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Forest Born

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Author: Shannon Hale

Published: September 1st 2009 by Bloomsbury Children's Books

Format: Hardcover , 389 pages

Isbn: 9781599901671

Language: English


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Rin, Razo's little sister, is haunted by the Forest she has always loved. When Razo invites her back to the city to be one of Queen Ani's waiting women, she happily accepts...only to end up on the adventure of her lifetime, following the queen, Enna, and Dasha into the countryside in search of a fire-starting enemy that no one can see. As she learns more about the three wo Rin, Razo's little sister, is haunted by the Forest she has always loved. When Razo invites her back to the city to be one of Queen Ani's waiting women, she happily accepts...only to end up on the adventure of her lifetime, following the queen, Enna, and Dasha into the countryside in search of a fire-starting enemy that no one can see. As she learns more about the three women's magical talents, she finds her own strength comes from places both expected--trees--and unexpected--the sound of her own voice. A brilliant addition to the Books of Bayern, this book is a treat for fans of this series, and stands alone for readers who might be discovering the joys of Shannon Hale's writing for the first time.

30 review for Forest Born

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    I’m so sad this series is over!!!! It’s been a long time since I’ve binged a series, but I loved every second.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tanja

    Having grown up in a large family I could instantly identify with Rin. She is the youngest agget-kin and just does not know where she fits. So she imitates. How many of us do this? We try to figure out what our parents, brothers, sisters, friends want us to be and we try to imitate that. Rin was grown up for her age of 15. She was introspective and aware that she is not the only one that matters. Very unlike normal teenagers. I enjoyed this book the most out of the bayern series. I feel like I h Having grown up in a large family I could instantly identify with Rin. She is the youngest agget-kin and just does not know where she fits. So she imitates. How many of us do this? We try to figure out what our parents, brothers, sisters, friends want us to be and we try to imitate that. Rin was grown up for her age of 15. She was introspective and aware that she is not the only one that matters. Very unlike normal teenagers. I enjoyed this book the most out of the bayern series. I feel like I have watched the characters grow up and change. Isi has become a mother and a queen, Enna has learned to love herself and others, Razo has come to understand that even normal people hold great power, and finally Rin learned that it is the person who makes gifts what they are, not the gift itself. Shannon Hale writes fairy tales for the teenage girl. And frequently her message is that we can do hard things. That is something lost in our culture. I also believe that there are people who have people-speaking. I have met them, and they will destroy those that are closest to them. Yet, the ones they hurt keep coming back. I wish when I was a teenager I could have spotted these people better and then I could have avoided them. A very worthwhile read! Move over Cinderella and Snow White. There are new girls in town and they can actually kick butt.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dragina

    It was the most twisted plot! I loved it. It had so much excitement! I didn't like that Rin never found love though. 😣

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A disappointing end to the Books of Bayern quartet. Having heard about Razo's little sister Rinna in earlier books, I was looking forward to seeing what she was like as a character. I don't have River Secrets to hand, but in that book Razo describes his sister as "someone annoying that you can't help loving". From that, I assumed that Rin would actually have a personality, but no. She was completely bland. How can you identify with someone who's determined to be nothing and changes her personali A disappointing end to the Books of Bayern quartet. Having heard about Razo's little sister Rinna in earlier books, I was looking forward to seeing what she was like as a character. I don't have River Secrets to hand, but in that book Razo describes his sister as "someone annoying that you can't help loving". From that, I assumed that Rin would actually have a personality, but no. She was completely bland. How can you identify with someone who's determined to be nothing and changes her personality to fit in with whoever she's speaking to? I think the book would have been far more interesting if Hale had focused on Rin's people-speaking and explored what it's like having such power when you want to be a good person. Instead it was all about Rin's tree-speaking, which -- given that trees are inanimate objects -- led to lots of one-sided rumination on Rin's part. (And by rumination I mean wangst.) Her internal struggle that runs through most of the book was desperately boring. Rin discovering that she could move in slow-motion seemed utterly ridiculous. Why did tree-speaking even have to have a ~power~ in the first place? Just so Hale could write a climactic scene like something out of the Matrix, I suspect. Also, the idea of tree-speaking balancing out people-speaking didn't sit quite right with me. But I like that Forest Born was about trusting yourself and allowing yourself to blossom and walk in the sunlight and be powerful, especially after so long of hiding in the shadows and pretending to be nothing. That's a good message. It's just a shame it was smothered by a dull and repetitive story. I have to say, I was as impressed as Razo by the term "fire sisters". I cringed every time I read it. (Not that Razo was much better. "Love the lips, not the ribs"? Seriously?) Speaking of cringing, I'm not fond of reading scenes with young children, like when Tusken is all, "Win! Win!" to get Rin's attention. There were endless descriptions of Rin cuddling/kissing him and the games they played all day long. Considering this is a teen book, it seemed out of place. And now for the big spoiler: I HATED that it was Selia! Selia was behind everything! Selia started the war, Selia did this, Selia did that. It made everything from the previous books seem cheap. Revealing that there was a big villain behind the scenes all along made it less real. Instead of there being larger forces at work -- the Tiran war, Ledel training his own fire-speakers -- it was all down to Selia. It's such a cop-out. Whatever happened to shades of grey, and everyone having their own motivation? Selia can't be the only evil person in the world. Before this revelation it felt like there was a whole WORLD in these books, with hundreds of stories and threads and plot intertwining -- and now. Now it was all Selia, lol~*~

