The Forest Demands Its Due / Kosoko Jackson / Book Review


Douglas Jones isn't the usual Regent Academy student. He isn't superstitious. He isn't rich. He isn't straight and white. And unlike the other students, Douglas doesn't want any of the perks and privileges that come with graduating from such an elite establishment. He's just keeping his head down to survive.

Until a student is killed, and Douglas is one of the witnesses. Until he tries to bring it up the next day, and nobody knows what--or who--he is talking about. Nobody remembers such a student existing, except for the groundkeeper's son Everett.

But Douglas knows what he saw. In an effort to uncover the truth, Douglas steps out of line. He steps off the path, both figuratively and literally. Because the forest behind Regent Academy is calling to him, and he knows the truth lies in there. And he's right. Because deep in the forest slumbers a vengeful creature that wants blood.



This book wasn't what I expected it to be, and I'm conflicted about it. I fell in love with Kosoko Jackson's brutal horror style in other stories, and while this book does have touches of that, it doesn't quite embrace horror entirely. And that will mean it is never one of my favorite Kosoko Jackson pieces.


Demonic Forest What can I say? I've said it so many times this year, but I'm a sucker for a creepy forest. This forest feels ancient, the kind that can harbor some unspeakable eldritch horror. It feels like blood and guts and goosebumps because something is always watching you. You can't trust your senses... or can you? Anyway, Jackson nailed it.

Insular Community There's just something about an unsettling plot unfolding in a small town. This book might not be exactly a "locked room" mystery, but it still has the feel of one. This is a small world, a world of milkshakes and motorbikes, boarding school and diner dinners. It's all very close and compact. It feels claustrophobic in the best way.

Restoration Though I won't spoil anything about this book, I will say that one of the things that makes it lean from the horror realm into the fantasy realm is its undercurrent of hope. There are dark, brutal, and gory things that happen in this book, but it is underpinned by a sense of goodness, justice, and hope to bring all things right. And I really, really liked that.


Though I was pleasantly surprised by the underpinnings of hope here, I was still disappointed that this book is more fantasy than horror. Just because I went into it expecting the horror that Jackson has provided before. Others definitely won't feel the same as me, because this is more the case of dashed expectations than an actual flaw with the book itself. Fantasy

I'm not a person who has a particular tense I prefer books to be written in. Whatever serves the story best works. Here, the problem wasn't the present tense. The problem was that I would get pulled out of the story because of the present tense. Because something didn't quite feel right. Constructions would be awkward, and that was to its detriment. Present Tense

I don't mean "fleshless" in the sense that these characters lost their flesh (though, reader be warned, some of them most certainly do). I mean that, aside from Douglas and perhaps Everett (though that's pretty debatable), everybody feels a little... flat. I wasn't connected to any of them. The plot was too big, too spooky, and so the characters got swallowed by it. I didn't get a chance to grow attached to any of them. I didn't even get to know any of them. Fleshless Characters



Fans of Susan Dennard's The Luminaries will love this new foggy forest full of nightmares. Those who loved Elizabeth Kilcoyne's Wake the Bones will appreciate this new small town laced with eldritch horror.


Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Date: October 3, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. I really like the sound of this setting! I've never read any books from this author, but I'm looking forward to checking their work out. Thank you for sharing!

  2. That's a thorough review. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I love the layouts for your reviews! I’m sorry this one wasn’t as good as others by this author. Wonderful review.

    1. I've been fiddling with the layout recently, so I'm glad to hear you like it! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. That's so interesting about the tense - I don't think I've ever paid much attention to the tense a book is written in before!

    Corinne x

  5. Not really one for horror so this sounds perfect to me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I'm curious about this book. I haven't heard of it before but I'll add it to my 'to check' pile for sure

  7. Where’s my due!? I demand my due.

  8. This sounds like an intresting horror book to read for spooky season. It is a downfall though that you really only get to know the main character.


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