This is book number 1 in the Forestborn series.
A young, orphaned shapeshifter in a world that fears magic must risk everything if she hopes to save her only friend in Elayne Audrey Becker's Forestborn, first in a new fantasy series with a timeless feel.
TO BE BORN OF THE FOREST IS A GIFT AND A CURSE.
Rora is a shifter, as magical as all those born in the wilderness—and as feared. She uses her abilities to spy for the king, traveling under different guises and listening for signs of trouble.
When a magical illness surfaces across the kingdom, Rora uncovers a devastating truth: Finley, the young prince and her best friend, has caught it, too. His only hope is stardust, the rarest of magical elements, found deep in the wilderness where Rora grew up—and to which she swore never to return.
But for her only friend, Rora will face her past and brave the dark, magical wood, journeying with her brother and the obstinate, older prince who insists on coming. Together, they must survive sentient forests and creatures unknown, battling an ever-changing landscape while escaping human pursuers who want them dead. With illness gripping the kingdom and war on the horizon, Finley’s is not the only life that hangs in the balance.
“From the first page, readers will be caught up in this story of shape-shifters, forest magic, political conflict and the bonds between friends. The world building is breathtaking and the characters are complex and engaging. Highly recommended for readers who like an epic fantasy with heart and spirit.”—Juliet Marillier, author of the Sevenwaters and Warrior Bards series
“Forestborn took me by surprise. It's exciting, heartbreaking, and it would seem as if Elayne Becker's imagination knows no limits. I will be first in line for her next book.”—T. J. Klune, New York Times bestselling author of The House in the Cerulean Sea
“Like the ancient magic in its mountains, Forestborn is a tale that settles deep into the soul, a haunting love song to the dangerous splendor of the wild—and a testament to the power of friendship on the journey of grief and healing.”—Joanna Hathaway, author of Dark of the West
“The reader flies through Forestborn as Rora, the shape-shifting protagonist, sails over the treetops, powered by Becker's propulsively readable style.”—Sarah Kozloff, author of The Nine Realms series
“Both a journey self-discovery and a survival story . . . an epic high fantasy adventure with highly descriptive worldbuilding that is sure to please fans of the genre.”—School Library Journal
“Hand this one to your Robin McKinley fans.”—Booklist
“A Tolkienesque fantasy . . . [with] video game–style landscapes described in a breathless first-person narration”—Publishers Weekly
“Fantasy fans looking for high stakes adventure with a budding romance are sure to devour this one, and the ending will have readers anxious for a sequel.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books