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    A bit repetitive at times, but a wonderful end to this series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    I don't know why every single time I pick up one of these books I'm always surprised that it draws me in so quickly. After I turned the last page I decided right there and then that one day I'm going to re-read the whole series again, and cross my fingers that Shannon Hale will get the notion to make one more. Though I should add, that really like with the other books it can stand alone and ends well. For the fourth book of Bayern we get to explore the life of Razo's little sister, Rin. Rin is I don't know why every single time I pick up one of these books I'm always surprised that it draws me in so quickly. After I turned the last page I decided right there and then that one day I'm going to re-read the whole series again, and cross my fingers that Shannon Hale will get the notion to make one more. Though I should add, that really like with the other books it can stand alone and ends well. For the fourth book of Bayern we get to explore the life of Razo's little sister, Rin. Rin is the good girl, Ma's favorite child and Razo's best friend. She can do no wrong but Rin knows the truth. Rin can listen to the trees but what really eats her is a secret that she's been hiding for too long. Unbeknownst to her, that secret she harbors will be a key part in saving the great Kingdom of Bayern. Hale is just perfect at world building. She gets better every time. Every book a building block in the knowledge of this world. I feel like this place actually exists, and that really is creating magic. Rin's story was a bit difficult to read because at one point you just feel just as defeated as her and beat down, but you just know that somehow they all will figure something out. Plenty of Razo, Finn, Geric, Dasha, Enna and Isi to go around in this story, and I appreciated that. You kind of grow up with them and see how they've changed but also keep true to themselves. The plot had great pacing but I won't go into that so you can be good and surprised once you read it. I feel in a way that I have a kinship to Bayern and will always root for them. I love the pride that Rin, Razo, Enna and Finn have being Forest born, as they should. By the end of the story Forest born Rin learns that being your true self sometimes takes time to find out, but that's ok and just part of the road we all go through.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    I first read this book years ago, as a galley, and I haven't reread it since. In the interval I've changed my own self-perception a lot, both via the 'normal' self exploration of college and via diagnoses for depression and anxiety - so it was weirdly comforting to come back to this book and remember that, years ago before I realized what was going on in my brain, I read Rin's story as an allegory for depression, and that it still holds true now. I know there are some people who don't find this b I first read this book years ago, as a galley, and I haven't reread it since. In the interval I've changed my own self-perception a lot, both via the 'normal' self exploration of college and via diagnoses for depression and anxiety - so it was weirdly comforting to come back to this book and remember that, years ago before I realized what was going on in my brain, I read Rin's story as an allegory for depression, and that it still holds true now. I know there are some people who don't find this book very engaging, either for the passivity of the protagonist or the slowness of its movement, but for me those aspects are really key. All of Hale's leading ladies struggle with internal conflict, but Rin's is one of the most complex simply because she has so little sense of self. She's not like Isi, whose conflicts are mirrored directly by external factors, or like Enna's dramatic troubles. Rin is in the painful position of not knowing much about who she is except the parts she hates, and that draws her inward to a greater degree than any of the other Bayern protagonists. As someone who often feels like there's nothing good to me, that really resonates. Rin's slow path to self-acceptance and forward progress, while resolved a bit more neatly than actual depression, was genuinely comforting to read, and I appreciated that her emotional resolution didn't come through the resolution of the external plot but from intense reflection. Another factor that I loved about this book - and one of the things that keeps me coming back to this series - is the complete narrative dominance of the heroines. There are several points where they literally send their male love interests away because the women are more capable of handling the problems at hand than the men. This isn't to say that the male characters aren't good at things, but that it's refreshing to read books where ladies take the lead and their beaus serve in support roles, since it's so often the other way around. Not only that, but the friendship between the 'fire sisters' and Rin is one of the central emotional touchstones of the book, and most of the external catalysts for Rin's growth are female characters. Shannon Hale really does do a great job of writing not only diverse, compelling female characters but also of writing friendships and support between them, and that is so important and so rare. (view spoiler)[I would be remiss not to mention Selia's presence here, which I honestly loved. Seeing her from Rin's perspective made her much more rounded and nuanced, and Rin's analysis of where her endless desire for power came from made me almost sympathetic towards her. Her ending was a bit ignominious, but I can see the rationale for not letting any of the main characters kill her, and it did resolve the plot neatly. (hide spoiler)] One last thing: The chemistry between Isi and Enna continues to be so strong. You can tell me Enna's in love with Finn as much as you want, but they're just not as potent as Isi and Enna together.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    Another Bayern book, which I wasn't really wild about...but then again I didn't love Enna and River right away, so it might grow on me to be a 4 star review. My problem was that Rin was such a non-character, in the beginning. She is quite literally a shadow who eventually takes form. And it's hard to identify with a shadow. I will not spoil the two big twists Shannon Hale has said not to spoil, because that's just mean. I will say that I felt the book had too many cliches, Isi has a baby, baby i Another Bayern book, which I wasn't really wild about...but then again I didn't love Enna and River right away, so it might grow on me to be a 4 star review. My problem was that Rin was such a non-character, in the beginning. She is quite literally a shadow who eventually takes form. And it's hard to identify with a shadow. I will not spoil the two big twists Shannon Hale has said not to spoil, because that's just mean. I will say that I felt the book had too many cliches, Isi has a baby, baby in jeopardy time, and old enemies always return for the sequel. Full Review: "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." Shannon Hale has been a very busy writer, since her last Bayern book was released in 2006. She has written two adult books, another adaptation of a fairy tale and a graphic novel. But with Forest Born she finally gives us readers what we have been waiting for, a return to Bayern. In this book we follow Rin, Razo's little sister. Her abilities are far different to any of the "fire sisters" we have seen before, which also leads to a new more free flowing, train of thought writing when we are in Rin's mind. We see all the characters we love and learn what has been happening in their lives. But I had problems with Rin as the focal point of all these intertwined lives. Rin is such a non-character, in the beginning, and she was obviously written as such. She is quite literally a shadow who eventually takes form. But it is hard to befriend a shadow. It is hard to identify with a wraith. It is hard to take a girl into your heart who you aren't sure who she is. But then again she doesn't know who she is either, and therefore your unease with her mirrors her own feelings about herself very well. I found Rin and her powers fascinating, but I think her progress could have been more rapid in parts. It takes awhile to face your demons, but sometimes narratively they should be faced faster. The journeys contained within the book, both of body and mind lead our characters to Kel. There they do valiant deeds and Rin discovers more about herself than she originally bargained for when she followed Razo to the great city. I will not spoil anything as per the author's request, but I felt that Shannon Hale relied too much on a few cliched conventions in this book then her previous ventures. When I went to WisCon back in May I attended a panel entitled "Kick Ass Moms" wherein the authors discussed the habit of when you have a mother the cliched thing to do is to put that child in danger. Baby jeopardy is a big theme which is overused, and Shannon Hale does use this in Forest Born. She does handle it better than I was expecting, but still, I'm not sure it works as a driving plot force for a teen book. Also she uses the old trick of old enemies always return for the sequel. It felt a bit like that last scene in Bruce Campbell's film, My Name is Bruce, where they have just defeated Guan-Di, and then the sequel set-up is literally two seconds later. While the end result is great, it still felt a little worn. But in the final analysis I loved seeing where our friends in Bayern have ended up and even if I wasn't wild about Forest Born the first read-through, it got the same rating I gave Enna Burning the first time, and I now love Enna! So Forest Born might grow on me to be a four star review, now that I know Rin more I'd be willing to give it another chance. But it is strongly recommended for all those who love the denizens of Bayern.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liaken

