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Briar Girls

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Lena has a secret: the touch of her skin can kill. Cursed by a witch before she was born, Lena has always lived in fear and isolation. But after a devastating mistake, she and her father are forced to flee to a village near the Silence, a mysterious forest with a reputation for luring people into the trees, never to be seen again…​ Until the night an enigmatic girl stumbles Lena has a secret: the touch of her skin can kill. Cursed by a witch before she was born, Lena has always lived in fear and isolation. But after a devastating mistake, she and her father are forced to flee to a village near the Silence, a mysterious forest with a reputation for luring people into the trees, never to be seen again…​ Until the night an enigmatic girl stumbles out of the Silence and into Lena’s sheltered world. Miranda comes from the Gather, a city in the forest brimming with magic. She is on a quest to wake a sleeping princess believed to hold the key to liberating the Gather from its tyrannical ruler—and she offers Lena a bargain. If Lena assists her on her journey, Miranda will help her break the curse. Mesmerized by Miranda and her promise of a new life, Lena jumps at the chance. But the deeper into the Silence she goes, the more she suspects she’s been lied to—about her family’s history, her curse, and her future. As the shadows close in, Lena must choose who to trust and decide whether it’s more important to have freedom…or power.


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Lena has a secret: the touch of her skin can kill. Cursed by a witch before she was born, Lena has always lived in fear and isolation. But after a devastating mistake, she and her father are forced to flee to a village near the Silence, a mysterious forest with a reputation for luring people into the trees, never to be seen again…​ Until the night an enigmatic girl stumbles Lena has a secret: the touch of her skin can kill. Cursed by a witch before she was born, Lena has always lived in fear and isolation. But after a devastating mistake, she and her father are forced to flee to a village near the Silence, a mysterious forest with a reputation for luring people into the trees, never to be seen again…​ Until the night an enigmatic girl stumbles out of the Silence and into Lena’s sheltered world. Miranda comes from the Gather, a city in the forest brimming with magic. She is on a quest to wake a sleeping princess believed to hold the key to liberating the Gather from its tyrannical ruler—and she offers Lena a bargain. If Lena assists her on her journey, Miranda will help her break the curse. Mesmerized by Miranda and her promise of a new life, Lena jumps at the chance. But the deeper into the Silence she goes, the more she suspects she’s been lied to—about her family’s history, her curse, and her future. As the shadows close in, Lena must choose who to trust and decide whether it’s more important to have freedom…or power.

30 review for Briar Girls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    3.50 Stars. This was a pretty good read. It did have a few issues, but I found that I quite liked it anyway. This is actually my second Sleeping Beauty retelling that I have read in a row. That was not on purpose, I just wasn’t even thinking but it wasn’t the best decision since I did find myself comparing them some. What made this book standout is that while it was a retelling, it really was a whole new story. While this uses a few similar things we all will recognize, for the most part this wa 3.50 Stars. This was a pretty good read. It did have a few issues, but I found that I quite liked it anyway. This is actually my second Sleeping Beauty retelling that I have read in a row. That was not on purpose, I just wasn’t even thinking but it wasn’t the best decision since I did find myself comparing them some. What made this book standout is that while it was a retelling, it really was a whole new story. While this uses a few similar things we all will recognize, for the most part this was a new and well imagined world that Wells wrote. One of my biggest pet peeves in fantasy is when characters are passive and don’t have any real agency so everything is just done to them. I find those types of stories extremely frustrating to read and I never enjoy the characters much. When this book first started, I had a bad feeling it would fall into this particular pet peeve. It seemed like everything just kept happening to the main character. Luckily, that quickly changed and the character ended up almost always having choices. Sometimes they were not great choices, and sometimes I didn’t like what she chose, but the main got to make her own decisions and take control of her own destiny. When it comes to any romance, the main character is bi and it looked like a love triangle was forming. I wasn’t that happy since I thought it seemed too forced, but then I realized that Wells was doing something very different instead. I have to go into a little more detail here so feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph if you are worried about finding out too much. Instead of being frustrated, I felt like Wells did a good thing here. The main character is almost 18, and due to her curse she cannot touch anyone. In this book she has the chance to have sex and is happy to finally have intimacy that she has never experienced before. While she enjoyed the intimacy, she realizes that she doesn’t want anything more from this person –except to be friends- and instead would rather look to see if she has real feelings for someone else. With all the slut-shaming that is so baked into books with female characters –and that guy characters that can sleep with multiple people but females can only sleep with “the one”- it was nice to see a sex positive, YA book instead. The person the main character ends up falling for I liked quite a bit. However, their relationship really needed more time to develop in the beginning. While it was not insta-love, it sure was insta-like. This is a pretty short book for fantasy, with a well build world and decent magic system, and I think Wells missed the mark by not having the two characters spend more time alone together. Had they had more adventure together, face more peril together, you would have understood why they felt so bonded by the time the middle of the book rolls around. By the end of the book I believed in them as a couple, because of everything they went through, but I needed to feel that chapters and chapters before when the characters were risking their lives for each other. There are a few other issues I had but I don’t really want to go into much since this review is getting long and my carpal tunnel is flaring-up. I will say that I had some pace issues in the first half. In fact, the first half in general I just didn’t care for as much. I thought it was okay, but something felt off that I can’t explain very well. However, the second half of the book really picked up and was good fantasy entertainment. I found myself completely glued to the story and really enjoyed the book so much more. So if you are feeling a little off in the first half, remember the book really does pick-up in the second. TLDR: This was my first book by Wells and it won’t be my last. While this had some issues, and I can understand the mixed earlier reviews, I still quite liked it. The first half is a bit bumpy, but Wells really hits her stride in the second half and it is good entertainment. The world building is well done and this is a very unique take on a sapphic Sleeping Beauty retelling. A copy was given to me for a review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    J (Midnight Book Blog)

