Happy Monday, happy March, and happy Women’s History Month, bibliophiles!
Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.
I don’t usually talk about a whole lot of middle grade books on here, so I figured I’d give this one the spotlight this week. I’d completely forgotten that I’d put it on my TBR, but it sounds like so much fantasy fun!
Let’s begin, shall we?
GOODREADS MONDAY (3/1/21) – THE LAST SPELL BREATHER by Julie Pike
A stunning fantasy debut, enter the unique world of the Spell Breathers. Spell Breathing does not come naturally to Rayne – she loathes the hours of practice, the stacks of scrolls, and the snapping mud devils that cover her mother’s precious spell book. But it is spell breathing that keeps her village safe from the dreaded monster curse that plagues their world. It is ancient powerful magic, but as Rayne learns to her horror . . . it is also fragile. In one clumsy move, the magic that keeps them safe is broken, her village is plunged into danger, and an incredible adventure begins . . .
So why do I want to read this?
First off, look at how pretty that cover is! The color scheme, the font, THE LITTLE FOX AND THE SPELLBOOK 🥺🥺🥺
The Last Spell Breather certainly has an eye-catching synopsis; right off the bat, we’ve got some magical elements thrown at us – mud devils? Monster curse? Ancient magic? Spell-breathing? From the looks of it, Julie Pike has created an immersive and original world in The Last Spell Breather, and I’m eager to see what lurks inside of it!
Plus, I haven’t read much middle grade lately, and I figured I should give it some love, because I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, the age of a book’s target audience has no effect on its intellectual depth, and Children’s/YA books should never be dismissed because they’re “for kids.” Somebody had to say it. Again.
That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! This is my last day before I have to go back to school… so heads up, I’ll probably be posting less frequently in the next few months because of school.
Anyway, this book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. Ashley Poston is one of my favorite authors, and I’ll always hold her Heart of Iron duology close to my heart. And although Among the Beasts & Briars didn’t quite hit the level of wondrousness of that duology, it was still a fantasy like no other that I’ll always cherish.
Cerys leads a quiet life in the kingdom of Aloriya, working with her father to tend the royal gardens. But behind her life of peace is a haunted past–as a child, the woods surrounding her kingdom stole her friends and her mother. She has never seen them again since. But by some miracle, the woods left Cerys alone, marked only by traces of magic in her blood.
When the woods invade the coronation of Aloriya’s new queen, Cerys is forced to flee. Joined by a familiar fox who followed close behind her in the gardens and a bear hiding momentous secrets, she must journey to the heart of the woods, where it is said that an isolated town has escaped the curse that took her mother and friends. But the woods hold secrets darker than the three could ever know…
I saw a fox outside my window this morning when I woke up…maybe it was a sign that today was the perfect day to write this review…
I think Among the Beasts & Briars was the last book I read this year, and I honestly can’t think of a better book that I could’ve ended the year on. Ashley Poston’s pulled off another masterpiece, chock-full of lovable characters and lush imagery.
With all of Poston’s novels, what shines the most is usually the characters; I’m delighted to say that Among the Beasts & Briars was no exception! Cerys was such a lovable heroine. I’m always drawn to and relate to characters who don’t possess the typical qualities of traditional heroes/heroines–they’d rather stay on the sidelines, aren’t quite so brave, and are unwillingly forced into strange situations. Like Aurora Rising, I really resonated with the message that you don’t have to be brave or be from a noble background to be the hero of your own story, and Cerys exemplifies that theme in its fullest.
And I can’t talk about characters without talking about Fox! He was such a delightful character, and I loved his development as he grappled with his transformation. There’s no shortage of interesting details in his POV of the shifts between his fox form and the unintentional human form, and he and Cerys had the best chemistry. Vala was also wonderful, and they made for a perfect trio of fantasy misfits. I won’t spoil anything, but Seren was one of my favorites too–REDEMPTION ARCS DONE RIGHT, PEOPLE!
I also loved the fantasy world of Aloriya and the woods. Poston’s prose makes for so much lush imagery, making for a world that’s as lived-in as it is fantastical. My favorite aspect was absolutely the Woodcurse–there was clearly so much time spent creating the mythology around it, and it was simultaneously fascinating and creepy. And Hellboy made me a sucker for all sorts of spooky monsters, and everything that got swallowed by the Woodcurse just made the paranormal part of my heart so happy.
As with most of Poston’s novels, Among the Beasts & Briars was reasonably dark, but at its heart, it had such a resonant warmth to it, a glimmer of hope and joy no matter what. With every novel she writes, it clearly shines through how much she loves crafting stories, and it shines through on every page.
All in all, a fresh and unique addition to Poston’s pantheon of masterful literature. 5 stars!
Among the Beasts & Briars is likely a standalone, but Poston is also the author of the Heart of Iron duology (Heart of Iron and Soul of Stars) and the Once Upon a Con series (Geekerella, The Princess and the Fangirl, and Bookish and the Beast).
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!