    Belabored. Drawn out. Page after page saying the same plot piece. Characters re-enacting their same "idiosyncrasies" endlessly--every time they open their mouths. One of the characters was so repetitious and persistent, that I skimmed whatever he said toward the end of the book. There is also a very strong and frightening co-dependency that is only given a passing nod rather than actually being dealt with. Through most of the book, the main character is addressed in a condescending, mocking, or Belabored. Drawn out. Page after page saying the same plot piece. Characters re-enacting their same "idiosyncrasies" endlessly--every time they open their mouths. One of the characters was so repetitious and persistent, that I skimmed whatever he said toward the end of the book. There is also a very strong and frightening co-dependency that is only given a passing nod rather than actually being dealt with. Through most of the book, the main character is addressed in a condescending, mocking, or set-apart manner--like she's not a real person. Her brother is the worst culprit, yet she's supposed to love him more than anyone. The humor in the book tries way too hard. It's like every time Hale wrote a line that could be interpreted in a different way, she turned it into a joke. It gets old. Fast. And the joking manner of the females and how the males love them best when they are angry or murderous--not funny either. (Condescending toward all the women, again.) The writing is loose and baggy; it reads like an early draft. The great thing about her first novel, Goose Girl, was that she had obviously reworked the story and rewritten it until it was truly finished. Not this one. Slap-dash. In short, Hale's editor failed her. Her editor should have said, "This is a good idea Shannon. Go rewrite it a few times and then we'll see if it's more fully formed. You have some good moments." But instead, her editor said, "Great, another book. Let's get it in print and make more money!" I think I'm done with Hale. Unless someone whose taste I trust recommends something by her, I think I'll just let her go by now. Too many disappointments in a row. Goose Girl is still her best book. BY FAR.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laina

    I almost feel guilty giving this five stars after reading Shannon's latest blogs on star-ratings, but I can't help myself! This book... oh my goodness. Let me try to put this into words. Shannon Hale has outdone herself... again. I cannot BELIEVE how much I loved this book! It was different then her other books... so much more internal conflict. I felt like she wrote this book specifically for me; it's taken such a special part in my heart. The writing was wonderful. Of course. Enough said. The sto I almost feel guilty giving this five stars after reading Shannon's latest blogs on star-ratings, but I can't help myself! This book... oh my goodness. Let me try to put this into words. Shannon Hale has outdone herself... again. I cannot BELIEVE how much I loved this book! It was different then her other books... so much more internal conflict. I felt like she wrote this book specifically for me; it's taken such a special part in my heart. The writing was wonderful. Of course. Enough said. The story was original, intriguing, and the POV made the feeling absolutely relatable, heart-wrenching, and magical. Rin was a wonderful character who I absolutely love. She was a very different voice in the series. What I love, is even after their books are over, Shannon's supporting characters continue to grow. For example, in this book, you see how Isi has kept growing. Same with Enna, and Razo, and Finn, and Dasha, and even Conrad makes an appearance in this book that I appreciated. :) So overall, absolutely amazing! I suggest it to any fan of the series, and if you haven't read the Book of Bayern yet, I highly suggest you pick them up next time you're at the library.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Addy S.

