Posted by: Ms. Matson | February 6, 2010

Forest Born

Forest Born
Shannon Hale
New York: Bloomsbury, 2009
Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Interest level: Age 10+
AR Level: 5.4

“Growing up in the Forest, Rin always turned to the trees when she needed peace or reassurance, even direction, until the day they seem to reject her. Rin is sure something is wrong with her, something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest, keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all.

When her brother Razo returns to the city after a visit home, Rin accompanies him to the palace in hopes of finding a new sense of herself.  But a mysterious threat haunts Bayern, and Rin joins the magical girls she thinks of as the Fire Sisters—Isi, Enna, and Dasha—as they venture into the woods toward the kingdom of Kel…where someone wants them all dead.”     – from the front flap

Forest Born is about learning who you are, accepting what you are, and looking forward to how you will continue to grow.  That sounds like a very preachy and somewhat boring story, but Forest Born is far from that.  As with Hale’s other books, we are drawn into Rin’s life.  In each of the Bayern books Hale has changed the writing style to match the main character.  Rin is soft and unsure of herself, and the writing reflects that.  It makes you want to pull Rin into a hug and tell her that everything will be all right.

I’m so glad that Hale chose not to give Rin a suitor.  Romance did not seem to fit with this particular story and would have felt too forced.  Rin needs to grow into herself more before she is ready to take on another person’s life.

I really enjoyed Forest Born.  It’s not quite up to the same level as The Goose Girl, my favorite in the series, but a good read nonetheless. The pacing of the events matched the mood Hale set, and while Rin grew considerably, it was not such a change of character that it seemed far-fetched.  My only quibble is the cover art.  I much prefer the lovely drawings that graced the covers of the first three Bayern hardcover books to the realistic representations.  But quality of the story is not affected.

Hale is a master storyteller.  If you have not read any of her works, get the library and start.  She’s a children’s author who is not to be missed.

Reading challenges: Finally get to knock one off the TBR Challenge, and I’m going to count this on the 2010 Challenge under the TBR category.



  1. […] Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall Forest Born by Shannon Hale, finished 2/6/10 The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin As You Like It by William […]

  2. I haven’t heard of this book. I’m not sure if I’d be interested though.

  3. I agree about the book and about the cover. I just read it myself, and it was a treat.

  4. I really like this book and author also! Thanks for your review!

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