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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.
- ISBN-13: 9780062847362
- ISBN-10: 0062847368
- Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
- Publish Date: October 2020
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds
- Page Count: 352
- Reading Level: Ages 13-17
Among the Beasts & Briars
Cerys lives an idyllic life in the serene, prosperous kingdom of Aloriya. She supports her best friend, Princess Anwen; tends flowers with her father, the royal gardener; and befriends a spunky fox who’s taken a shine to her. All seems well, though Cerys wonders whether her future role as royal gardener is what she really wants. But when evil forces invade Aloriya on the day of Anwen’s coronation, Cerys flees into the Wildwood, a dark forest that has already claimed many lives. As everything she took for granted crumbles around her, Cerys must uncover the truth about herself and Aloriya to save the people she loves.
Ashley Poston’s Among the Beasts & Briars reads like a classical fairy tale in the best way. Fantasy readers will appreciate how Poston conjures familiar elements but employs them with thrilling originality and flair. She turns tropes such as the damsel in distress and the dangerous curse upside down: What if the heroic prince disappears before the action starts? Could evil creatures have noble intentions? What if the heroine’s magical power is useless in a battle between darkness and light?
Poston depicts how beautiful things such as flowers or princesses can suddenly become terrifying. She paints a vivid yet dreamlike world of regal palaces, lively festivals and foreboding forests, inviting readers to admire the beauty of ballgowns while forcing them to confront the creepiness of crawling creatures and rotting flesh. But Poston also grounds the book’s decadent atmosphere in realistic, well-drawn characters and the relationships between them, ensuring that the fantastical trappings of her story never interfere with its wholly human heart.