When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen.
The Forest QueenFeatured
Cornwell’s writing is lush and descriptive, and I can sense inspiration from Ireland, where she’s currently living. This style gave the story a magical, fairytale feel with a contemporary update. Cornwell includes subtle political commentary, particularly about feminism, freedom, and women’s relationships to each other. She also calls Silvie and her group "revolutionaries," citing living as rebellion “if someone doesn’t care whether you live or die.” This quote, and book, inspires those who feel destitute and encourages them to forge their own way. Cornwell also has diverse characters, addresses gender norms, and presents teenage pregnancy in a new light.
Overall, I love the idea of this book, but there were multiple times that I was completely lost and had no clue what was happening. The action wasn’t clear and I couldn’t visualize the events as they occurred. Also, I wasn’t fully satisfied with the culmination of Silvie and Bird’s relationship. Cornwell does a great job at creating the sexual tension between the two friends for the entire novel, but there’s minimal payoff. We know they will eventually get together, but the scene when they express their love for each other doesn’t do the buildup justice.
With that being said, I did enjoy the book on a whole and would recommend it to anyone looking for a story of fantastical whimsy with a kick-butt female protagonist.