    The cover! the blurb! the sapphic retelling of my favorite childhood princess!! I need this yesterday

  3. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    Cursed to kill all those she touches, Lena endures an isolated life on the run from her fellow humans. But when an enigmatic stranger offers to help her break the curse in exchange for her aid in waking a princess hidden in an enchanted forest, Lena embarks on a quest to win her freedom, no matter the cost. is 'poisonous-to-the-touch queer anti-heroines' finally becoming the niche subgenre it deserves to be? let's hope Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram Cursed to kill all those she touches, Lena endures an isolated life on the run from her fellow humans. But when an enigmatic stranger offers to help her break the curse in exchange for her aid in waking a princess hidden in an enchanted forest, Lena embarks on a quest to win her freedom, no matter the cost. is 'poisonous-to-the-touch queer anti-heroines' finally becoming the niche subgenre it deserves to be? let's hope Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  4. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    rep: bi mc, sapphic li, nonbinary side characters, sapphic trans side character tw: gore, immolation, amputation, magic requiring blood/self-harm a classic case of "it's not the book, it's me", sadly rep: bi mc, sapphic li, nonbinary side characters, sapphic trans side character tw: gore, immolation, amputation, magic requiring blood/self-harm a classic case of "it's not the book, it's me", sadly

  5. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    Rep: bi mc, sapphic li, nonbinary side characters CWs: gore, immolation, amputation, magic requiring blood/self-harm since we won't be reviewing this one on readsrainbow, let me just note here the reasons for this rating, namely: boring plot & poor pacing, a love triangle that made me want to gouge my eyes out (you meet this guy, immediately trust him, and days later you're in love??), & an ending that just didn't have any sort of gravity. also this? is an antiheroine? pull the other one. Rep: bi mc, sapphic li, nonbinary side characters CWs: gore, immolation, amputation, magic requiring blood/self-harm since we won't be reviewing this one on readsrainbow, let me just note here the reasons for this rating, namely: boring plot & poor pacing, a love triangle that made me want to gouge my eyes out (you meet this guy, immediately trust him, and days later you're in love??), & an ending that just didn't have any sort of gravity. also this? is an antiheroine? pull the other one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    While I mostly enjoyed this book, I ended up with somewhat mixed feelings that have more to do with my tastes as a reader than the quality of the book. I really liked the plot and world building of this book, it gave me all the fairytale vibes. If you enjoyed Sweet and Bitter Magic, I would highly recommend this. That said, I'm personally more of a character driven reader than a plot driven reader, and I missed character depth in the main character. Because of that, I didn't really connect with While I mostly enjoyed this book, I ended up with somewhat mixed feelings that have more to do with my tastes as a reader than the quality of the book. I really liked the plot and world building of this book, it gave me all the fairytale vibes. If you enjoyed Sweet and Bitter Magic, I would highly recommend this. That said, I'm personally more of a character driven reader than a plot driven reader, and I missed character depth in the main character. Because of that, I didn't really connect with her and I didn't really feel the chemistry between her and the love interest either.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    DNF. There were a lot of things I really didn’t like about this book. The characters weren’t fleshed out enough in my opinion; they all didn’t really have a personality besides being broody (Alaric), distrustful (Lena) and unreliable (Miranda). They were there only to carry out their goals. It also seemed to me there no high stakes to the things Lena had to get through, like retrieving Alaric’s long lost wings from a family of dragons. When she went back to Alaric, she was absolutely mad with him DNF. There were a lot of things I really didn’t like about this book. The characters weren’t fleshed out enough in my opinion; they all didn’t really have a personality besides being broody (Alaric), distrustful (Lena) and unreliable (Miranda). They were there only to carry out their goals. It also seemed to me there no high stakes to the things Lena had to get through, like retrieving Alaric’s long lost wings from a family of dragons. When she went back to Alaric, she was absolutely mad with him that she got hurt in the process. Honestly what did she expect from dragons? That they would give over that box without a price? While the world-building was interesting, with the Mundane (the non-magical part of the world) and the Gather (the magical part of the world), it wasn’t enough to really drag me into the story. The only part that slightly intrigued me was the spirit of the Silence. What did it want from Lena and why did it choose her? The premise sounded so good, but unfortunately it turned out to be quite a disappointment. And I really regret buying it😩😪

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Tokuda-Hall

    The bisexual retelling of Sleeping Beauty we deserve.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish

    X Men (2000) did it better, sorry. - DNF

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Marie

    Gorgeous and bloody queer Sleeping Beauty retelling, with a sentient forest, hot broody ravens, and a fiery sapphic love interest!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Kim Wells

    I fully hope (and expect) that this book will stomp on your heart. You have been warned.

