Sirscha Ashwyn is convinced that earning a place as the queen’s spy will finally transform her from an orphan with no past into a warrior with a purpose. But when a deadly encounter with shamans results in the death of her best friend, Saengo, Sirscha is shocked to discover the incredible power within herself—power that reveals itself by bringing Saengo back to life. Together, Sirscha and Saengo are thrown into the midst of a sprawling clash among kingdoms and magical powers. Their path leads them into the Dead Wood, a forest possessed by spirits and ruled by the mysterious and ancient Spider King.
Lori M. Lee’s Forest of Souls plunges readers into a fast-paced narrative and captivates with an expansive, lore-filled world that juxtaposes lush fantasy with horror and violence. Thiy, a continent home to creatures both mundane and magical, is as sociopolitically complex as our own world. The obstacles Sirscha and Saengo must confront there reflect the internal challenges they face: Bloody battles and terrifying spirits go hand-in-hand with fear, prejudice and loss.
Lee’s pacing propels the story relentlessly forward as she explores themes of identity, confidence and sisterhood. The revelation of Sirscha’s magical power ultimately forces her to question everything she believes about her loyalties and her values, and Lee isn’t afraid to be as honest about how she depicts her characters’ failures as she is in celebrating their moments of triumph. Readers will be hooked by Forest of Souls’ appealing fantasy narrative, but it’s Sirscha, a girl from nowhere who, against all odds, learns to recognize her power and worth, who’ll win their hearts.