Saturday, May 16, 2020

Review: Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston

I have wanted to read this ever since it was first announced. As I adore the author. Though I have only read one other book by her so far. Yet I still wanted to read this one so badly. It sounded and looked so very amazing. And so I could not resist getting it early from Edelweiss. And reading this months before it is officially out.

I wanted to read this book because it seemed like it would be an epic fantasy story with adorable characters and an epic quest to save everyone. I ended up being a little disappointed, sadly. And so I'm giving this book three stars. Which hurts my heart; I really wanted to love this book. But I had too many issues with it. Sigh.

I'm not sure where to begin. The writing was mostly good, but I still did not really care for any of the characters. I did not feel like things were scary or like they were all going to die. This book did not feel nearly as epic as it was trying to be. Which makes me so sad. Hmph. I was also a little annoyed with how many mistakes there were in the writing. I do know, and hope, these will be fixed before the final printing, but still. It made me fall out of the story every time I noticed this. I also felt like so much of the things happening did not make much sense. There were also way too many descriptions, and they all made me a little insane. I tried my very best to love this writing and this book. But I did not. I liked the story a lot, though. But no love. I did love the setting though.

This book is mostly told from the point of view of Cerys. She is best friends with the princess of the small town she lives in. She is the daughter of the village gardener. She and her dad grow flowers for the royals and everyone else. She has a good life. Yet it is mentioned a few times that she does not know anything else, that she doesn't know to want more for herself. This seemed silly, as we never got to see her life as a gardener. She seemed to love her life. Anyway. I liked Cerys. She was interesting. I just didn't love her.

The King has just died, and so her best friend is about to become Queen. I did like this friend, but we see so very little of their friendship in this book. And so I did not really ever get to understand why they were such good friends. It also drove me kind of crazy how when this friend was mentioned in the whole book her name and nickname were both used several times in a short amount of time. I wish it had been one of her names, not both all the time. Too confusing and weird. And wish we had gotten to see their friendship.

This book is about a cursed forest. For three hundred years Cerys's town have been protected from this cursed forest by a magical crown. But it is no longer so, after the king died. Evil creatures arrive from this forest, turning almost everyone at the coronation for the new Queen into evil creatures themselves. Only Cerys manages to escape, along with the crown. And her other best friend, a fox that have been with her for years. They escape into this cursed forest, searching for a rumored town that might save all of them.

It could have been such an epic tale of trying to save everyone from the cursed forest and evil creatures. But it was too silly for me at times, which just hurt. And yet I still liked this book. I still liked reading about the characters and wanted to know how it ended. But I wanted more. Much more. The plot was good, but could have been better. The ending was way too happy. Well, one happy thing I did want, but something else was too good to be true, and that bothered me. But still. I did really adore reading about this forest.

One thing that bothered me very much was this one sentence that was included from beginning to end. How the main girl was only a gardener's daughter. It drove me crazy. How she was only that, not meant for quests or important things. Yeah. It was not good. And another thing was how the boy was a coward at times, and how this was made to be a bad thing. Not once did anyone say it was okay for him to hide like he did. It was very much okay to do that. He was a goddamn child. So yeah. Made me angry. Ugh.

It also bothered me how the twists in this book were not really twists at all. Everything was obvious from the very beginning, which was disappointing. I wish it had all been more of a mystery. There was some romance, but I did not really care for it, because there was some silly drama I did not like. Hmph. I also very much disliked how convenient everything was. It was a bit too much at times. Also, when the fox turned into a boy, how this fox boy just knew everything about being a human, everything to say. Weird.

Although I did not love this book, Among the Beasts and Briars was still an interesting and quick book to read. I adored parts of it, but sadly did not love it. But still so glad that I read it. I only wish that it had been more magical. There were magic included, but too little and a bit too boring too. Oops. I so wanted more. I wanted more danger, more excitement. They were attacked many times, then always saved at the last moment. I just wanted more danger and hurt and more epic adventure. Still, was not all bad. Three stars.

Although this book is not out until October, I could not resist reading it already. And even though it was disappointing to me, I still liked it a lot. And I still think that all of you should read it too when it comes out. I cannot wait to see how very gorgeous the finished copy will look. Also curious if there will be companion books. The ending very much teased that. I would read more from this world. Thank you to Balzer + Bray for auto approval on Edelweiss that allowed me to read this book early. I'm glad that I gave this one a try.

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