What I love about books is when you are reading one and, as you are drawing ever nearer and nearer to the end of the story, you don’t want to. You want to linger longer in the magical world that it creates and stay among the characters the author has imagined. The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner was one of those books.
The Forest of Stars is a dark, dazzling tale that mesmerizes with magic and mystery. It’s filled with all the elements I have loved in a book ever since I was a boy and, like I did when I was a child, there were nights when I stayed up later just to read one more chapter. And like the enchanted books of my childhood, this one lingered in my dreams even after I had closed the pages.
Heather Kassner weaves a tale that is equal parts creepy, emotional, wondrous, and balances character with plot in a way that leaves one breathless. The Forest of Stars is about twelve-year-old Louisa LaRoche, who, after the death of her mother, longs to find her father, who mysteriously was taken away on a powerful gust of wind on “the wings of his untamed magic,” the very same magic Louisa has.
After finding a gleaming black and gold invitation, she finds herself involved in the Carnival Beneath the Stars. Now I have been entranced with magical carnivals and circuses for as long as I can remember. Books like Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes to Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus have left me breathless and amazed at the unique worlds they created and Heather Kassner has done the same with hers. She astonishes not only with the imagination by which she builds this world of the Carnival Beneath the stars but the way she populates it with characters the reader loves and becomes invested so deeply in. She balances the magic with the creepiness to such a degree that haunts you in all the ways a good piece of fantasy should. I was constantly surprised and delighted by each new unexpected turn in the story.
If you’re looking for a richly rewarding and deeply spellbinding book to read, then I highly recommend The Forest of Stars.