A Perfectly Wonderful Dark & Twisty Fairytale
Among the Beasts & Briars Book Cover Among the Beasts & Briars
Ashley Poston
Teen & YA Fantasy, Teen & YA Fantasy Romance
Balzer + Bray
October 20, 2020
ebook, hardcover, paperback, audiobook

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.

“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!