; for about six years now, I have made it a point to conduct an annual re-read of Richard Adams’s book Watership Down. You can probably guess why a fantasy featuring a dramatic rabbit illustration on the cover caught my eye. (Although it is in fact a hare, not a rabbit, on this cover). At a quick 80 pages, this poetic and magical little novella packs a punch.

The story is a delig
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read this novella before publication and I can't recommend it highly enough. The story is beautiful, lyrical, fun, and romantic in all the right ways. ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A retelling of the Celtic myth of sacred land marriage, this fantasy adventure will appeal to fans of Robin McKinley's novel Chalice. Margery, the down-to-earth, quick-witted Witch's apprentice, and Hugh, the clueless, feckless young Lord, seem destined to irritate each other, especially when Hugh's arrow nearly kills the Forest God (embodied as a hare) outside the Witch's cottage. As Margery nurses the hare back to health, a grudging respect grows into a shared quest to restore the bond between ...more
Douglas Gwilym
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A breezy novella of witches, lords, and territorial gods that explores the age-old dichotomy of career vs. home life. A modern medieval fable wherein love may not conquer all....
Courtney Smith
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The Forest God would have never before suspected that simple domesticity could be so pleasant. It had never understood humans before, had never gained any insight into why they lived as they did. But now it could see the appeal of a warm hearth, of regular meals, of the company of loved ones."
— Jamie Lackey, The Forest God


I'm a firm believer that there is a perfect format for every story. Some are best told over hundreds or thousands of pages, while others need only utilize the quiet
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I received an e-book ARC of The Forest God from NetGalley and Air and Nothingness Press in return for my honest review, which follows below. I thank both for this opportunity.

I finished this in one sitting, partly because novellas are good for quick reads by definition but also because I was swept up by this seemingly simple but incredibly moving story. I wanted to finish so I knew how it ended, but I was mourning it because well, it would be over and there would be no more words to this story.
Sophie M
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received The Forest God by Jamie Lackey for free by Air & Nothingness Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for getting in touch with this great opportunity! This review is also on my blog - Book, Blog & Candle.

In The Forest God we follow three lives that all become entwined. Margery, the witch's apprentice, hardened and isolated from the cruel world who judge her harshly on her appearance. As a result she has low confidence in herse
Zandt McCue
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Forest God is a pleasant short story that I imagine could fit in any modern collection of fairy tales. I'm very fond of it as it brings me back to stories from my childhood. Not everything in the world has to be a grand epic. As I read I thought this would be a perfect story to read in class. As a fairy tale, it is enjoyable for people of all ages.

In short, it is the story about a Witch's Apprentice and a Young Noble whose paths cross one day. The Noble has injured a Hare which is the curr
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: readtoreview
Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

We have a set of amazing characters: Margery, Hugh and the Forest God are not lacking a single thing. They are well developed, with complex personalities and all three of them have a different voice.
And such amazing personalities they all have! But that’s not all! We also see personal growth. For all three of them. In less than 100 pages! Isn’t it great?? And in those few pages we really learn t
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jamie Lackey's "The Forest God" reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Dianna Wynne Jones, in its charming style and themes of connection to nature and community, as well as finding one's path in life. Humorous, romantic and thought-inspiring. The three main characters were all charming, but I definitely enjoyed the apprentice witch's arc quite a bit — she struggles with finding a connection with the townspeople whom she thought had rejected her, but eventually comes to understand that they v ...more
Jenn Scott
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the best story I've read in quite some time! The amount of worldbuilding that takes place in such a brief span is outstanding. Probably the thing that struck me the most was just how COZY this novella felt. While there are certainly some high stakes involved and some truly emotional scenes, the overall mood of the story is Studio Ghibli-esque levels of pure cottagecore serenity. I devoured the whole thing in one sitting after months of being too frazzled by quarantine news to read much o ...more
The Shakti Witch
Sep 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Author Jamie Lackey tackles the retelling of a Celtic myth in the form of this novella. Fans of whimsical cottage romance with a touch of fantasy will love this. It unfortunately did not resonate with me as I found the lack of character development lessened my interest in the story.

If you like folk tales with a splash of romance you will like this.

*eArc provided by the publisher and NetGalley
Jack Waddell
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"The Forest God" has a fairytale atmosphere, with a town nestled into a forest with a Forest God overseeing it all, in balance with the natural cycle. Lackey imbues her tale with such depth of character that you'll be drawn to follow them page by page. I've been a fan of Lackey's for a long time, and this has been my favorite story yet.
Violet Laflamme
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
What seems on the surface to be an extremely simple story actually turns out to be deeper and very touching.

