Among the beasts & briars

Ashley Poston

Book - 2020

Ashley Poston, acclaimed author of Heart of Iron, returns with a dark, lush fairy tale-inspired fantasy for fans of Sara Raasch and Susan Dennard. Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too we...ll: When she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse--the magic--in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It's up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it's going to take everything she has just to survive.

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YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Poston Ashley
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Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Folklore
Adventure fiction
Epic fiction
Fairy tales
Romance fiction
Romances
Young adult fiction
Action and adventure fiction
Published
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
338 pages : map ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780062847362
0062847368
Main Author
Ashley Poston (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

A golden crown, said to be a gift of friendship, is all that stands between the dark forest and the city of Aloriya. But the woods have started claiming townsfolk, and Cerys' best friend, the crown princess, is among the latest victims of the woodcursed. Cerys vows to save her home by using her special talents to find the Lady of the Wilds, said to live in a legendary city called Voryn. She undertakes the quest, accompanied by an odd companion, Fox—once an animal and now human—and discovers dark secrets, misunderstandings, and the opportunity to make a new beginning. Poston presents a true fairy tale, with transformations, unlikely love, and magical artifacts that are not what they seem. The pacing never lags, and readers will find themselves catching their breath as events escalate. Content following the author's afterword indicates this is not the last we will hear from this cast of characters. Try this with fans of Kathryn Purdie's Bone Crier's Moon (2020) or Margaret Owen's Merciful Crow series for more dark tales. Grades 8-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—Poston's quiet writing style gives life to an original, spine-tingling fairy tale perfect for middle schoolers who are venturing into the world of YA. The country of Aloriya tells a story about the king's magical crown: a gift from the Lady of the Wilds in the magical city of Voryn to the first king, as eternal protection from the Woods. That story is a lie. Cerys's blood can bring forests to life—a curse leftover from her trip into the Woods, when she and the Princess Anwen were the only survivors. When Anwen's coronation is interrupted by a woodcursed stranger and bone-eaters who are after the crown, Cerys takes it and runs for the Wildwood. With Fox and their new friend Bear to help evade their new enemies, Cerys makes for Voryn. Poston cut her teeth on retellings; this is her first original fairy tale, and it's the perfect balance of heartwarming adventure and creepy monsters. There are unanswered questions that keep the story from being entirely satisfying, but open up the possibility for more original fairy tales. The casual assumption of bisexuality lends the impression that queer relationships are the norm in this world. The majority of the cast is white—Cerys is pale with freckles, Anwen has blonde hair and blue eyes—but there is mention of darker skin tones among peripheral characters. VERDICT Naomi Novik's Uprooted for a younger audience, Poston has written a soft, romantic standalone that should be considered an additional purchase for libraries where fantasy is popular.—Emmy Neal, Lake Forest Lib., IL Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Ashley Poston, acclaimed author of Heart of Iron, returns with a dark, lush fairy tale-inspired fantasy for fans of Sara Raasch and Susan Dennard. Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: Whenshe was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse--the magic--in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It's up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it's going to take everything she has just to survive"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Ashley Poston, acclaimed author of Heart of Iron, returns with a dark, lush fairy tale'inspired fantasy for fans of Sara Raasch and Susan Dennard.Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden.Cerys knows this all too well: When she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse'the magic'in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything.As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It's up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home.But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it's going to take everything she has just to survive.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Ashley Poston, acclaimed author of Heart of Iron, returns with a dark, lush fairy tale–inspired fantasy for fans of Sara Raasch and Susan Dennard.Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden.Cerys knows this all too well: When she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything.As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home.But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.