REVIEW: Among the Beasts & Briars - Ashley Poston

Updated: Jan 7

During 2020 I very briefly worked in a bookstore, which I loved, but was unfortunately not sustainable. It was a great opportunity to get a better idea of the industry from a side I have yet to be a part of.

I'm always so interested in publishing and reading that I forget about the business aspect of books and writing.

While working as a bookseller, I was able to read quite a few books before their official release date and delved more into genres I don't usually approach (specifically kids and young adult). Among the Beasts & Briars is a book that I picked up based on both the title and the attractive cover. After reading the first two pages, I was hooked, and while the young adult genre probably won't be one I go back to often, I'm happy I got the chance to read this book. Here are my notes:

Title & Author: Among the Beasts & Briars – Ashley Poston

Genre: Young adult fiction/magical realism

Date finished: 10/23/20

Would I read it again? Yes – for light leisure reading

Would I recommend it? Yes – for younger audiences

Themes or characters that resonated with me: I liked the main character Cerys and that they got rid of the prince quickly/brought him back to point out repeatedly that he didn’t need to do the saving. I also liked that the book was very open as far as gendered relationships. No one was represented as entirely straight, and they played with gender roles.

Emotions, thoughts, or memories it brought up: Loving the woods as a kid and running around in them. Loving gardening! Struggling with gender roles and not wanting to be the one who needs to be saved just because I’m a girl.

Opinion about the author or writing style (readability, writing style, originality, personal impact, relatability, plot): I really enjoyed the slight morbidity to everything and the setup to whatever the sequel ends up being. It was very easy to read, most likely because it was below my reading level and not overly complex. But that made it great leisure reading and a fun story to get lost in. The author did a good job of world building without losing the reader/over-explaining. It’ll definitely be relatable for younger girls. A few original twists on some fairy tale/magical realism tropes.

Overall rating: 8/10

My biggest take away/general notes: I wasn’t sure about reading such a lower-level book at my age but it was interesting and went by quickly in an enjoyable way.

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