Forest of Souls Readalong: Day 1

Beautiful photo by @writicious

Hello FairyLooters!

Its day 1 of our readalong of Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee and I am so excited to get into this one!

Before we get into today’s first chapters though, how are we all doing? Read anything good at the weekend? Let’s catch up in the comments!

Alright, now that we’re all caught up, let’s get on with the readalong!

Today, we start from Chapter 1 and we will be reading to the end of Chapter 5! Grab a beverage of your choice and some snacks and snuggle down for a reading session and then join me in the comments to chat about it!

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Forest of Souls Chapters 1-5! Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!


We start off with such a moody beginning! It’s dark and rainy and giving me such Autumn/Fall vibes!

Sirscha arrives at Kendara’s door, apparently late and Kendara isn’t happy about it. I think I love Kendara already, she’s so sassy ?

So she was supposed to steal the banner but not bring it to Kendara? What was she supposed to do with it?

Oooo a talisman to protect her from magic! I wonder why she would need that! Kendara must have something planned…another test perhaps?

what GIF by Olly Murs

Oh wow the training that she’s gone through so far sounds so hard and gruelling :/ I wouldn’t last a second!

No way did Saengo’s cousin just rat them out! And he gets to administer the punishment of 5 lashes! I’m so mad at him! 

Jeez the Officit is so harsh! He’s making them all walk now just because of Sirscha! She’s not going to be popular…

I looove the friendship between Saengo and Sirscha! Even though they come from very different backgrounds they both very much respect and care for one another! 

Little Rascals Awww GIF

This is going to be a long journey if people keep messing with her!

Omgggg no way is Jonyah a pupil of Kendara as well! I wonder if he knows Sirscha is as well and maybe that’s why he hates her so much, because he wants to be Kendara’s apprentice?

Oooo yesss she’s going to try and beat him to the meeting and show Kendara what she can do!

It’s very bold of Sirscha to run away just after she was punished though and I’m worried about what will happen if she’s caught.

Oh no, Jonyah is here and managed to get in past Saengo unnoticed! I can’t believe how horrible he is to her!

Suddenly they’re being attacked by Shamans and the whole place is up in flames, trapping them together in a circle.

As soon as Jonyah manages to attack and defeat the firewender, he instantly turns on Sirscha to take out his competition!

But the shaman attacks one final time and suddenly the tea room and Jonyah are on fire! 

After everything he’s done to her, Sirscha still drags him out of the fire!

What Are You Doing Reaction GIF

Ooooohh she didn’t burn because of the talisman!! 

Ahhhh it was a trap to find the Shadow and they walked straight into it! But Sirscha is trained for this and easily fights off the remaining two shamans! 

Oh nooo Saengo!

Okay, how did she resurrect Saengo? Also the line “I can’t imagine why my waking up is so shocking when she’s the one who died.” Really made me laugh for some reason.

Ahh Sirscha is a shaman!! And she didn’t know because she never knew her parents! But now this makes things complicated as shamans were banished from their home and what would happen to her if she’s caught there?

Oooo so she’s a lightwender! I wonder what kind of magic she has!

Uh oh, soldiers have found them and have seen she’s a shaman…this can’t be good! Aww I really thought they’d be able to fight their way out of this!

Nooo I’m so sad for Saengo! I can’t believe they cut off her braid knowing how much it would mean to her! That really has me emotional!

Sad Michael Scott GIF

But at least it wasn’t for nothing! The distraction allowed Sirscha to break free and the fight begins again.

Ahh the Queens guard, led by the prince have arrived ? what will they do to her??

I’m tickled by the fact she calls him Eyebrow Tattoos!

Oooo is lightwending maybe something to do with emotions? She seems to be able to sense them now…

Even though the Prince is technically their captor right now, I can’t help but laugh at the dramatic exit comment! 

Omg they’re leaving her in The Valley of Cranes until she can be questioned since she’s not allowed in the city. Ohhh I forgot it was a prison camp!

Ah, the party they left with is there…thats awkward!

Noooo they can’t separate Sirscha and Saengo 🙁

Well that was a very dramatic beginning! So much has happened already! Does anyone have any early theories of what is going to happen?

Let me know all of your thoughts and I will see you tomorrow!



48 thoughts on “Forest of Souls Readalong: Day 1

  1. Hi Amy and fellow readers!
    I first have to admit that I almost didn’t even start reading this book. The long list of words explained on the first pages made me feel hesitant. I can’t remember them all and I don’t want to look up the meaning of a word constantly. But I gave it a try and I’m glad I did! I like it so far!!
    Because of the connection Sirscha has with Saengo (I’m so happy that she’s still alive by the way!!! I really like her!) I’m thinking maybe she’s her familiar?? I don’t know if that’s possible?? But I can’t wait to read more so that’s it for today! “See” you tomorrow ?

