Forest Born by Shannon Hale

Forest BornSummary: Razo’s little sister Rin used to find peace by listening to the trees that surround her home in the Forest. Lately, however, she has not felt as welcomed, so when Razo comes home from the capital for a visit, she decides to return to the city with him. As a waiting woman for Isi at the palace, Rin quickly becomes attached to the two-year-old Prince Tusken. When his safety is threatened, she joins an adventure that will lead her, Isi, Enna, and Dasha to Kel where they must confront a queen who is ordering new fire-witches to burn Bayern towns.

Forest Born is the fourth Book of Bayern, following The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, and River Secrets.

Review: Hale weaves a fresh plot and leads her readers to a new kingdom once again in Forest Born. This time the adventure takes place in Kel, where the language is beautiful and lilting, the women wear dangling sleeves and “darling” hats, and a mysterious queen is trying to kill the royal family of Bayern. Hale certainly has a knack for depicting new cultures, and it does not fail here. Equally enchanting is a more in-depth look at the workings of the Forest, which has been featured in her previous books but not this prominently.

Forest Born has a quieter feel than the other Books of Bayern because Rin is an initially uncertain character who must discover herself as the story progresses. She also has a way with trees, a less ostentatious skill than Enna’s burning or Razo’s humor and personal charm. The way Hale writes each book to match the personality of her character is truly a gift, and fans will love this addition to the series as long as they’re not expecting anything too flashy.

Published: 2009

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