Welcome back to my Books Build Life
this video might be a little bit chaotic.
I used to film a lot of book reviews in
the past, but I haven’t done it in a
So I’m a bit Rusty.
if this video is a little bit all over
the place just know
that the book I’m doing this for
I absolutely love so that’s what you
should really take from the whole video.
So today I bring you a book review for
the amazing book by Lori M. Lee that is
releasing today called The Forest of
Souls and it is
I do have like three pages of notes.
bare with me and if you see me reading
like I’m really just trying not to miss
telling you all the cool stuff.
let’s start with my initial thoughts.
on the book.
my initial thoughts were like the cover
I mean look up a picture of Lori and look
up a picture of her cover and like
they look the same and I love it.
I like every time I look at the cover, of Forest of Souls
So like what am I supposed to do?
And then the coolest thing was that the
character on the cover has like Amber
eyes, and I’m like
I want to know what the reasoning behind
those Amber eyes are um, and so don’t
worry you get to find out not from me
though, you gotta read the book .
the second thing we got is what surprised
you most about the book?
There was a lot of world-building and I
Normally I’m the kind of person who
struggles through Worldbuilding but like
Lori did such a good job at being so
descriptive at spreading out the details
world, of the magic, of how they
interacted with each other, that I’m
just like when I closed the book,
I thought I’d finished watching like a
and I was like, can I go watch it again?
At 5:00 a.m.
Like when you kind of want to re open a
book and read it at 5 a.m.
When you’re like dead tired,
I think it was pretty good.
that was my surprise thoughts on that.
Let me introduce you to these favorite
characters by also showing you their
character cards because Lori’s preorder
was amazing and it got to everybody’s
house before the book did and
it just made me even more excited for the
Which by the way should arrive tomorrow
and I’m like, yeah.
So here we go.
my ultimate ultimate favorite peeps.
We got the beautiful Sirscha.
Let me see if I can make this it is the
beautiful Sirscha and Saengo.
So basically these two are the main MCS
of the book.
Um, this friendship is goals.
first of all, also look at the back of
these cards like the
Just for these just like nailed all the
environments of the book.
So these two beautiful characters.
Basically, they’re best friends and they
go through a huge roller coaster
throughout the book, If I tell you I’m
spoil it but basically it goes through a
lot of emotions their relationship
changes a lot.
But the one thing that kept ringing with
me was the fact that
Laurie had mentioned in an interview when
I interviewed her on my panel for social
That she wanted her book to focus on
female friendships because she found
that every time she read a book.
It was like the female friendships were a
little bit shallow or they weren’t deep
enough or they were catty and whiny and
she wanted a female friendship that
was like connected and wholesome and deep
and intimate and people can I tell you
that this is the favorite part for me of
this book like,
friendship is more intimate than
than relationships like
Every time I read a description of their
friendship, I’m just like
and I’m a read you
the quote that made me think
I’m in trouble with this friendship now
and the quote that I was like
here we go.
Let me see if I can find it.
So the first one
that made me think this friendship is
going to be it
said Saengo is my best friend and I value
her as I value.
No one save Kendara
the guilt will bother her all day if I
don’t alleviate it.
and I’m like
that’s friendship goals. She’s like it
wasn’t even her fault and you’ll see,
you’ll see what happened.
It was kind of her fault not really her
fault, but still like the whole time
they’re walking away,
Sirscha is feeling like if she doesn’t
fix this with her friend, like it’s
gonna make her feel guilty all day
and I’m just like but the thought like
she’s thinking about her friend
and like I mean Sirscha could have just
walked away and been like, oh whatever
the situation is over but Sirscha is out
here like nah I need to fix this like
this my friend.
She can’t be feeling guilty all day and
things happen in the book
that are like
their relationship escalates
and it becomes even more intimate than it
was when it began
which I didn’t even think it was possible.
But like it was
so beautiful to experience
and like you need to do it
and I’ll read you the quote that like, I
wrote it in my notes.
I was like, I need to read that quote in
it touched me.
my heart breaks the pain a knife beneath
I don’t speak but I put my arm around her
letting the force of her quiet sobs rock
Saengo has always been meant for so much
more than the life of a soldier.
She’s supposed to travel and have
adventures and claim her own fate
and then if she wants she supposed to
fall in love and get married and become
the Lady of Falcons Ridge.
She’s supposed to grow old, happy,
and content after a life well-lived.
I squeeze my eyes shut and turn my face
into the pillow
as I listen to her mourn all the things
all the things I’ve taken from her. and
Why am I crying on main?