    1. I’m glad Saengo is alive too! Your thought of her beeing Schirsha’s familiar sounds interesting. But I’m not sure whether that’s possible. But there is definitely a connection between those two now

    2. Sandy, I completely agree. The glossary really should have been put at the back of the book. I tried reading it and then got bored halfway through which made convincing myself to start the book a little difficult.

    3. I just started chapter 6 and I agree I think Saengo might be her familiar!

  2. Hi Amy, hi everyone!

    This was a dramatic beginning indeed, and I admire Sirscha already, because how do we like our girls? Tough and resilient!
    I also love the friendship between her and Saengo, I hope we’ll get to know more about how they became friends.
    I can’t shake the feeling the prince will be very relevant for the story, but I cannot tell if in a positive or negative way.

    And now, theory time: what if Kendara knew about the shamans? It could have been a sort of test or maybe she wanted to get rid of Jonyah?
    And it’s pretty convinient she gave Sirscha a magic resistant bracelet right before she was sent to shamans’ territory…that woman knows something.

    I’m looking forward for tomorrow’s chapters, I’m currently in a huge reading slump but I hope I’ll keep up, so far I’m pretty hooked to be honest!

    1. Yes, I thought about Kendara setting up this as a trap for Jonyah too although I have no clue why would she do this. Maybe we will later find out something about Jonyah that will explain this….

    2. yeah i thought it might be a trap too

  3. First thoughts: I like the Prince. I like Sirscha. I like Saengo. I hate Jonyah and everyone who treats my bby Saengo as shit.

    Kendara seems fishy to me. Like I dont doubt she definitely wants Sirscha to be the best and favors her. But she obviously had to know Sirscha is a shamanborn. She probably did everything as to avoid Sirscha having her powers awakened.

    I am curious if Ronin and Kendara are both acquainted when it comes to Sirscha. If perhaps Kendara meant to train Sirscha so Ronin could take over?

  4. Hi everyone!

    The first theory I have is that Kendara is a shaman, I mean she always wears that scarf around her eyes! It could be because she has bright shaman eyes. I must admit, the huge glossary at the beginning sort of turned me off, but you don’t really need to look through it since the author explains everything.

    Really resisting picking it up again and finding out what happens to Sirscha and how she ends up in the forest!!

    1. i think she’s maybe like one of the shadow people? idk I honestly thought she was one at first when she was called ‘The Shadow’ haha

    2. Wow, what an interesting theory! It didn’t even occur to me but now I hope it’s true and we will find something juicy about Kendara!

    3. I thought the same thing about the reason she’s wearing the scarf around her eyes!


  5. Hi everyone!!
    So I admit I sighed at the start with the list of places, meanings etc. I know, it’s actually a great way to put you in the mind of the main character so you know what they know, but i was feeling like it was a history lesson.

    However, after that I enjoyed reading through Sirscha’s perspective,seeing the world as it is and get relationships.

    I feel like there’s more to Kendara to learn, I think Saengo won’t be alive at the end of the book, like one of them will have to let go and I see maybe a slight redemption ahead for Jonyah.

    Can’t wait to read more!

  6. “Oooo so she’s a lightwender! I wonder what kind of magic she has!” It’s in the synopsis haha –

    I’m pretty intrigued so far – like I can obviously see Sirscha on the reverse of the dust jacket, but I’m not entirely sure on the rest of the characters – could the guy on the left be the prince? I really like Saengo, and even though Kendara seems a little fishy, she reminds me of Bhagra from the Grishaverse books 🙂

    1. Yeah I never thought of Bhagra as a compression but your so right, she does remind me of her now.

  7. I have to start by saying the reverse dust cover art work is stunning! It made me so excited to start reading this. Arz28 really knocked it out of the park with this one.

    Oh wow that glossary at the beginning had me seriously worried I wasn’t going to understand or follow anything in this book but I tried to not let it put me off and I’m so glad.

    I’m loving the writing style, everything’s so well described, I love all the characters so far too especially the friendship between Sirscha and Saengo.

    Theory’s so far:
    Kendara sent that Shaman to the tea house for Jonyah – who I’m not hating!
    Kendara is a Shaman herself.
    Prince Meilek is not all he seems – I’m liking his humour so far.

    Got to say I’m really excited to meet the Spider King! I have high hopes for him.

