genre: young adult
How lovely to spend a little more time in the Bayern world that Shannon Hale has created. I feel like her characters are old friends, and while they are living and growing, they're still familiar. Our main character in Forest Born is Rin, the sister of Razo. She's lived her life in the forest, among the trees, and is able to find a palpable peace within their cover. Well, it's peaceful until one serious mistake, and that one mistake leads to Rin meeting all of our old favorite characters in the city, far from home. When political unrest grows once again in Bayern, Rin feels unable to play a part in helping until she is able to find out who is that real girl inside her and what she's truly capable of.
This book feels much the same as Hale's other books - and yet, different. Rin has a much more sensitive spirit and she's almost a stranger to herself. So much of her story is a process of self-discovery, a searching to be helpful and real. The language of her quest for self is rich and earthy. She has so much to offer, so many intangible "gifts," and her relationship with Isi and Dasha and Enna really helps to widen her view of herself and her abilities. It's also an adventure story, with our favorite boys in the fray, of course. My only complaint is the smaller role that romance played in this one - but I can understand why Hale needed it this way. Rin has so much to learn, this almost feels more like a coming of age story than anything else. And for that, it's just right.