From a beloved fantasy author comes this fresh feminist retelling of Sleeping Beauty about one girl destined for greatness—and the powerful sister ready to protect her by any means necessary.
Miriam may be the daughter of Queen Alethia of Tirendell, but she’s not a princess. She’s the child of Alethia and her previous husband, the King’s Champion, who died fighting for the king, and she has no ambitions to rule. When her new baby sister Aurora, heir to the throne, is born, she’s ecstatic. She adores the baby, who seems perfect in every way. But on the day of Aurora’s christening, an uninvited Dark Fae arrives, prepared to curse her, and Miriam discovers she possesses impossible power.
Soon, Miriam is charged with being trained in both magic and combat to act as chief protector to her sister. But shadowy threats are moving closer and closer to their kingdom, and Miriam’s dark power may not be enough to save everyone she loves, let alone herself.
Praise For Briarheart:
“Lackey (the Valdemar series) immerses her epic fantasy in medieval verisimilitude, balancing fantastical elements such as talking animals and feuding fairies with the everyday details of baking and architecture.”- Publishers Weekly
MERCEDES LACKEY is the acclaimed author of over fifty novels and many works of short fiction. In her “spare” time she is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. Mercedes lives in Oklahoma with her husband and frequent collaborator, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots.
Review: 3.5 Stars
I love fairy tale retellings and as soon as I saw the cover for this one I knew that I had to check it out. There are quite a few Sleeping Beauty retellings coming out this year on my TBR and I was really excited for this one. I didn’t really know that much about it before diving in, I was just excited for another fairy tale retelling. Briarheart was a quick fun YA fantasy read that I enjoyed.
Since I went into this book rather blind I was surprised that the main character wasn’t Aurora herself, but rather her older sister who is trying to protect her from dark fae. It made for a really unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty that was really fun to read. I really liked Miriam as a main character, she was incredibly brave, loyal and determined. The story follows her on her journey to be trained in magic and fighting. I always love watching a character train to become a warrior and I enjoyed Miriam’s journey as well. It was a fun way to show the world and the magic system.
My favorite aspect of this story was the found family aspect. There are many side characters that Miriam becomes close with and I grew to really like them all. There are talking animals, magical beings and some human friends that Miriam becomes really close with. I loved how she was willing to fight for her friends even when it put her at risk. I loved the talking wolf, the unicorn and the dragon and enjoyed the fact that they talked and had full personalities. This was a really vividly written fantasy book with all sorts of magical beings. The dark fae were so fascinating and I really loved the goblins too. There was so much world building to take in and I really loved that aspect of the book.
I did have some issues with this book though. The beginning was rather slow and took me a while to really sink into the story. There was a lot of info dumping and the plot moved pretty slowly. I did enjoy the plot and the mystery of Miriam’s magical lineage. The side characters were all really interesting and had cool personalities, but I feel that all of the characters needed more character development. A lot of this book just felt surface level and I wish it dove deeper into character development and that the author showed more things rather than told them.
Overall this book was a really fun light YA fantasy. The world was pretty cool and I enjoyed all of the side characters and especially the talking animals. Miriam was a great main character to follow as she was really brave and loyal. I felt like the characters could have been developed a bit better and that the plot was slow and lacking in tension. This book definitely feels like it is marketed for younger YA readers, but I still really enjoyed it. The world building was my favorite part and I loved seeing all of the different magical creatures and learning the magic system. If you’re looking for a lighter fantasy read this would be a great one to pick up!
3 winners will receive a finished copy of BRIARHEART, US Only.
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