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.
I thought The Boneless Mercies—Tucholke’s previous book set in this world—was phenomenal, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. The story opens with tragedy…and tragedy shadows the entire story. Parts of this are magical and enchanting, parts are inspiring, sad, evocative; basically the whole gamut of emotion lives here. The ending felt a bit rushed to me, but that was because it was more of a summary of events instead of actually telling the story (and to set things up for the next book, I imagine). Nevertheless, I highly recommend this!
April Genevieve Tucholke lives in Oregon. Seven Endless Forests is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) in exchange for an honest review.)