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Among the Beasts & Briars Review

by Yvette Baliko
Among the Beasts and Briars Cover image

In Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston, a gardener’s daughter and her pet fox embark on a journey to save her village from a curse spreading from the woods. Then her pet fox is turned into a human, a long lost friend returns from the dead in the service of the wood, and there’s all the more reasons to find a lost city and get help.

Among the Beasts and Briars Book cover

Among the Beasts & Briars Review

If I had to categorise Among the Beasts & Briars, I would say it’s lower YA leaning into middle-grade, which really isn’t my type, but I enjoyed this book. It’s a quick and easy stand-alone with some adventure and talking animals–again, not really my thing, but it’s fairly well executed.

The characters

Ceryn / Daisy is a well thought out character. She is a simple girl, or so she thinks, but she has depth that goes beyond any stereotype. I really enjoyed her journey as she discovered that while she was travelling to get help, she had all the power she needed to resolve the situation herself.

Fox is brilliant. The idea of a male main character who acts like a coward, and he is the one who needs the girl’s protection and not the other way around is very refreshing. That it is written in a way that he still remains likeable is a testament to Ashley Poston’s talent.

Even the side characters have enough complexity so they don’t come across as cardboard which is hard to do in a short stand-alone.

The plot

While the plot of Among the Beasts & Briars has its twists and turns, it remains predictable. I guess I’m a lot older than the target audience and read way too many YA novels to be surprised, but I suspected most of the big reveals long before they happened, if not straight at the beginning of the book. This is one of the things that I meant when I said it’s more MG. Young girl goes into the dangerous woods to find her strength and realise she’s more adventurous than she thought. It’s sweet, but simple. The curse is explained in the book, but it’s also fairly vague.

The climax is cut a bit short and there’s a jump to the closure which happens 6 months later. It seemed a bit abrupt to me, but it’s also wrapped up nicely.

The book is a stand-alone with no cliff-hangers, but then there are a few short post-ending scenes, and the last one suggests a new adventure / sequel. Again, it was a bit strange.

The romance

Well, the romance is so soft that it’s basically non-existent. Another thing that’s middle-grade level. And he’s a fox. I mean, I can’t really talk about this without any spoiler, but I’ll try. At the first hints at romance, I found it really weird. Then of course everything becomes clear later, but my emotional investment in that romance was completely ruined by then. Even though, I expected the twists way ahead. Anyway. Don’t read it for the romance.
Read Among the Beasts & Briars as a short break after a heavy book, read it if you want to see forest curse and animals, and a girl whose blood can grow flowers. It’s a fun read. 

Looking for more great reviews?

Check out my review of The Damned here.

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