Another Excellent Spin on the Arthurian Legend | Review: Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke

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April Genevieve Tucholke proves once again that she is a standout voice in YA literature with this gorgeous retelling of the Arthurian Legend. (No, I will never tire of good takes on this legend, okay?)

Seven Endless Forests 
by April Genevieve Tucholke

In this gorgeous standalone companion to the critically acclaimed fantasy, The Boneless Mercies, April Tucholke spins a bold and blood-hungry retelling of the King Arthur legend that is perfect for fans of Naomi Novik, Garth Nix, and Laini Taylor.

On the heels of a devastating plague, Torvi’s sister, Morgunn, is stolen from the family farm by Uther, a flame-loving Fremish wolf-priest who leads a pack of ragged, starving girls. Torvi leaves the only home she’s ever known, and joins a shaven-skulled druid and a band of roaming Elsh artists known as the Butcher Bards. They set out on a quest to rescue Torvi’s sister, and find a mythical sword.

On their travels, Torvi and her companions will encounter magical night wilds and mystical Drakes who trade in young men. They will sing rowdy Elshland ballads in a tree-town tavern, and find a mysterious black tower in an Endless Forest. They will fight alongside famous Vorseland archers and barter with Fremish wizards. They will feast with rogue Jade Fell children in a Skal Mountain cave, and seek the help of a Pig Witch. They will face wild, dangerous magic that leads to love, joy, tragedy, and death.

Torvi set out to rescue a sister, but she may find it’s merely the first step toward a life that is grander and more glorious than anything she could have imagined.

Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke 
Rating: ★★☆ (4.5)

Naturally, I was all but destined to adore Seven Endless Forests. Not only is it an enchanting, vivid and deeply imaginative spin on my much beloved Arthurian Legend; it is penned by one of my favourite authors. April Genevieve Tucholke's middle name may as well have been magical, because that's the only way I can think of describing her prose.

As always, this book won't be for everybody. While I find Tucholke's writing to be dreamy and fully captivating (I'd seriously read anything by her), other's may struggle with its pacing and lack of in-you-face action. This is a brand of adventure and vengeance that won't connect with every reader. But, for those who do connect with it: this will likely be a top contender for best of 2020. For me, Seven Endless Forests was epic.

We're talking near perfection level of epicness. Some minor things I wasn't keen on were the lack of character development as well as some moments of Insta-Love that just didn't do it for me. Yet, for the most part, Seven Endless Forests really was exactly what I'd hoped it'd be. Like all good books, it wasn't defined by its lows.

Instead, Seven Endless Forests flew high and was magical. This is the kind of story I love to read.

In this companion to The Boneless Mercies, we are treated to many of Tucholke's most beloved traits and prose. As always, I could listen to her writing about nearly any topic. The world building, too, in Seven Endless Forests, is worthy of its own fifty-seven page essay on why it's nothing short of pure brilliance. 

While you don't necessarily need to pick up The Boneless Mercies to understand Seven Endless Forests, as it is a standalone companion, I definitely feel like you might want to! Ultimately, I love the world that Tucholke has crafted with such care and am in awe of the way she tells each story. Seven Endless Forests is truly a delightful and magical adventure that cannot be missed.

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