Shannon Hales tale of Bayern continues in Forest Born. Rinna, Razos sister, has a power that she doesnt understand and cant necessarily control. She can convince people to do things they would not ordinarily do. Having used that power for selfish reasons, she is uncomfortable with herself. While communing with nature typically makes her feel wonderful and free, it now makes her scared and distraught. She needs a break from her routine.
Razos visit to his forest home from the castle provides such an opportunity. Seeing her unhappy, he suggests that she return with him to the city where he can secure her a position as a lady in waiting for the Queen. After mulling the offer over, she accepts, never realizing what she was getting herself into.
Rumors are heard that there is a Queen in neighboring Kel, a country that previously had no Queen. Additionally, a Bayern village near the Kel border was burned to the ground. King Geric and his hand chosen soldiers, including Razo, ride to investigate. When a messenger speeds back to the Queen saying that Geric was burned and a soldier killed, wind-starter Queen Anidori and her partners, fire-starter Enna and water-starter Dasha ride out to meet Geric. Rinna imposes herself on the three sisters and joins in the fray as they unearth the menace that has caused the disturbance.
Hale has continued her exciting Bayern tale in Forest Born and my description of the book does not do it justice because there is so much in it. While having read the previous books (Goose Girl, Enna Burning and River Secretsall of which I highly recommend) will help understand the story, the characters and the background, it is not essential to the enjoyment of this book.
While primarily a story of a 15-year-old girl coming to grips with her individuality, her power and herself, Forest Born is also an adventure story, pitting evil people-speaking Selia, the Kelish Queen, against Queen Anidori who is powerful and good. There is suspense and action. The love of a mother for her child is a central theme and marvelously described. Forest Born is a welcome addition to the Books of Bayern and well worth everyones attention. Enjoy.
I am a huge fan of Shannon Hale. The Goose Girl is probably one of my
all time favorite books. Sadly, this one didn't measure up. I love the
world that The Books of Bayern are set in, and I love the characters but
this one just didn't do it for me.
The main thing was that I really didn't feel connected to Rin, the main
character. Not like the other characters in the books. A lot of her
thoughts were confusing, and I was aggravated by her sometimes. I did
like how Hale kept the returning characters true to their respective
books. They didn't go through any dramatic personality changes or
anything, which I liked.
I really liked the writing. I was sucked into the story, and could see
everything happening. The magical aspect is great too, and also
original. The plot fell a bit flat for me also, and moved rather slow,
which I didn't really like. The end left me wanting more as well, and
not in the good way, in the "there's something missing here" way. But
that might just be me.
I still love Shannon Hale, and I still love the Bayern books, I just
didn't love this book. I think part of it is because of my high
Like all of the Agget-kin, Rinna (better known as Rin) is Forest born, but she has always had a connection to the trees that goes far beyond those of her older brothers, nieces, and nephews- she defines herself by it, and so when she grows older and the trees stop speaking to her she is crushed. When her favorite older brother Razo, a soldier in Bayern's Own, and his love interest, Dasha, come to visit, she convinces them to take her to the city (against their better judgement, for they doubt she will fit in there) where she becomes a waiting woman to Queen Anidori, better known as Isi. Even the scant number of trees in the city reject her, though, and she continues in her depression until Isi suggests that she might have been a tree- speaker once.
I read the first Book of Bayern, The Goose Girl, not long after it was published, and I fell so in love with Shannon Hale's style (she has a way of packing a lot of emotion into a scene without ever saying what the characters are thinking, which is a talent few YA authors bother to cultivate) that I read Enna Burning as soon as I could. Though I loved Enna even more than Isi, I did not realize that River Secrets had been published until almost a year after the fast, and I was determined not to make that mistake with Forest Born- I put it on hold as soon as the library got a copy. I'd love to be able to say that I read Forest Born in one sitting, but the truth is that it took me several days- I read slowly on purpose, for I enjoyed Rin's story and didn't want it to end.
Now that I am in the later portion of my teenage years, I feel the same way about Forest Born as some of my friends feel about Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series- to read about Bayern is to return to a world that I loved when I was younger, though I doubt I will ever consider it juvenile or immature.