What I liked:

I have a soft spot for hares, and I couldn't help but pick this up once I saw it involved a hare in such a main role. I was not disappointed as there were plenty of descriptions surrounding the Forest God in this form.

The characters are easy to connect to and their relationships are fleshed out more than you'd expect for such a short piece of fiction.

What I didn't like:

Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

What a simple, yet wonderful short story. Never have I ever felt so connected to the characters in so few pages. I didn't want to put it down. Jamie Lackey clearly has a talent and I'd like to see this story continue.
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is excellent and packs a lot into a short book. The author created excellent characters and put them in a moving tale with no superfluous words. Well done and recommended. I look forward to her next work!

Thanks very much for the review copy!!
This is a well crafted cozy folk story full of gentle yet vivid characters. Beautiful, descriptive world building in such a short novella is really impressive. The every day magic of this really reminded me of a Studio Ghibli film.

Thank you to the publisher for giving me access to this ARC!
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this novella in one sitting. Partially because it is a novella and partially because I was swept up in this simple, but beautiful story. Nothing is overdone in this novella. It isn’t too lean or too heavy in certain areas. It was crafted with precision, so even though I greatly enjoyed the story, I was very satisfied with the ending. I don’t need it to be extended or changed in any way. However, because it is so short I don’t want to say too much about the plot and give anything away. ...more
Lauren Jones
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written little novella that evoked classic folklore with every page. It was reminiscent of Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood with themes of sacrifice and duty to the land. For fans of mythology and folklore with a dash of romance this is a great read.

I was provided an eARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, netgalley
Thank you to the publishers, Air and Nothingness Press, for accepting my request to read this as an E-ARC. All opinions are my own.

This is a short novella about .... a love story and a forest god who's turned into a hare? It's been a few days since I put this down, and I can't remember anything about the story, which tells me that nothing about it was memorable enough to keep me interested in the story, the characters or the setting.

Therefore, I can't say much about this more than I liked the
Stormy's Book Nest
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
”Even if you knew you’d start a new life tomorrow, would you want to die today?” Hugh shrugged. “Would the new life be better than my own?”

This story reads like an old fashioned oil painting, full of quiet detail and natural beauty. It makes you feel like you could spend a comfortable afternoon just taking everything in and enjoying the way the light hits and changes the image.

Margery is a young apprentice to the village Witch who is tied to the land. It’s a position of great respect and inclu
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fascinating tale. The Witch's apprentice and the Young Lord of the village get entangled with the Forest God, when it's in the form of a hare and wounded. There are trials and tests of strength both physical and emotional. I adored the fairy-tale atmosphere, accomplished with beautiful descriptions and a classic quest for a power forgotten.

Best of all was witnessing everyone's parallel growth and change: the Witch, the Lord, and the Forest God, all. The scenes of domesticity paired with t
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Categories: Natural beauty (and nature’s beauty) / Minor royalty and woodland witches / A novella to curl up with

I adored this tightly told story about a forest god, the apprentice witch who serves him and the local village’s lord-in-waiting.
Lackey alternated each scene between the focal points of those three main characters, and in so doing was able to develop character, capture the imagination and keep the story going at a good clip.
The world is verdant and lush, and I fell into the story wit
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The depth of character and emotion packed in this short read is nothing less than amazing. I was instantly pulled into the world this bittersweet fable takes place in, feeling for the half-witch with a care that would only growth as she evolves with the unfolding of the story.

Alongside of her, a young lord and forest god are also on paths of self discovery wrapped in duty. It was truly stunning how much lore and world building took place. There wasn't a word wasted, and yet the prose was beautif
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Forest God is a book I could read over and over again. Jamie has created a magical world I regretted leaving at the end of the book, and characters I wished I could continue to visit. It’s a tale that could have come from an ancient book of myth and folklore, a tale that will stay with me forever. I hope she revisits this world, and perhaps even characters, in her future tales.

(I must add my rabbit also thoroughly enjoyed this tale, although I’m afraid he’s developed a bit of a complex and t
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Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cat. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in 2006 with a degree in Creative Writing. She studied under James Gunn at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction's Writer's Workshop in 2010 and has taken various workshops with Cat Rambo. She primarily writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories.

She has

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