    Really looking forward to the next set of chapters, that I might have to start tonight ??

    1. Kendara being a Shaman would explain, why she’s so good at her job. I mean shes an old and blind woman but still the shadow.

  8. First thought “I have to keep this book during the reading in some way when I don’t touch the spider.”XD
    I like Sirscha, Kendara and Prince.
    Talisman will be, I think, an important thing during Sirscha’s journay.
    I don’t get it why Sirscha took Jonyah from the flames. I understand that she has a big honour and some rules which she followes but still…
    Today’s last chapter woow, Sirscha is a shaman and was able to resurrected Kendara. But after than they has been captured and went to the prison.

    Really good beginning and a lot of things have happened. Few questions showed. I’m super curious what will be happened next.

    1. And now I noticed that I mixed the names… And she resurrected Saengo not Kendara xd

  9. hello fellow readers!
    I am sooooo happy that I started this book! i love it so far! I like the idea of ​​the 3 kingdoms and sirscha and saengo are great.
    I’m so excited to see what happens to Shirscha, now that it is clear that she is a shaman.
    She definitely has some connection to saengo. Maybe she is a lightgiver?
    I don’t know what i should think of the prince or Jonyah. And what about Kandara… is he a shaman as well? But what is her magic?

  10. This book started out really well. I’m glad that Saengo didn’t really die. That was awful moment. I wonder did the fire somehow wake the shaman side? I can’t wait to read more!

    1. my theory was the loss of her friend awoke her powers as it seems to be strongly emotion based so far ?

  11. I must say I would have love to have a map for this story.
    So far the story is very fast paced and intriguing. I find Kendara is hiding something, maybe shaman abilities or the fact that she knew what was going to happen in the Teahouse.
    I wish I can get so see the friendship of Sirscha and Saengo develop more.

  12. Okay, okay, okay, what a start! Although the glossary on the first pages kinda scared me off and I already forgot 50% while reading chapter 1, everything that happened was so exciting. I really love the setting and can’t wait to continue reading.

  13. Hi Amy, hi everyone!

    I‘m so exited to be starting this book and it already has me HOOKED! I really can‘t wait for tomorrow’s chapters!

    The beginning is already so promising – I really enjoy the friendship between Sirscha and Saengo! And I‘m really intrigued by the Prince! Do I sniff some romance there?? He‘s being kind to Sirscha which seems to be a rare thing in this world (I‘m so mad at Jonyah that he‘s constantly acting like a huge prick)!

    And the idea of giant lizards as companions is so cool – I already love Yandor, he‘s such a cutie omg. Please let him be protected at all costs!!
    Especially from all those spiders! I must say that the constant talk about the Spider King really freaks me out (I very strongly dislike spiders xD) but I am kinda intrigued by him as well?

    Anyway, this was a great start and I can’t wait to see what happens next! 🙂

  14. I was so angry about Jonyah’s behaviour toward Sirscha, I admire that she helps him anyway, but omg I don’t want her and Saengo to be separated!

  15. Hey everyone,
    Wow. That was fun. I love the prince so much already ? and Sirscha and Saengo’s friendship is honestly amazing. Part of me was thinking that Kendara set the trap for some reason, but Sirscha’s explanation makes more sense, unless the whole plot twist is getting rid of the queen. I wouldn’t be totally against that to be honest, she doesn’t sound very nice.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s chapters xx

  16. I feel like the minority here but I’m not really feeling this story. The writing style is a bit ‘choppy;’ a few more paragraph breaks would really help, rather than info dumping lots of thoughts, feelings, background lore and other explanations into the one paragraph.
    Aside from a good editing needing to take place I’m having difficulties connecting with the characters. It kind of reads like this for me:
    * Saengo exists as a supporting character to make Sirscha look clever, capable and in charge; Saengo doesn’t really have a personality aside from straight up devotion to Sirscha.
    *Sirscha having living through all this horrendous abuse is a plot line solely to get you on her side, or to excuse her character flaws because there are a lot. She’s not defiant, she’s a real brat. For example, she had ample opportunity to be on time, knowing the importance of her task, yet chose to be late, putting everyone else out. The corporal punishment was of course sickening but damn there needed to be something, you can’t behave like that, she’s meant to be working to be a part of the queen’s army and couldn’t even get on time???
    *Jonyah, is just a straight out villain, again no personality aside from villainous traits so you hate him.
    I hope the spider king has got something better going down because otherwise this book is unfortunately just not for me.

