content by

Genine Tyson

Destiny and Discovery in Lori M. Lee’s Forest of Souls

Forest of Souls is the first book in the Shamanborn series by Lori M. Lee, author of Gates of Thread and Stone, The Infinite, and self-described “unicorn aficionado”. This book is the first leg of an epic journey full of political intrigue, magic, friendship, and darkness.

In this story, we meet Sirscha Ashwyn: an orphan obsessed with rising above her status as a houseless reject and becoming the Queen’s Shadow—a Master Spy answerable to only to Queen Meilyr herself. To reach her goal, Sirscha becomes the apprentice to the current Shadow, a woman named Kendara. And at Kendara’s behest, she joins the Queen’s Company, the royal army academy where she is bullied and degraded due to her orphan status. However, she endures these things because of her friendship with a high-born girl named Saengo and the prospect of winning the coveted spot as Shadow over the other apprentices.

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Old Gods Are Better Than the New in the Epic World of Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Robertson

Forged in Fire and Stars is the first book in a new series by author Andrea Robertson. It’s an epic tale set in a medieval-like fantasy world reminiscent of Game of Thrones. The story centers around a girl named Ara, who, like many young adults, both rejects and embraces her destiny: to become a great Loresmith.

The Loresmith is the mystical blacksmith of Saetlund who makes magical weapons that never fail. Charged and blessed by the Five Gods, the Loresmith creates weapons for equally mystical warriors known as Loreknights. The Loresmith, Loreknights, and the Dentroths have kept peace in Saetlund for generations. However, this peace comes to an end when Saetlund is invaded by Vokkans, people who worship Vokk the Devourer, a sibling to Saetlund’s gods.

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Head Down the Rabbit Hole in Parker Peevyhouse’s Strange Exit

Strange Exit is Parker Peevyhouse’s second novel. In her first novel, Echo Room, she explores the depths, twists, and turns of the human mind in a sci-fi escape room setting. In this story, she continues along that same vein against the backdrop of a virtual reality machine aboard a failing spaceship.

The story opens with a 17-year-old Lake walking the streets of a post- Nuclear Winter San Francisco in search of survivors to save. The roads are mostly empty. Her encounters with others are few and far between, but she doesn’t give up. No matter how things appear, she knows there are more survivors and that it’s up to her to rescue them. She tries her luck at what’s left of the San Francisco Zoo. There are no animals left, but she comes across a boy named Taren and his dog in the Tiger House.

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