Epeolatry Book Review: Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker
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Author: Elayne Audrey Becker
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: 31st August, 2021
Synopsis: A young, orphaned shapeshifter in a world that fears magic must risk everything if she hopes to save her only friend in Elayne Audrey Becker’s Forestborn, first in a new fantasy series with a timeless feel.
TO BE BORN OF THE FOREST IS A GIFT AND A CURSE.
Rora is a shifter, as magical as all those born in the wilderness—and as feared. She uses her abilities to spy for the king, traveling under different guises and listening for signs of trouble.
When a magical illness surfaces across the kingdom, Rora uncovers a devastating truth: Finley, the young prince and her best friend, has caught it, too. His only hope is stardust, the rarest of magical elements, found deep in the wilderness where Rora grew up—and to which she swore never to return.
But for her only friend, Rora will face her past and brave the dark, magical wood, journeying with her brother and the obstinate, older prince who insists on coming. Together, they must survive sentient forests and creatures unknown, battling an ever-changing landscape while escaping human pursuers who want them dead. With illness gripping the kingdom and war on the horizon, Finley’s is not the only life that hangs in the balance.
At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Forestborn, by Elayne Audrey Becker, is the story about Rora, a shape-shifter. A dire prophecy surrounds her. Rora is an outsider who works for the king and happens to be best friends with Prince Finley. The prince gets stricken with a magical plague. The rest of the book involves Rora embarking on a quest to find stardust, the mythical element needed to save her friend.
This book is part of Tor Teen publishing for 13 – 18-year-olds. The writer has nice passages describing her characters. For example, “Turns out, solitude is lonely, but being surrounded by people who want nothing to do with you hurts even more.” Rora gives the reader great insight into what this character is struggling with at the beginning of the book.
Becker, tasked with building a new mythical world, has neat imagery with the trees and the giants that I really enjoyed. In the “Acknowledgments”, Becker thanks her friend who drew a map which is supposed to be part of the book. My big criticism—my reviewer’s kindle edition did not include a map. All fantasy books need a map! I lose my car at the grocery store so I will admit I had trouble orienting myself with the character’s location within their world.
Quest books are hard to write. The character must get from A to B and three hundred pages can feel a little long. There were places in the middle where I wanted more action. Fortunately, it picked up again at the climax but then ended with Rora recapping her growth and heading back into the forest for Book 2. While I generally enjoyed the book, the ending left me with a “meh” feeling. 3 out of 5 stars.
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Warren Nast is a freelance writer with articles in Harrisburg Magazine. Nast can be reached at his website: Penshido.com or followed on twitter @penshido. Nast lives in Camp Hill, PA.