  17. Hey guys! I was super excited to get this book in the Fairyloot it was one of my most anticipated books and so far it is not a disappointment. I like the cast of characters we’ve met so far (mostly) and I’m loving the world and the setting. I’m already in love with the Prince (course I kinda fell for him when I saw the character art in the reverse of the dust jacket) those cheekbones and not to mention the sass, dramatic exits had me. I’m super excited to continue.

  18. Hi everyone!
    I thought it was a strong start, and it jumped straight into action.

    I’ve read through some other theories and I have to agree that I think Kendara sent Jonyah to the tea house deliberately (yikes), and that she already knew that Sirscha is Shaman. Perhaps Kendara gave her the magical bracelet to enhance her magic; forcing it to come out? Also think that the idea Kendara could be a shamen is also possible.
    I am also curious about the thin scars on the top of Sirscha’s ears, maybe something more will come from this?

    I’m loving the friendship between Sirscha and Saengo, as well as I think prince Mailek is going to join the group (and going by the beautiful cover on the back of the cover so is the Spider King).
    I especially can’t wait to meet the Spider King.

  19. Okay I am seriously struggling not to keep reading!
    I’m loving Kendara but in a “oh my god you absolute sass queen I hate you” kind of a way if that makes sense?
    Sirscha is a mood and a half, the level of tolerance this girl has to be dealing with the people she has to put up with is honestly heroic. No wonder she’s the protagonist!
    Saengo is so adorable, I love her and I can’t wait to see more of her defiance and find out where the hatred for what her family stands for stems from!
    Also, kinda mad at myself for not feeling sorry for Jonyah as he LITERALLY MELTED but also kinda not mad…
    I immediately ship Sirscha and the Prince, it’s way too early and I have a feeling I may change my tune if Ronin the Spider King plays as big a part as I imagine he will and if he’s as amazing as I’m already picturing him, but for now I’m living for this ship and I’ll sink in it if I have to!
    The braid cutting killed me, I know that’s gonna be a big confidence knocker for Saengo, but I’m still intrigued to see if this will affect her loyalty to the Royal Army if she considers them from a new standpoint after all that’s happened and what I guarantee will be her demoted status because of the choppy new ‘do.

    Super excited to keep reading and find out if they escape from the prison or get let go for a bigger purpose, and I’m even more excited to find out her reaction when she finds out which type of Lightwender she is!

  20. Definitely hooked to this one quickly and looking forward to reading more! I do suspect that Kendara has some glowing eyes of her own underneath that scarf! I look forward to learning more about the magic and the creepy forest setting too!

  21. Jonyah is awful but also kind of dumb… the note specifically said to destroy after reading & he didn’t. At first I thought this was because the whole thing was a test for Sirscha, that she was supposed to find the note & act on it but by the end of the events at the tea house I now think Jonyah simply didn’t follow instructions. The Prince seems like a good guy… we shall see? Kendara is very mysterious… is she actually as only as she appears? Is she really blind? Or is she hiding her eyes because she is a Shaman. Who is she? Is she Sirscha’s mother? Is she actually the Queen? I think it very likely that Kendara already knew Sirscha was a Shaman.

  22. That was a start full of action!
    So, I must admit I am still a little confused here and there (especially about the names lol), but I really like the setting!
    I am pretty sure that at some point we will get to know the Spider King Ronin and I AM NERVOUS ABOUT IT BECAUSE I HATE SPIDERS. :’D but we will see… I hope he will be friendly at least? 😀

    I cannot stand Jonyah!! But who knows? There were characters I liked less and that ended up having a place in my heart…

    I have no idea what to think of the prince yet.. somehow he seems like a nice guy, but that could be a deception. It felt like he might be a love interest, when Sirscha thought about them being together as kids, but also Saengo could be a potential love interest with all the shared feelings and whatnot…

  23. So. This book. THIS BOOK.

    I got entirely overwhelmed by the glossary up front, like many people, and then felt a bit ridiculous because all of the content is very clearly covered in the first few chapters while I was attempting to memorise random details ??‍♀️

    Alas. The writing immediately grabbed me and didn’t let me go– “gobbling” is an accurate description of my reading for this. Sirscha is such a powerful and intelligent character and her determination is amazing.

    Jonyah… Well maybe I’m way more petty than she is but I would have left him to burn ? because… what a hateful and unmitigated jerk. I was a bit nervous there would be some kind of tension between them but I’m glad that seems thoroughly squashed.

    My only issue is the character of Saengo; I love their friendship and think they really work off one another well, but Saengo seems to be full of good intentions that always sort of go awry (like with lying to the captain) and she’s just …not my personal fav. This is possibly because I’m overly fond of Sirscha (and Kendara for that matter).

