Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Forest Born" lives up to the hype!

As soon as we decided to start the virtual book club, I headed to the local library's website. I looked up Forest Born and The Actor and the Housewife in the library system, but to no avail there were no copies available. Not only were there no copies available, but I was 40+ on the waiting list.

I decided I couldn't wait any longer; patience has never been a strength of mine. Therefore, I headed to Borders, b/c I had a 30% off coupon as a Border's member (which is free), and I bought Forest Born. I have several Shannon Hale books, and I figured I "needed" to add this one to my collection as well. It's a good thing my husband doesn't mind my ridiculously large personal library collection.
I loved the previous 3 books in the Bayern/Goose Girl series, and I was optimistic that I'd like Forest Born as well. Well, as you can see from my review below... I really enjoyed Forest Born! I would most definitely recommend this book, as well as the entire series. Though, I would suggest to read the series in order. Each of the books in the series are about different characters, but the books do build on each other, and it is helpful to have the previous information.
If you haven't read the series, or if you just haven't read Forest Born, I suggest you pick it up at your local library or bookstore. It is definitely worth it!

Book Title/Author: Forest Born (4th in the Bayern series)/Shannon Hale
Number of House Points awarded (out of 9): 8
First impressions (starting the book): A little confusing just b/c it had been awhile since I read the other books in the series. However, it took me less than 30 pages or so to be reminded of a few of the previous happenings in the other Bayern books.
Plot (excitement/interest & feasibility): The Bayern series does a great job of including the knowledge from the previous books; however, each book very much stands on its own. The plot is a little confusing at the beginning b/c you can’t quite figure everything out, but it begins to take shape at a good pace when the action starts to pick up.
Pacing: This had a decent pace. It wasn’t a constant page-turner, but I never had to push myself to keep reading. I definitely wanted to keep going.
Characterization (strong or weak characters/readers' connections to MCs, etc): The characters are strong, and you feel that you truly “know” them by the end of the story. You feel that you have been through the pain and struggle that they have, and you are now rejoicing in their accomplishment.
Originality (concept/subject/etc): The Bayern Series is a very original fantasy series to me. For those that like adventure as well as the princess and happily ever after will love these books.
Readability (vacation read v. heavy duty stuff): I don’t want to say this is a beach read, b/c that has the connotation that it is poorly written book, but fun topic. This book is easy to read b/c you come to love the characters, and the action is well written.
Writing quality (car lot commercial fare or poetic): Much closer to the poetic writing. She describes the powers and the connection to the trees very beautifully. At times, I felt it was similar to Kate DiCamillo’s writing.
Last impressions (finishing the book): Love it! Great story, great characters, and all around such an enjoyable read. I read it quickly, even though life was busy.
Contribution to the YA genre (obviously for some books this will just be n/a): Another great contribution to the series, and to YA genre. Shannon Hale does a great job of writing clean, well-written stories for the YA genre.


  1. Poetic like Patricia McKillip? Sorry, I haven't read DiCamillo. Just wondering.

  2. I actually haven't read an of McKillip's books. However, I'll read one and let you know what I think. Are there any that you recommend?

  3. I never really got into McKillip... maybe I never read the write books; I tried her twice. Hale's language is FAR more grounded than her's, from what I've read. Hale uses concrete metaphors tailored to the characters' realm of experience; McKillip is more figurative. I don't think one or the other is better, although Hale is a bit easier to read (I didn't have a problem reading McKillip, I just felt the 2 stories I read were a bit off.) I would be willing to try her again if you have any suggestions...