Wow. I can’t believe I’ve posted two hundred times already on this blog. While this feels like an important milestone, I am relatively unprepared for it. I didn’t plan anything special. No giveaways or special features. No discounts (lolz this blog is free anyway).
However, I have been participating in the month long celebration of all things Fantasy known as Wyrd and Wonder. For that, I’ve gathered a list of my Top 5 favorite Fantasy reads which are somehow related to the theme of FOREST. Anyway, here it is:
My Top 5 Forest Fantasy Books
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
This is probably the most recent thing I’ve read with a prominent forest in it (excluding Bear and the Nightingale, and The Girl in the Tower cause I’m trying not to make this whole month about those two books). I finished it for last year’s #WyrdAndWonder (2021), and wondered whether or not Emily Tesh should win the 2021 Astounding award (ultimately I said no). Even though I didn’t pick it for the award, I still thought it was an excellent read! I loved the language Tesh employed, and the mythical creatures revealed throughout the novella (primarily The Green Man, and Dryads).
Overall, I highly recommend.
The Runelords by David Farland
RIP David Wolverton (aka David Farland). I haven’t read much of Farland’s writing, but I recognized the name as an often acclaimed friend and mentor to Brandon Sanderson. I believe many in the writing community were upset to hear of his passing.
His most well known series, The Runelords, presents a pseudo-medieval world in which people can transfer attributes (like grace, or strength) through a process called endowments. Individuals with many endowments become super-human and are known as Runelords.
I only read book one of the series, but it was and interesting premise (and not hard to see the influence it had upon Sanderson) which quickly revealed itself to be quite profound. During the first book, which gives the series its name, the main character must find his way through a magical forest which is haunted by wights. I won’t give away too much about what happens, but suffice to say, this forest is the kind of forest we think of when we think about forests in a fantasy setting. Not quite the trope codifier (which I assume is Tolkien), but just a really great example of its use.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I’m sure this book will come up in a lot of posts this #WyrdAndWonder, so I won’t spend a ton of time talking about Naomi Novik’s great fairy tale inspired novel. What I enjoyed about the forest in this book was just how ALIVE it felt and how menacing.
Definitely a great read!
Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor
Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor, admittedly has many different kinds of stories within its pages, and most of them (if I remember correctly) do not have much to do with a forest. However, a few stories do, and what I liked so much about their representation here, is that they are so much different than the typical wooded settings we’re used to in a western fantasy setting.
There are all kinds of forests (like say . . . a palm forest) all over the world, and we really get reminded of that throughout this book.
Plus Okorafor is just an amazing author. I really need to do a re-read of her works for the blog sometime. Anyway, definitely read this one!
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson
I’m sure nobody is surprised to see Brandon Sanderson on this list. Despite the fact that his worlds span continents, oceans, and even outer space, not a lot of forest settings immediately jumped to my mind when considering his work. However, Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell is good enough to fill in any supposed lack of forestry within the Cosmere. This forest is insane.
Essentially, the forest is haunted by “cognitive shadows” (called Shades) or ghosts which will effectively kill anything they touch, therefore creating a new Shade. This forest is so dangerous to the world’s inhabitants that people living near it have developed a set of rules for traveling through them which might keep them alive. There are three:
- Do not kindle a flame
- Do not shed the blood of another
- Do not run during the night
I think you can probably guess what ends up happening during the story hahah. Anyway, I like this one because it’s a nice little glimpse into other parts of the Cosmere, and (IMHO) is generally not like any of the other stories we’ve read in that universe. Perhaps some might consider it a random one-off, but for me, it just makes things more interesting. If you’re a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere, I’d say this is a must read, and if not, probably still check it out anyway. It’s a lot of fun.
That’s the list. My top five favorite fantasy stories featuring forests in them. Also, if you haven’t already, please check out a little original piece of fiction I started for #Smaugust last year called Failmor Woods, which was written around a FOREST theme.
Now let’s see some comments. Have you read any of the stories I posted about? What were your thoughts. Any not on my list which should be? I’d love to here about them.
See you next time!