    Love love love this!

  24. This is a great opening! I’m really intrigued by the world and the magic system! I wonder what abilities Sirscha has. I’m thinking maybe Kendara is a shamanborn as she keeps her eyes covered, or she knows more about Sirscha than she’s let on, there’s something mysterious going on there.

  25. I think I’m in love xD. I really like the world & Sirscha. I dislike main characters that are kind of oblivious to what’s happening? Like, it’s clear what’s happening, but they just don’t get it… Sirscha thinks fast and she acts fast. I really apreciate that in a main character 😛

    Also really liking the prince. I think he’s cool. They might become friends later on. Or maybe more…

  26. And now I noticed that I mixed the names… And she resurrected Saengo not Kendara xd

  27. Hi everybody

    I seem to be the only one who is lost at the moment. I have trouble following since for me nothing connects yet. But I love Sirscha character and the fact that she has a power and a rare one at that ( the spoiler is in the summery of the book hehe).

    Her power must be that she hears souls and can drag or guide them back before they leave these world but I cant wait to find out if its true.

    I also love the bond between Sirscha and Saengo and how that bond helped Sirscha save her probably. I cant wait to read more about their bond ooh and the theory about Saengo being her familiar I must admit it got me thinking the same since they have a new special bond now or mabye its just her powers that connect to anyone she brings back.

    oooh the theory of Kendara being a shaman that could be interesting cant wait to find out is its true and if she did set a trap for Jonyah who is really annoying and so full of himself. I cant stand him but I do wander why he is like that since not much is know yet.

    So many theories lets see if any of them are correct

  28. Hi Guys

    I really enjoyed reading chapters 1-5. I had to stop myself from carrying on.

    I love the writing, its so fast to get through. I was worried i would have a problem getting through it due to there maybe being some word i cant pronounce but that was not a problem.

    I already love the characters, excluding Jonyah of course. Sirchas and Saengos friendship is beautiful, who wouldnf dream of a friendship like that? I can wait to pick it up again.

  29. So far so good for this one. I liked the intro of the main characters. I would have preferred the glossary to be at the end as everthing so far has been explained well enough in the text that I didn’t need to read the glossary at the start but that’s a personal preference.

    I was glad to see some sassy dialogue straight away and I love Sircha’s resilience, I think she’s going to be a bit of a badass throughout this book. The way her power was described seemed really intense. Very intriguing introductionary chapters.

  30. Hello everyone! I’m enjoying the book so far. I liked having a glossary to refer to if needed, but I would’ve enjoyed a map especially if they’re going to be traveling a lot. I wonder if Kendara really is in danger like Sirscha thinks or if she’s hiding something else. I like the loyalty and friendship between Sirscha and Saengo, I hope to see more interactions between them. I can’t wait to see Sirscha learn more about her magic or see how she chooses use it.

  31. I’m so late, but I’m going to catch up! Just finished this first part and dang things got complicated real quick. I really think Saengo might have bonded to Sirscha. Makes sense if she gave her back life, now they are bonded. Connected through Sirscha’s ability? Power?

    As for the prince, I’m curious to see if she is able to really trust him. He’s sounding shady to the core.

    I really enjoyed this first bit of the book. Tomorrow, I’m going to try catching up all the way!

  32. Diving in a little late This is my first readalong. What a great start. I love Saengo and Sirscha’s friendship. Wondering how Sirscha was able to revive Saengo. Wondering who Kendara is and what her role is in this story. I have so many questions now. Really looking forward to seeing how this story develops.

  33. I’m so intrigued with this book already! The setup is sso perfect and thi was surprisingly fast paced! I hate Jonyah so much but I love Sirscha a lot and I’m so intrigued abou tthe whole eye changing colors and resurrecting her friend thing! I’m excited to see where this goes!

  34. Starting this a little late, but I’m very interested after finishing the first five chapters. I’m another one who was almost put off by the long glossary (I didn’t get through all of it) but this readalong meant I stuck to it and I’m glad I did!

    I love Sirscha and Saengo, they’re both excellent, if opposite, characters. I love when we start off the story with a strong bond like this and we see it, not just being told about it. Sirscha’s new understanding of Saengo through the bond is lovely to see just from the beginning. And the Prince is also very intriguing, I love how Sirscha knows straight off that not everything is as it seems with him.

  35. I really liked the glossary at the front along with the pronunciations, im also really intrigued by the different magic systems we will most likely be introduced to, and I really enjoyed the first few chapters and Sirscha as the main character!!

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