    I’m sad to say that this was the last of Shannon Hales “Books of Bayern” series. However, I really enjoyed it. Razo and Rin are and will always be two of my most favorite characters. Razo is hilarious. The two share a strong brother-sister bond which is really cool. You did a GREAT job, Shannon Hale. I will always be a fan! (Oh and Enna and Finn finally get married) [Edit: 1/14/18] I just finished reading this book a second time through!!! I loved this book so much! I’m proud to own a copy now. :) Ri I’m sad to say that this was the last of Shannon Hales “Books of Bayern” series. However, I really enjoyed it. Razo and Rin are and will always be two of my most favorite characters. Razo is hilarious. The two share a strong brother-sister bond which is really cool. You did a GREAT job, Shannon Hale. I will always be a fan! (Oh and Enna and Finn finally get married) [Edit: 1/14/18] I just finished reading this book a second time through!!! I loved this book so much! I’m proud to own a copy now. :) Rin and Razo will forever be my favorite characters!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I don't remember this one as well as the first three, mostly because it came out in 2009, when I was a high school sophomore, so although I definitely did read it at least once, I reread the first three multiple times in middle school. Shame, because I really like this one. Rinna is easily the most relatable of the four heroines (Isi, Enna, Dasha, and Rin) and the plot is pretty high-stakes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had really high hopes for this one. This is one of my favorite series and I was so excited to read Rinna’s story. So, I was surprised that I just didn’t like this one as much as the others. I’ll start by saying that if you read and enjoyed the first three books than you should read this one. Rin is Razo’s little sister and the main character of the story. She has spent her entire life in the forest living in the shadow of her mom. She finally decides to visit the big city and to try and figure I had really high hopes for this one. This is one of my favorite series and I was so excited to read Rinna’s story. So, I was surprised that I just didn’t like this one as much as the others. I’ll start by saying that if you read and enjoyed the first three books than you should read this one. Rin is Razo’s little sister and the main character of the story. She has spent her entire life in the forest living in the shadow of her mom. She finally decides to visit the big city and to try and figure out who she is. Rin was always comparing herself to those around her, especially the strong Isi, Enna and Dasha. She has the ability to people-speak, although she doesn’t know what that is until the end of the book. She thinks there is something horribly wrong with her and is constantly down. With the example of her mom and the other three girls she tries to be good and to do the right thing. She learns to have confidence in herself, trust her abilities and learns to stop looking at others and to be her own person. I loved meeting up with Isi, Enna, Dasha and Razo. I also liked the cover. Below are some of the things I didn’t like about Forest Born, it does contain spoilers so read at your own risk. First, there is no romance in this story. All the other books had that aspect and I really feel that Hale messed up by leaving that out. Each of the previous books have a fairy-tale feel to them, especially Goose Girl. Although it’s not the main point of the stories, it really adds a lot to each one. Leaving that part out made for less interesting reading. We hear about a neighbor boy Wilem throughout the story, I kept hoping maybe something would happen with him at least, but NOTHING. And come to think of it, there really wasn’t a lot of closure with that storyline either. I would have appreciated an additional chapter where Rinna has to face Wilem. Second, it felt like the book was mainly recapping the previous stories. Even the “villains” were characters from old books, and so the whole thing felt repetitive and kind of unoriginal. I love Isi, Enna, Dasha, and Razo but they really stole the show from Rinna. It was more their story than hers, and because of their overshadowing I really didn’t feel like I got to know Rinna, or appreciate her growth. Third, the whole ending was kind of anticlimactic. Maybe because of the missing love element, or because her abilities were so weak, it just felt blah for me. So the overall feel of the book was just kind of boring for me. Maybe I’m being too harsh, and I do think if you’ve read the other three books you should read this one as well. I just had my expectations too high.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    New gifts are discovered in this fourth Bayern book, as Rin (Razo's sister) takes the center stage. Things come full circle from Goose Girl, with Isi, Enna, Dasha and Rin fighting an old enemy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cindee

