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Among the Beasts and Briars

[A quick note: This is the Owl Crate edition of ATBAB and isn’t it STUNNING? I love the flip of the colors from a white background to a black background...though I do have a million darkly colored books. And those sprayed edges! OMG. You know I’m a sucker for sprayed edges. And the reverse dust jacket art is adorable! I’ll post a photo of that at the bottom. I love the scene with Cerys, Fox, and Vala traipsing through the forest.]

“𝑩𝒓𝒊𝒂𝒓𝒔, 𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒎𝒃𝒍𝒆𝒔, 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒔𝒐𝒎, 𝑰 𝒔𝒎𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒂 𝒈𝒊𝒓𝒍 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒏’𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒐𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒏.” —Ashley Poston

The Kingdom of Aloriya has thrived for 300 years, protected from the wild forest by a magical crown gifted by the Lady of the Wilds. When the king dies, his daughter is too slow to take up the crown and a strange wood curse settles on the village-in-the-valley. Cerys is the only one immune, the only one who can save the princess and her people. She must venture into the cursed woods to find a city of legend, hidden within its mists. But the things in the wood are hunting her, and if she cannot make it to the city, everyone she knows and loves will be lost forever.

Absolute fun. This charming story reads like a fairytale, with an enchanted fox, a protective bear, and a curse that must be broken. It shows we are more than simple titles. A mere gardener’s daughter can do more than her namesake claims. She need only be brave and courageous. It’s a fast read that can be completed in a couple of sittings. And there’s a dash of romance, too! With its dark forest vibes, it reminded me of Uprooted. While it had some flaws, it was definitely an enjoyable read.

“𝑰 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒈𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒔’ 𝒅𝒂𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅𝒏’𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒕𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒅𝒏’𝒕 𝒈𝒓𝒐𝒘. 𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒎𝒂𝒚𝒃𝒆 𝒘𝒆 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒖𝒇𝒇𝒔.” —Ashley Poston

Cerys is no stranger to the dark forest on her doorstep. She has suffered because of it. She nearly died. But worse still, her mother, the prince, and the prince’s guard were claimed by its depths. While she and the princess got away, she forever bears its curse. Her blood has the power to make things grow. This sets the stage for our story.

My favorite character was Fox, rescued by Cerys when he got his paw stuck in a trap. Fox is her companion on her adventure. While Fox has his own personal struggles, such as overcoming cowardice, his heart is true.

There’s plenty of suspense throughout Cerys journey in the forest. And a little romance too. But mostly suspense. As she journeys to the mysterious city at the forest’s center, she is hunted. Beasts follow in her wake, trying to steal the crown she carries. She faces death many times, and must fight to escape its clutches. This kept the pages turning.

My biggest negative with this story was the ending felt too abrupt. I would have liked it to span a couple of chapters rather than one. I also felt there were a few loose ends that should have been tied up. It is for this reason that I’ve docked a star and a half. Endings are important and if this one had just given a little more to the aftermath, it would have felt complete. The final chapter was more of an epilogue than anything. But it was an enjoyable read nonetheless and I definitely recommend it for fans of YA fairytale lovers. 𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟯.𝟱/𝟱⭐️

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©2020 by Author Melissa Mitchell