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 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.

Saved in:

Young Adult Area Show me where

1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Poston Ashley Checked In
Fantasy fiction
Adventure fiction
Epic fiction
Fairy tales
Romance fiction
Young adult fiction
Action and adventure fiction
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2020]
Main Author
Ashley Poston (author)
First edition
Physical Description
338 pages : map ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

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.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

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

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A lowly gardener's daughter enters the cursed Wildwood to save her kingdom. Cerys, the royal gardener's daughter, always believed she would stay in Village-in-the-Valley, inheriting the care of the castle's flowers from her father. With only Princess Anwen, her father, and a mischievous fox for friendship, Cerys has accepted her quiet life, which includes being gossiped about by others for the magic in her blood that, when spilled, causes greenery to grow exponentially. As Cerys mourns missing loved ones, Anwen's upcoming coronation looms; as ruler, her friend will wear the crown of Aloriya, whose magic keeps the evil of the Wilds at bay. When the coronation is disrupted by the woodcurse, Cerys and the fox rush into the Wildwood, searching for the possibly mythical city of Voryn in hopes of saving the kingdom. Beautifully dark and descriptive prose creates a grim fairy-tale atmosphere that blends with horrific descriptions of bone-eaters, twisted magic, and the ominous adventure through the Wilds. The voice of Cerys, whose lack of self-confidence makes her a convincingly unwilling hero, contrasts with the talking fox's witty narration. The romance is relatively low-key, and the developing trust and friendship between characters shines. Some aspects may feel familiar to fans of this genre, but the writing and pacing will sweep readers along. Main characters are White; queerness is accepted without comment in this world. A deliciously dark coming-of-age fairy tale brimming with magic, monsters, and hope. (Fantasy. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.