    I loved this book it had the perfect ending and it was the best book of the whole series. I loved the characters even more especially Rin I liked that this time there was no main romance only the ones that had already been established before and the fact it focused on Rin's relationship with her mother and the struggles that came with her power. I loved the plot of this final book everything was finally resolved many horrible things happened like a kidnapping imprisonment and an evil tyrant that I loved this book it had the perfect ending and it was the best book of the whole series. I loved the characters even more especially Rin I liked that this time there was no main romance only the ones that had already been established before and the fact it focused on Rin's relationship with her mother and the struggles that came with her power. I loved the plot of this final book everything was finally resolved many horrible things happened like a kidnapping imprisonment and an evil tyrant that had the power to control people. I liked that much of the story focused on Rin's struggles with who she is and what having her power means there was also a lot of good and quite funny parts of this amazing book. So overall I loved this book I wish there were more books to be read about this world that the book is set in.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Another book in the Bayern series, this one was a whole lot of fun to read! I really felt connected to Rin, I could have almost been reading from my own perspective! I too am quiet, unassuming among people I don't know, and terrified of the unknown. I think following up from River Secrets immediately kept me grounded in this series too, because I'm still in love with Dasha and Razo as a couple! A great YA fantasy, I'm sorry it's over. Five stars!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    Originally posted at Fantasy Literature. Life's too short to read bad books! http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi... Everyone thinks of Rin as her mother’s shadow. She belongs to a large extended family that all live near each other in the forest and, until recently, Rin has always been her hard-working mother’s helper. She cooks, cleans, fetches the water, helps take care of all the kids, etc. When she needs a little peace, she communes with the trees of the forest. She doesn’t really “speak” w Originally posted at Fantasy Literature. Life's too short to read bad books! http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi... Everyone thinks of Rin as her mother’s shadow. She belongs to a large extended family that all live near each other in the forest and, until recently, Rin has always been her hard-working mother’s helper. She cooks, cleans, fetches the water, helps take care of all the kids, etc. When she needs a little peace, she communes with the trees of the forest. She doesn’t really “speak” with them, but just feels their love and the constant harmony they provide. But then Rin did something bad and the trees have withdrawn their love. She feels their disappointment and disgust with her. Now Rin feels unworthy and unloved and begins to sink into depression. In an attempt to help, her big brother Razo invites her to join him and his new wife at the Bayern court. There she meets Queen Isi and admires her strength and confidence. As Rin tries to find her place at court, she manages to tag along on a quest to rid Bayern of terrorists and, in the process, she discovers herself and her own worth. Forest Born is the fourth and final (so far) novel in Shannon Hale’s BOOKS OF BAYERN. You really don’t need to have read the previous books, but I’d recommend at least reading the first book, The Goose Girl, before Forest Born. There you’ll get a feel for Hale’s world and meet most of this story’s main characters: Queen Isi, King Geric, Enna the Fire Mage, and Razo (Rin’s big brother). Also, I think The Goose Girl is the best book in the series, so you don’t want to miss it, and it makes sense to read it first. Each of the BAYERN stories is essentially a coming-of-age tale in which a young person (Isi in The Goose Girl, Enna in Enna Burning, Razo in River Secrets and now Rin in Forest Born) struggles with their identity and self-worth. At first, in Forest Born, I thought Rin was having a big pity party and I was annoyed with her constant whining about how bad she is and feeling sorry for herself all the time. It wasn’t until half way through the book that the truth came out and we really understand why Rin feels the way she does. The revelation puts a whole new spin on the story and I think I would have liked it better, or at least sympathized more with Rin, if I had had this information from the beginning. I’m not really sure why Hale chose to keep it a secret, but since she did, I will, too. The plot of Forest Born moves quickly and is fairly exciting. There are some scary parts, too. Fans of the series will enjoy the banter between their favorite characters and will be happy to see how they’ve grown to be so competent. Isi is strong and couragous, Razo is charming and funny, and Enna is sarcastic and aggressive. Rin doesn’t have enough confidence or sense of self to have much personality at all. For most of the story she’s unsure how to act and is always looking to others for cues and ideas for shaping her own responses. She’s not yet ready to be herself because she doesn’t like herself and she has no idea who she is. By the end, of course, she has worked through some of these troubles and is on her way to “finding” herself. I think it’s an important topic for the target audience (probably mostly pre-teen and adolescent girls) to ponder and I like the strong female role models that Hale provides. (Although occasionally they do stupid things like bring the toddler prince on their trip to confront terrorists.) The audio version by Full Cast Audio is nicely done. It’s slightly confusing that so many of the names sound similar: Rin, Finn, Brin, Enna. I figured that Shannon Hale just had a liking for the “in” sound and hadn’t noticed that so many of her characters had rhyming names, but late in the book Razo actually mentions it! I thought that was funny. Forest Born would be a good choice for any girl, but especially those who struggle with their confidence and sense of self-worth.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    I really really love Shannon Hale's books. I love how she explores different elements of different kinds of magic (this time it's people-speaking and tree-speaking), which must have taken ages to work out. The way she describes different fictional cultures (in this book, she introduces the land of Kel) is also really interesting. There is a lot of focus on character development in this book, and it was a lot darker and I feel a bit more violent than the last couple of books in the Bayern series. I really really love Shannon Hale's books. I love how she explores different elements of different kinds of magic (this time it's people-speaking and tree-speaking), which must have taken ages to work out. The way she describes different fictional cultures (in this book, she introduces the land of Kel) is also really interesting. There is a lot of focus on character development in this book, and it was a lot darker and I feel a bit more violent than the last couple of books in the Bayern series. This isn't a bad thing, as Rin herself is a darker character and it was really intriguing to see how she changed over the course of the book. There is a LOT of suspense and surprises (one of the biggest surprises I have ever come across in a book) and different characters with different sides to them. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was that I thought Rin was going to get together with someone at the end, but my hopes got raised and then dashed. I know a girl (or anyone really) doesn't need a romance to be happy, but I still like a bit of a romantic subplot to go along with the main story. Here's hoping there's going to be another book in the series, or at least another stand alone fantastic piece of magical fiction by Shannon Hale.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gunjan (NerdyBirdie)

    Man, after enjoying books 1-3 I am kind of disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this one as much. I almost came close to giving it 2 stars but even I have to admit that the main character developed decently at the end. First of all besides me having a problem with her imitation I also couldn’t find it believable that she needed to do this because she didn’t have a personality of her own. It just made no sense to me. I found the pacing of this story to be slow and in my opinion, River of Secrets gave Man, after enjoying books 1-3 I am kind of disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this one as much. I almost came close to giving it 2 stars but even I have to admit that the main character developed decently at the end. First of all besides me having a problem with her imitation I also couldn’t find it believable that she needed to do this because she didn’t have a personality of her own. It just made no sense to me. I found the pacing of this story to be slow and in my opinion, River of Secrets gave me a better perspective on how characters of this series developed. Second of all, the main reason why I have to stop myself from bumping this to 2 stars: you have got to be freaking kidding me when you tell me who is behind all of this disaster that’s been happening in The Books of Bayern. (view spoiler)[Celia being behind all of this made no sense. You cannot be serious that these books don’t have any other person who can people-speak. I feel like her villainy should’ve ended as soon as she was done with in The Goose Girl! That really disappointed me, also it showed that she wasn’t properly disposed of. (hide spoiler)] These books are pretty good but this last one was slightly disappointing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    oliviasbooks