I was like holding the book and I was like
there are moments
that you’re just gonna
hold your soul
in your hand.
so be warned.
Um, let’s see the second person that we
have to meet
My man Theyen.
This is Theyen,
he is one of two morally questionable
people in this book.
But we stan.
Theyen is a gray dude.
I love him.
I don’t remember what category he is in
the book and I’ll explain this later in
because there’s a lot
that goes into this world building and
I’m really bad about remembering all the
terms of fantasy, but we like him.
He is complicated
his banter with Sirscha had me rolling on
the floor because
I guess if you had to think about him,
he’d be like an annoying
that you didn’t want to have.
But like you really you really you really
do like him.
and I guess he kind of he grows on you
throughout the book, but I really
appreciated how he went from being like
the stranger, to like a little bit more
integrated into the story to like, ahh he
You know what I feel like that’s the
thing I loved about this whole book is
that every side character
became integral to the story at some
So yes, even though Sirscha and Saengo
are like the it of the book
every other character holds so much
importance to the story that if you took
them out, the story wouldn’t make any
sense. I mean that like down to like the
Shamanborns, which like you’ll know what
I mean down to the Shamanborns but
like everybody is important if you took
out even one detail you’d be like what
is happening here, which I appreciate
because like everybody is kind of like
everybody is the main character and we
love to see it.
and then the third guy that we got is
Prince Maliek and like
He a whole snack,
you know Prince Maliek is awesome.
And then Prince Maliek
He is our second morally questionable
but he has a character Arc
and I appreciated it because it was a
very good character Arc
and I’ll go into more
of that in a little bit because
I read Stamped
right before I read Forest of Souls and
let’s just say that some of that
commentary like seeped its way into
Forest of Souls.
So you’ll you’ll see
my least favorite character was this dude
called Johnnyah or I think that’s how I
say his name.
He gotta go
and when you read the book, you’ll agree
He gotta go
and the reason I say he gotta go is
because he is an entitled, privileged,
for lack of better vocabulary, you know,
and I was just mad at all the stunts that
he pulled at the beginning of the book,
middle of the book, at the end of the
I was like, excuse me, sir.
exit through the side door.
No, we don’t need you here.
I didn’t like him
Ronin the spider king
it’s not that I didn’t like him.
He’s definitely he’s a complicated
I didn’t like him that much.
It’s still I finished the book and he is
still perplexing character.
So like I’ll give props to Lori for that
because I still don’t know if Ronan was
a good guy
or a bad guy
like it’s like
Like for the whole, for the longest time,
I was like, oh you good and then I was
like, ooh you bad and then I was like,
but maybe you’re good?
I couldn’t tell so when you finish the
book, please come to my comment section
again and be like,
this is what I thought because I want to
know or at least tag me in your review
because I want to know
What did I like about Forest of Souls? so
many things so we’ll get into it about
the question of What didn’t I like about
Forest of Souls?
It doesn’t exist.
I liked everything, so like honestly
Forest of Souls was a five-star for me
and I really hope it is for all of y’all
who are watching this video right now
it was just amazing like
I’m gonna deleniate some things because I
So I wouldn’t forget to tell ya’ll, you
so number one props to Lori.
She put the terms of her magic system, of
the classes, of the different like
world-building terms, in the Front of
the book. Normally, you find these terms
in the back of the book so you can refer
to them, but honestly,
I appreciated it as not a common fantasy
that the terms were in the front because
I read through them first
and then I went into the story.
Yes, you could jump in without reading it
if you’re like used to reading like
big world-building and fantasy and sci-fi
and such but like
it gives you such an intro to what you’re
about to get into because her
worldbuilding is expansive and it is
huge and just having a little bit of
that knowledge is like
Then I was literally laughing at a couple
But this one this one really caught me
and I wrote to my friend Leelynn because
I was like what?
Um, so I was like, I literally cackled at
It said a Windwender: who can suffocate a
person by stealing the breath from their
They can also steal a person’s Voice by
perfectly mimicking it and all I thought
was Ursula? like I was like am I Too much
of a classic Disney lover that the first
thought I had was Ursula from The Little
Yeah, I know don’t don’t judge me.
me trying to guess the plot throughout
the book was definitely my own little
and I would like to say
the descriptions in this book had me
wanting to read more of the book because
Lori made everything seem so Lush, so
beautiful, so big, so expansive, to the
point that I was telling my friends that
like, I have an overactive imagination.
So when I remember Lori’s books, When I
remember like Lori’s scenes in this book,
I remember images, I remember pictures.
I don’t remember words.
I remember just knowing that the two
girls walked into the forest.
