A Perfectly Wonderful Dark & Twisty Fairytale
“Never let anyone make you feel unworthy. You deserve the moon just as much as anyone else.”
There are treasures on your bookshelf. Just trust me. I was gifted a hardcover of Among the Beasts & Briarsby Ashley Poston just over a year ago, and when I picked it up last week, I devoured it in a day.
Yes. It’s that Ashley Poston. Author of one of my favorites of the year, The Dead Romantics, has also written this beautifully dark and magical fairytale that has enchanted me so much I can tell it’s going to become part of my personality.
“…far off places, magic spells, a prince in disguise!” —Beauty & the Beast
I peeked on GoodReads and spied Ashley’s comments for this release all the way back in 2020 (where has the last two years gone?!), and I can guarantee that her little snippet from Beauty & the Beast plays directly into what I loved most about Ceryse and her journey in Aloriya. Ceryse is a humble gardener’s daughter. She’s best friends with the soon-to-be coronated queen, Anwen. Both Ceryse and Anwen have clung to each other after surviving a harrowing event in the magical Wildwoods and have lost parents and loved ones.
But Ceryse has a secret. It isn’t just the royal family that carries magic. Ceryse’s magic isn’t fire-based, it appears to come from the Wildwood itself—she can use a drop of her blood to call to plants and harness their growth. It’s with this knowledge that makes Anwen’s coronation such a disaster. The Wildwood sends woodcursed beings to Anwen’s event, and as a result Ceryse is tasked with taking the magical crown of Aloryia in order to get it to the safety of Voryn: a town hidden deep within the depths of the Wildwood.
“But here I was dancing with a boy who was handsome in a way only wild things could be, as if he wanted to be bigger than his skin instead of wanting to fit inside it.”
Ceryse isn’t alone in her journey, which is a good thing because every woodcursed being is currently on her trail, following the magic of the crown that calls to them. On this journey, Ceryse is joined by Fox, and a large mystical bear called Vana. The relationships that Ceryse forges with Fox and Vana prove that things are never as they seem. One of the my favorite aspects of Among the Beasts & Briars is Ceryse’s relationships with other characters: her father, her friends, and those she meets in the Wildwood.
This journey for Ceryse is one of discovery. I love this coming-of-age story that seemingly combines spooky elements (can you say zombies?), the thrilling chase, and how our history can so easily be distorted through time. I can say without doubt that I was enchanted, and I can only wish that there might be more books in this universe. Fear not, there is a very satisfying ending, and Ceryse and Fox have earned their HEA.
“I wanted to hang on to it. This feeling. He was a fox, and I was a gardener’s daughter, and there were no stories for enchantments such as us.”
Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston is perfect for YA readers and those who are young at heart. Do not miss out on this fantastic fairytale!
Jes is a self-proclaimed bookworm, who recently moved from the PNW back to the Midwest. When her nose isn’t in a book, she’s spending time with her husband, two kids, and her three fur babies, or exploring the globe. She also firmly believes that you should start the day with coffee, and end the day in bed with a good book.