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The Forest by Michaelbrent Collings #BookReview

Three kids went in.
Now, twenty years later, the two survivors are going back…

For Tricia and Alex, the idea is simple: find and rescue their friend, Sam, from his insane mother.

But when they enter the forest, they discover that their idea is anything but simple. Because this forest isn’t like any other. In this forest, a silver mist hangs. In this forest, a simple trip of a few miles can turn into a nightmare.

In this forest, the monsters are real.

Twenty years later, Tricia and Alex remember nothing of what happened that day they lost their friend. They know only that three kids went in, but only two came out.

Now, they are going back. To find their lost memories. To discover what happened to Sam that day.

To encounter fear itself.

The forest, as Alex and Tricia will discover, is a place where madness reigns. A place where a simple path becomes an ordeal. A place where the past comes to life, and the future is anything but certain.

Because the dead don’t stay dead… in The Forest. 

Title: The Forest | Author: Michaelbrent Collings | Publisher: Written Insomnia Press | Pub. Date: August 16th, 2020 | Pages: 459| Language: English | ISBN13: 9798670345958 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration | Starred Review

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The Forest Review

There are two things that Michaelbrent Collings does very, very well. The first is creating characters that you feel. They look, feel and act real. You can feel their pain, their love, and connection. The other is spinning my theories about what’s going on on its head and leaving me going – “But, hey!!!”

In the best way.

I might be a mite bold in saying this but that instant snap and connection that Stephen King aimed for in IT was done so well in The Forest. Two teenage geniuses that are so connected should feel incredibly cheesy but it does not. Emphatically does not. Their connection and growing love for each other feels so natural. And, despite them being that connected and similar to each other, they still feel like individual people with minds and personalities of their own. Tricia and Alex are great characters.

The addition of Sam is a benefit to the story and their chemistry but I could have wished that Sam was a bit more fleshed out. He feels so there and gone. But, it can also be argued that he is a presence from the jump with how present he is in Alex and Tricia’s thoughts.

The secondary characters are minimal but also feel like real characters. And minimal secondary characters are a bonus to this story. I think it would have gotten very cluttered if there had been more.

My favourite scenes between Tricia and Alex are the real-life scenes they’re shown in. The opening with them younger really hooks you in and makes you feel their connection. So much so that in the next, when things are wrong, you can feel how wrong they are and it made me sad. I loved their inner monologues about each other. Their loneliness and struggle to reach out to each other but longing to do so.

I haven’t mentioned the most omnipresent character in the book – The Forest, itself. It’s very creepy and the fog feels so smothering and eerie. It kind of felt like a very good mix of (Marble Hornets) Slenderman and The Blair Witch Project. The whispers described were creepy as all get out. The best, creepiest part of the book for me (in a book filled with creepy and much more high action scenes) was the part where Alex and Tricia are trying to follow the stream out of the woos. They’ve thrown leaves into it to determine the course of the river after a few attempts have led them back to where they started from. And the river’s course reverses. It’s a small thing but it made my scalp prickly. When things are defying the literal laws of physics and natural order then you really know you’re screwed.

I’m not going to say too much about the ending because I don’t want to ruin it but it threw me for a loop, I can tell you that. It was unexpected and had me sitting and thinking for a bit. But, looking back through the story it has been set up perfectly well so that it doesn’t come out of nowhere. The pacing and the plot developments make a fairly long book feel very short (it wasn’t the book’s fault I took so long to get through it, that’s on me and I blame 2020 in general).

In short – “Me like book. Me like words in book. Make more book.”

If you want a good supernatural story with a sci-fi twist to it then The Forest is definitely the right choice.

You can purchase an electronic copy of this book via your e-reader retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead. Click the names to find links to it from or through Bookshop at

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Published inHorror Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

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