Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Books of Bayern #4
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Ever since her brother Razo introduced her to the trees, Rin has turned to them for peace or reassurance, even direction--that is, until the day they seem to reject her. Rin is sure something is wrong with her, something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest, from trusting herself with anyone at all.
When Razo returns to the city after a visit home, Rin accompanies him to the palace in hopes of finding a new sense of herself. But a mysterious threat haunts Bayern, and Rin joins the magical girls she thinks of as the Fire Sisters--Isi, Enna, and Dasha--as they venture into the woods toward the kingdom of Kel ... where someone wants them dead. Summary from Back Cover
I decided to read Forest Born for Utah Book Month (a month early, but still). I read The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, and River Secrets six years ago, so I was worried I wouldn’t remember much going into Forest Born. Fortunately, I remembered the most important parts and I was able to use Wikipedia for the others.
I really liked Forest Born, but not quite as much as the other three. Rin, the protagonist, was younger than the protagonists in the other three novels by a couple of years. In a YA novel that may not seem like much, but it is. I couldn’t relate to Rin as well and I didn’t like that there was no love interest in this one. At least I had Isi and Geric, Enna and Finn, and Razo and Dasha. I also didn’t like the tree-speaking gift quite as much as the wind-, fire-, and water-speaking gifts. The way Shannon Hale portrayed the gift seemed a little weird to me.
Other than those two things, though, I liked being back in Bayern and seeing my favorite characters. I liked being around the speaking gifts and seeing how they all intertwined with one another. And, I liked the elements of the story that required the fire sisters, as Rin calls them, to do what they did.
The story is left open enough that I think Shannon Hale could write more stories in this universe. But, it was left with enough closure that these four books could just be it. If Forest Born is the last one for sure, I’m glad I took the time to read each book. It was a fun ride.