They were back-to-back.
They were holding their swords and light
as they were standing in the forest of
Deadwood and I’m like, oh this is intense.
Um, so like
yeah, it was like watching I’m telling
you it was like watching a movie and I
loved it because I could imagine
every scene that was happening
in perfect detail.
Like the only thing that I had to go pick
up his because I’m not really good at
imagining people but then Lori solved
that problem because she gave us
So I was like, oh this the dude, okay,
like the girls are a lot easier to like
picture in your head but the boys
because there’s so many distinctions of
Magic, whose Royal and who’s that kind of
Royal and I was like wait, wait wait, I
need a picture and then these beautiful
character cards came into place.
then we have the level of badassery of
all the female characters in here,
including the oldest character in the
book because the oldest character in the
book is absolutely fire.
Her name is Kendara
and we love her.
it’s just unparalleled like
it’s unparalleled and that brings me to
a thing about the book.
So this book is Hmong inspired and the
Hmong people are a Southeast Asian
They can be found in Southeast
Asia and China,
but it’s not
book like it’s not a Chinese inspired
book The World is pretty much itself.
Like it’s just gorgeous.
However, there are some aspects of Asian
culture that I was really thrilled to
see in there
because I’ve been living in China as some
of you know,
and so like
that part where I saw like Kendara being
like an older woman
older woman God I can’t speak English
today and older woman and she was
kicking it and she’s the mentor and she
is showing this girl how to kick ass,
and I’m like, yes and it reminded me of
this super subtle thing that goes on in
Chinese Society where like
every time you go outside you rarely see
young people working.
You always see older people working,
older people doing labor,
older people riding their bikes like
they’re still 15, like
it’s not something.
I feel like I see in America often like I
feel feel like people in America Pride
themselves on being retired sometimes
at least when I lived in different parts
of Asia, like older people Pride
themselves in being able to continue to
Um, and and they
I don’t know it’s something that I’ve
always found cool because I’m like, yeah
keep doing you like if that’s what you
want go for it.
and the fact that Kendara is like this
She’s blind she almost always wears like
a thing over her eyes, and she can like
kick people’s ass and train others and
wield that sword.
Like nobody else I was like
I see you.
I see you.
and so I just loved it.
I loved it.
Um, and let’s see what else do I got?
let me let me
address what I said earlier.
So the thing about Stamped and the book,
there is some commentary about society
like sprinkled like here and there if
you’re seeing it or looking for it or
you just happen to have read Stamped
right before you read
Forest of Souls
because the combination it really really
you’ll come to see that,
These beautiful women
specifically, the best friend is
privileged and she almost always uses
her privilege to help others.
She also doesn’t like the station she’s
in because it comes with expectations
that she really doesn’t want to meet,
just because like that’s not who she is.
and therefore she understands that
expectations put on people in the class
lower than her are also unfair so
whenever she can Saengo is out here just
no, like if I wanted your opinion, I
would ask for it.
And we stan. However,
we have my man Prince Maliek.
and Prince Maliek would be what you’d
consider in Stamped an assimilationist.
He thinks what’s happening to the
Shamanborns is wrong,
but he doesn’t use his power to dismantle
what’s happening to them.
just because he’s an assimilationist
doesn’t mean that he doesn’t become an
His character Arc Is My Jam because I was
like At first I was like I love you and
then I was like, I’m disappointed and
then I was like you the man and I was
um, so yeah, I absolutely love that.
yeah, it just reminded me of all of these
things while I was reading or for example
Like this one, the Empire’s history is
fraught with blood and death at their
attempts to conquer the continent.
But how much of what we’ve been taught is
based in fact, and how much is the
invention of a fear mongers hatred?
and I was like
Well, that’s a thought.
in general, I spent 20 minutes babbling
about the amazingness that is Forest of
Pardon me, but like I needed to record
this for posterity because
I was not ready for everything that
Forest of Souls was gonna bestow on me.
so I hope you’re still sitting here,
why this book is amazing.
I forgot to mention there is
A slight trigger warning for suicide
because there’s a comment that Johnyah
makes that is a little bit
a little bit out of line.
But other than that, I really hope that
you love Forest of Souls when you get it,
if your pre-orders coming in be super
excited, post all your pictures, I want
to see it and if you haven’t bought
Forest of Souls, it’s out today.
So like go Bookshop dot-org, black-owned
and Amazon if that’s all you can
have because I understand that
accessibility is important. Go get
Forest of Souls and everybody
congratulate Lori M. Lee on having an
amazing book birthday,
and I will see you all next time.