    I have to say it: In my personal opinion Shannon Hale is a one-hit-wonder. I truely loved every page of 'Goose Girl', but every other book - with the exception of the middle-grade-targeted 'Princess Academy' maybe - turned out to call for heavy ploughing machinery to get me through. I barely stayed focussed reading 'A Book of Thousand Days', gave up on 'Enna Burning', skipped 'River Secrets' because I didn't own it yet and now abandoned 'Forest Born' around page 88. There are fairytale elements i I have to say it: In my personal opinion Shannon Hale is a one-hit-wonder. I truely loved every page of 'Goose Girl', but every other book - with the exception of the middle-grade-targeted 'Princess Academy' maybe - turned out to call for heavy ploughing machinery to get me through. I barely stayed focussed reading 'A Book of Thousand Days', gave up on 'Enna Burning', skipped 'River Secrets' because I didn't own it yet and now abandoned 'Forest Born' around page 88. There are fairytale elements in the Bayern quartet which draw the plot to a rather otherworldly plane, yes, but do the heroines have to be so strange and unpredictable that I cannot fathom what they feel or might do AT ALL? Honestly, I have the impression of reading a space adventure featuring a humanoid-looking race that ticks completely differently from us inside. To me it is extremely exhausting. I am only willing to try another Hale novel in the future if it doesn't cost me anything.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I swear Shannon Hale could write about grass growing and still make it sound poetic. In just the first few pages I already wrapped into a lovely fairy tale. And I was also so excited to read about a GOOD PERSON with the gift of People Speaking! It brought along a lot of interesting ethical questions. Other things I loved: - Rinna is a such a precious, tree-hugging Slytherin. Her relationship with Razo is adorable. And her inner battle throughout the book was intriguing. It's like when any of us m I swear Shannon Hale could write about grass growing and still make it sound poetic. In just the first few pages I already wrapped into a lovely fairy tale. And I was also so excited to read about a GOOD PERSON with the gift of People Speaking! It brought along a lot of interesting ethical questions. Other things I loved: - Rinna is a such a precious, tree-hugging Slytherin. Her relationship with Razo is adorable. And her inner battle throughout the book was intriguing. It's like when any of us make a big mistake and assume we're not worthy of being loved. But she learns that's it's OKAY to be powerful, as long as you don't exploit that power. - Highlighting the way Rinna looks up to Isi was the perfect way to end this series. You get to see how much Isi and the other characters have grown. Isi and Enna especially are so POWERFUL, and I was so proud of them. Hooray for strong female characters! - As always, I am in love with Finn and I wish we got to hear a lot more from him. I would gladly read a book from his point of view. - A certain HUGE plot twist with a certain return of a character. I did NOT see that coming, and it really got me engaged in the story. The stakes were suddenly much higher. - Tuscan is a CUTIE. I was happy to spend more time with him in this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    No more Bayern. :( I’m going to miss them all so much.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 for now. I loved sections, but other parts seemed repetitive. This fourth installment in The Books of Bayern, started by Hale's splendid retelling of classic fairytale The Goose Girl, focuses on Rinna, Razo's little sister. Rinna-girl is very close to her Ma and Razo, her favorite brother. But there is something wrong with Rinna, something so dark and venomous that she never talks about it, fearing that to explain her brokenness, her wrongness, will strip her of the love she is so desperate t 3.5 for now. I loved sections, but other parts seemed repetitive. This fourth installment in The Books of Bayern, started by Hale's splendid retelling of classic fairytale The Goose Girl, focuses on Rinna, Razo's little sister. Rinna-girl is very close to her Ma and Razo, her favorite brother. But there is something wrong with Rinna, something so dark and venomous that she never talks about it, fearing that to explain her brokenness, her wrongness, will strip her of the love she is so desperate to deserve. She also has a strange connection to trees. Things only get worse and worse for Rinna. She stays in the shadows, always silent and hidden, mirroring other people, afraid to speak and let the poison out. She fears herself and thus tries to never even be herself, rather taking on the personalities and mannerisms of others. She most often patterns herself as her mother, but she mimics others as well. She also can tell when a person is lying or telling the truth, can see their desires and their weaknesses. Rinna is angry and hurt, confused and terrified. She is lost and floundering desperately for help, but scared to even ask for it. So when Razo and Dasha come for a visit, despite Rinna's hostility toward Dasha, whom she sees as competition for her brother's attention and affection, she accompanies them back to the palace. She knows something is wrong and until she can fix it, she cannot stay at home. Even though it pains her Ma to let her go and Rinna is hurt by having to go, she promises she will be back as soon as she can. At the palace, Rinna becomes a lady-in-waiting, then the nursemary for Tusken, Queen Isi and King Geric's son. Before long, Rinna realizes that Tusken is in danger and then Geric is injured by fire-speakers, and then things start moving. Isi, Enna, and Dasha set off to meet up with Geric and determine a course of action. The fire sisters, as Rinna has come to think of the trio of gifted girls, set out to find out who is setting fires and put an end to them, and Rinna tags along, feeling that she needs to do so. Along the way, she finally understands what it is that the fire sisters can do and Isi explains what she knows of the nature, animal and people-speaking gifts. Rinna explains that she might have tree-speaking. And Enna and the others talk of how cursed people-speakers are, how evil and vile, how that gift always corrupts the bearer. By this point, mostly everyone will have realized what Rinna is. (I picked up on it before they left the castle.) And the rest of the story, for Rinna, is coming to terms with who she is and finding a way to be herself and still be the good, wholesome person she desires to be, even with this power that so easily can be twisted to evil purposes. Plot-wise, the person who is behind all these events, in fact who has been behind all the major events in the series practically in one form or another, is none other than Selia, one time lady-in-waiting to Isi and a people-speaker. It is Isi and Rinna who defeat her, with Enna and Dasha's assistance in subduing her followers. In the end, Rinna has found a way to balance her gifts and herself, learning that people-speaking is much more than simply controlling others, and is at its root a healing gift and one that allows her to give others the assurance of truth. Honestly, seeing how she grows in her gift and seeing who she becomes would be quite interesting. And she goes home to her family, to the Forest and to her Ma. She knows she may well travel still, but for now she has to learn how to simply be Rinna-girl. I loved Isi, Dasha and Enna in this book, especially Enna and Dasha. Those two could go off on their own adventures and keep me amused. Rinna, since she was so cautious with her power, was quite passive, so it was difficult in many ways to know what her personality is really like. The boys were a bit bland this time around, very dominated by our female players, from Selia to the fire sisters and Rinna. Razo gets the most page-time, but even he could have done a bit more. I honestly thought that all these people around Rinna should have been able to recognize her disquiet and do more to help her. So, it is staying at three stars because while I enjoyed it, the story was slow for me and while I really liked a lot of the characters, Rinna did not stand out for me. Enjoyable, but not a book I will reread terribly often.