Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston
Balzer + Bray; 2020; 352 pages
Content Warnings: Blood, animal death, graphic descriptions of violence, non-sexual nudity, death of a loved one, strong language
About the Author: “Ashley Poston (that’s me!) loves dread pirates, moving castles, and starry night skies. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in English, and went on to work at both Kodansha USA and Bloomsbury Publishing. But the dazzling bright lights of New York City couldn’t keep her away from old country roads, so she moved back home to pursue a full-time writing career. Her books have been on the Indie Next List multiple times, and have been featured in Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Entertainment Weekly, Hypable, and Buzzfeed, among others. She has also been a Goodreads Choice Finalist in 2017 for Geekerella, and a semi-finalist for The Princess and the Fangirl in 2019. She also has a critically-acclaimed space opera series, the Heart of Iron duology, which was named on 2019’s Rainbow List. When not writing, she can be found playing Dungeons and Dragons and writing fanfic. She lives in South Carolina with her bossy cat, and they are firm believers that we’re all a bunch of weirdos looking at other weirdos, asking for their username.” (Bio taken from the author’s website.)
Hashtags: #amongthebeastsandbriars #ashleyposton #ashposton #balzerandbray
In a peaceful kingdom at the edge of a dangerous and magical wood, seventeen year-old Cerys is safe in her role as the royal gardener’s daughter. But on the day of her best friend’s coronation, everything goes wrong. Creatures long concealed in the woods attack the kingdom, and only Cerys and the strange fox she once saved are able to escape. Now on the run and in the woods feared by the kingdom, Cerys, Fox, and a magical bear they befriend must travel to a mysterious kingdom in the heart of the wood to beg for a way to save the home and people Cerys loves. But not everything is as it seems, and if Cerys and her companions want to survive, they must unearth secrets buried within themselves and in the shadows of the wood.
Dark and magical, this book is a breathtaking new addition to the young adult fantasy world. I enjoyed the slow introduction to the kingdom, and once the action began, it was almost impossible to pause for even a second. The magic that Cerys possesses is fresh and new, and I was pleased with its growing role in the story. Cerys is a wonderful heroine who is relatable because she doesn’t have all the answers all the time and questions many of the choices she makes. Fox is also a brilliant character. His narrative voice was fun and fascinating, and I absolutely loved joining the pair on their adventure. This book is perfect for fans of fantasy, magic, and fairy tale twists.
(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change.)
PRR Writer, Wendy Waltrip