Book Review: Forest Born (Books Of Bayern #4), by Shannon Hale

Forest Born (The Books of Bayern, #4)Forest Born by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Forest Born (Books Of Bayern #4), by Shannon Hale
★★★★

Synopsis: Rin is sure that something is wrong with her…something really bad. Something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest homestead where she’s lived all her life. Something that is keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all. When her brother Razo returns from the city for a visit, she accompanies him to the palace, hoping that she can find peace away from home. But war has come to Bayern again, and Rin is compelled to join the queen and her closest allies—magical girls Rin thinks of as the Fire Sisters—as they venture into the Forest toward Kel, the land where someone seems to want them all dead. Many beloved Bayern characters reappear in this story, but it is Rin’s own journey of discovering how to balance the good and the bad in herself that drives this compelling adventure. Once again, Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale brings readers to a world where great friendships, unexpected plot twists, and a little dose of magic make for incredible storytelling.
In A Sentence: Not my absolute favorite in the series, but still a lot of fun.

My Thoughts: Now that I’ve finished all four books in this series, I would say my two favorites in the series are The Goose Girl and River Secrets, while Enna Burning and Forest Born tie for second place.
This was a decent read with lots of great qualities. First off, my feminist side absolutely loves how little a role the men play in this story. Every time they made an appearance they were either sent on their way, or got into trouble and had to be rescued. Isi, Enna, Dasha, and Rin are the ones who do all the fighting in this story, and I find that to be very inspiring.
I have to admit that Rin’s character annoyed me at first, however. I found her character to be extremely weak and cripplingly shy, and the scenarios in her childhood that had a huge impact on her inability to speak up seemed so trivial and unimportant. Towards the end of the novel, however, many things were brought to light, and everything made sense. So if you are reading this book, don’t do what I did and judge Rin too quickly.
Razo is still, by far, my favorite character in the series. I was listening to the audio version of the tale and the guy who narrated Razo’s voice played the part perfectly! Isi would be another strong favorite of mine, possibly because of how much I relate to her: she’s kind (I’m kind!), she’s understanding (I’m understanding!), she’s married to a wonderful guy (so am I!), she’s got a kid (I have a cat!)…I definitely love Isi.
The plot went in a similar direction as the other three novels: all of them are tales about finding one’s own inner strength and abilities. The plots all move in a predictable fashion, and the twists are easy to spot. But that doesn’t stop the stories from being really enjoyable, nor does it detract from Shannon Hale’s simple, but well-worded, writing style.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and I loved this series as a whole. These stories are perfect for teenage girls, and I’m sure some boys would really like River Secrets. This is a fun series for adults too, since there isn’t any annoying teen angst, and Isi is a very mature young woman who provides a great anchor for the adult audience. If you like fairy tales with strong female leads, then this is the series for you!


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