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    I didn't think I was going to read the fourth book. I thought it was fine with the third one but Hale is a great writer and I really just couldn't help it. Once I started reading Forest Born I remembered why she is one of my favorite authors. Rin has a secret and a confusing one at that; Rin herself isn't quiet sure what it is. She doesn't know what is wrong with her; she just knows that something is (its fairly easy to figure out what it is). Rin is constantly copying people’s behavior because I didn't think I was going to read the fourth book. I thought it was fine with the third one but Hale is a great writer and I really just couldn't help it. Once I started reading Forest Born I remembered why she is one of my favorite authors. Rin has a secret and a confusing one at that; Rin herself isn't quiet sure what it is. She doesn't know what is wrong with her; she just knows that something is (its fairly easy to figure out what it is). Rin is constantly copying people’s behavior because she believes that being herself is bad. Eventually Rin decides to leave the forest because she can no longer feel at home in the trees or with her family and sets out on a journey to discover herself. So she ends up on a journey with the 'fire sisters' to save Bayern from a possible threat. The journey in itself I loved and stays true to why I like all these books. I have no complaints there. There is some action as always. Rin most confront herself and who she really is in order to save the day. And I could appreciate it that Rin isn't like the rest the 'fire sisters' who are great at combat. Rin has to save the day in other ways, which just shows that you don't have to wield a sword or talk to fire in order to be a hero—though I'll always like that sort of thing. Now for the things that irked me: Rin is always putting herself down, even when she does something good like save a child or something she always finds something wrong with it and I'm not exaggerating, it is always. Also Rin is constantly compared to a tree, especially near the end. Rin does this like a tree, Rin does that think a tree, a tree has no sense of time so Rin doesn't either. Okay, Rin is a tree got it. You see a lot of the other characters in this book, I got a annoyed at Enna's pushing around Finn. Isi and Geric seem too perfect but the book isn't about them its about Rin. Even though Rin puts herself down so much I believe that she is a strong character. I never would have guessed that if Hale was going to make another book on Bayern it would be on Rinna, but it fits perfectly. Forest Born could very well be that last of the series but I'm surprised to say that I want Hale to make another one. I usually steer clear of series but I think maybe just one more would be great.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Confession: I bought this book only because they rereleased it in a cover that matches the first three of the series that I already owned. I'm not a fan of the new covers. Maybe it shouldn't matter, but it does. If I'm going to spend money on a book, I'm going to get a copy that looks good. I read this series somewhat out of order, picking up Enna Burning and reading that before I realized it was a sequel to The Goose Girl. (Gold star to Shannon Hale for writing a series wherein each individual b Confession: I bought this book only because they rereleased it in a cover that matches the first three of the series that I already owned. I'm not a fan of the new covers. Maybe it shouldn't matter, but it does. If I'm going to spend money on a book, I'm going to get a copy that looks good. I read this series somewhat out of order, picking up Enna Burning and reading that before I realized it was a sequel to The Goose Girl. (Gold star to Shannon Hale for writing a series wherein each individual book can actually be picked up and read on its own.) I loved reading Enna's story and I enjoyed Goose Girl as well. I thought River Secrets faltered a little. It was a bit slow, if I remember correctly. So I didn't have high hopes for this one. But I actually ended up enjoying it and was even on the edge of my seat a few times wondering how the girls were going to get out of this or that scrape. Hale revisited the people-speaking concept she explored in Enna, which I find fascinating -- particularly because I think there are people (in the "real world") who have a knack for manipulating others with words and I love the idea of young girls reading these books and becoming aware of that before they head out into the world. Only a couple complaints: the frequent and detailed descriptions of Rinna using and exploring her gift felt excessive at times -- very Ferngully-esque, for anyone who remembers that movie; and the boys seemed fairly weak in comparison to the girls. I'm pretty sure that wasn't Hale's intention and she did write them as capable and strong and whatnot, but strong girls need strong boys in their lives. The three girls running off to save the day left the boys looking a bit like lame ducks. OH! I also loved that the boy in Rinna's life was her brother Razo. It was sweet to watch their brother-sister relationship develop. Not something you usually find a lot of in YA lit. Kudos to Shannon Hale for that one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really liked the Bayern series because it was all so magical and new. I was excited to learn that this book was available. Rinna is Razo's younger sister. She is Forest born, but finds as she gets older a connection the trees. They seem to calm her when she is unsettled about being with family or not pleasing her mother (tree-speaking or rather listening). She also finds that she can make people do what she wants by talking to them and reading their thought to find out their fear and insecurit I really liked the Bayern series because it was all so magical and new. I was excited to learn that this book was available. Rinna is Razo's younger sister. She is Forest born, but finds as she gets older a connection the trees. They seem to calm her when she is unsettled about being with family or not pleasing her mother (tree-speaking or rather listening). She also finds that she can make people do what she wants by talking to them and reading their thought to find out their fear and insecurities (people-speaking). She finds this out with her niece in giving her her priced possessions and a friend of her cousins whom she made his her. Razo has left the forest for Bayern and is the protector of the ambassador for Tira, Dasha. She misses him and decides to got the city for a change and becomes a waiting woman for the Queen Isi and then care for her son Tusken. She can read when the people around the boy wish him harm and alerts the queen becoming the childs caregiver. When fire speakers are about the land again and the king is hurt; Enna (fire-speaking), Dasha (water speaking), and Isi( wind, fire, and animal-speaking) go off to hunt out the fire speakers. Rin follows after. She ends up helping them to rescue razo and Tusken when Selia a people-speaking enemy wants to use her talent to get revenge on Isi for trying to kill her and get power to do harm and take control. Rin discovers her talents and uses them to help the others and also learns to find a balance between the two gifts so she doesn't become like Silia and hurt people.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Reading Vacation

