From Goodreads: Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo. And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life. Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.
I was iffy on starting this one. Could be good, could be a lot of overused tropes. I was tempted to give it up toward the beginning, because yeah, there are a lot of overused tropes, and there’s a lot about this book that feels very familiar. A “chosen one” type character (many books). A dark forest that impedes everything from warfare to trade (Shadow and Bone). Familiars (many books). An all-powerful queen set on destroying a particular race of people (many books). Even an ending that was extremely reminiscent of the first Mistborn novel. But once the story got going, I did get invested. The forest was creepy and intriguing. I liked many of the characters. I wanted to know what happened. Will I read the sequels? I’m not sure. It’ll depend on if this one sticks with me over time, I suppose.