    REVIEW In one word. MAGICAL. Forest Born is a captivating ending to The Books of Bayern series. I absolutely loved the way Hale describes the various gifts. My favorites would be water and wind speaking. They are so graceful and are shown as the least destructive. A magical land where some of the people have speaking abilities is like a fairy tale world. As always, Hale’s characters are well written. Rin’s innocence is what made her special. Although she possessed two powerful gifts, Rin was asha REVIEW In one word. MAGICAL. Forest Born is a captivating ending to The Books of Bayern series. I absolutely loved the way Hale describes the various gifts. My favorites would be water and wind speaking. They are so graceful and are shown as the least destructive. A magical land where some of the people have speaking abilities is like a fairy tale world. As always, Hale’s characters are well written. Rin’s innocence is what made her special. Although she possessed two powerful gifts, Rin was ashamed of her people-speaking gift. She had to learn to believe in herself and her abilities. I loved that all of the previous characters were included in this final book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a soft spot for fairy tales. You will be transported to a magical land that you won’t want to leave. RATING 5 Plot 5 Characters 5 Attention Grabbing 5 Girlie Meter 5 Ending 25 TOTAL 5 STARS

  28. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    Like Hale's other books, the words in this book are carefully chosen and full of creative, unique similes. While this is the fourth book in the series, each can be read alone and still be understood. In this one, Razo's sister, Rin, fears there is something inherently evil about her that will end up hurting others. The conspiracies and adventures in the story are mere background for this inner struggle. The teen years are when everyone struggles to decide who they really are, which makes this sto Like Hale's other books, the words in this book are carefully chosen and full of creative, unique similes. While this is the fourth book in the series, each can be read alone and still be understood. In this one, Razo's sister, Rin, fears there is something inherently evil about her that will end up hurting others. The conspiracies and adventures in the story are mere background for this inner struggle. The teen years are when everyone struggles to decide who they really are, which makes this story especially relatable to that age group. Adults tend to be impatient with this process, so the story can feel a bit slow at times. The audiobook features a full cast of actors to read all the parts. The actors of Razo and Enna are different from the previous books, though, and I missed the old Razo.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    [Advance Reading Copy:] What's not to love about Shannon's books? Her gorgeous descriptions and page-turning stories keep me up late every time. I can imagine Rin would be a difficult character to write: unsure of who she is and reflecting other people's personalities when she's around them. But I loved her and was cheering for her the whole time. She felt fifteen, and I know I could have related to her at that age. At the same time, I loved seeing nineteen- and twenty-year-olds Enna, Razo, Dasha [Advance Reading Copy:] What's not to love about Shannon's books? Her gorgeous descriptions and page-turning stories keep me up late every time. I can imagine Rin would be a difficult character to write: unsure of who she is and reflecting other people's personalities when she's around them. But I loved her and was cheering for her the whole time. She felt fifteen, and I know I could have related to her at that age. At the same time, I loved seeing nineteen- and twenty-year-olds Enna, Razo, Dasha, and Isi still growing and changing and having such depth to each of them. Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days are still my faves of her YA books, so I'm reserving the five-star rating for them, but this is a must-read for all Shannon Hale fans (of course!).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    This book rated more with Enna Burning than with Goose Girl and Water Secrets. It could be that it's the fourth in a series (burnout),or that the character wasn't as appealing (shy and mousy),or maybe I just wasn't in the right mood (needs more violence). Just kidding about that last one - I needed a 3rd thing to round out the sentence. Anyhow! It had plenty of girl power and I always enjoy Shannon Hale enough to neglect many chores while I try to finish her books. Enjoyable read.

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