  12. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I was completely immersed in Briar Girls from start to finish. Not only did I love the magic - this idea of a mysterious forest that seems to consume those who enter - but also the heroine. I loved how Wells features a magic world building system which blossoms in front of you. We think, like Lena that we know about the world. But it turns out that the world is so much larger than we (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I was completely immersed in Briar Girls from start to finish. Not only did I love the magic - this idea of a mysterious forest that seems to consume those who enter - but also the heroine. I loved how Wells features a magic world building system which blossoms in front of you. We think, like Lena that we know about the world. But it turns out that the world is so much larger than we think. Not to mention that a magic that prevents contact with someone is one of my favorite types of magic. Because it so beautifully examines this line between blessing and curse. One which Wells expertly develops as Lena wonders if there is power in what she always viewed as a curse. Wondering if her desire to be 'free' is more than she ever thought. Intellectually, this was such a joyful book for me to read as Lena explores this theme. But Lena navigates this power and takes us on a journey of escapism to questioning. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    At first, Lena felt like a helpless character being pulled from one situation to the next. Who she trusted felt arbitrary, and often was just the last person she spoke to. But this fit into the fairy tale aspects of the story: being in dark, magical woods, being lost, and not knowing which magical being to trust. As she gets used to this world, though, we start to see a different side of Lena, one who is angry and wants to wield power. She’s resentful of the life she’s had and of feeling guilty a At first, Lena felt like a helpless character being pulled from one situation to the next. Who she trusted felt arbitrary, and often was just the last person she spoke to. But this fit into the fairy tale aspects of the story: being in dark, magical woods, being lost, and not knowing which magical being to trust. As she gets used to this world, though, we start to see a different side of Lena, one who is angry and wants to wield power. She’s resentful of the life she’s had and of feeling guilty all the time for her curse. So it’s a bit of a revenge story, and a story about righteous anger. This really pulled me in, and ends on an epic battle that brings all these disparate story elements and characters together. If you like dark fairy tale reimaginings, give this one a try. I do want to give a content warning for cutting: this world using blood magic, so it comes up a lot. Full review at the Lesbrary.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan W. (pnwbookworm)

    I wish I had loved this but it just didn't work for me. I didn't like the writing style, or the pacing of the plot. The world and the details just didn't feel very fleshed out to me. I was super excited for a sleeping beauty retelling but this one was ultimately a let down. I wish I had loved this but it just didn't work for me. I didn't like the writing style, or the pacing of the plot. The world and the details just didn't feel very fleshed out to me. I was super excited for a sleeping beauty retelling but this one was ultimately a let down.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary the Winter

    I was so excited to read this beauty when I first heard of it! The cover is stunning and the premises sounds very interesting. There were some things I didn't like, the romance for example was a bit baiting which dissapointed me. Lena is a nice enough character but she's a bit shallow sometimes. (I know I'm 10 years older so maybe that's why I think she's shallow and impulsive.) I do recommend this book because it's a nice take on Sleeping Beauty and of course it's queer! #bookstagram #bookrevie I was so excited to read this beauty when I first heard of it! The cover is stunning and the premises sounds very interesting. There were some things I didn't like, the romance for example was a bit baiting which dissapointed me. Lena is a nice enough character but she's a bit shallow sometimes. (I know I'm 10 years older so maybe that's why I think she's shallow and impulsive.) I do recommend this book because it's a nice take on Sleeping Beauty and of course it's queer! #bookstagram #bookreview #sleepingbeauty #retelling #fairytale #fairytaleretelling #sleepingbeautyretelling #briargirls #februarifairytale #queer #lgbtqia #sapphicsunday

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liza M.

    More of a 3,5 stars, rounded up I appreciate the effort to give us a sapphic Sleeping Beauty retelling. Aurora is my favorite Disney princess, and Sleeping Beauty my favorite Disney movie because every second of it is beautiful. The graphics in themselves give the story this very ethereal feel that I absolutely adore and was disappointed to not find in this retelling. Now, that does not mean I did not enjoy the book. I did. The plot was always changing according to new information the main charact More of a 3,5 stars, rounded up I appreciate the effort to give us a sapphic Sleeping Beauty retelling. Aurora is my favorite Disney princess, and Sleeping Beauty my favorite Disney movie because every second of it is beautiful. The graphics in themselves give the story this very ethereal feel that I absolutely adore and was disappointed to not find in this retelling. Now, that does not mean I did not enjoy the book. I did. The plot was always changing according to new information the main character learned (and sometimes from contradictory sources !!), you don't really know who too trust, who will have your back, who will stab you in the back... And is therefore very interesting. The retelling aspect was rather loose at times but kept a lot of the original aspects and sometimes tried to add some Easter eggs which I enjoyed. I feel like Rebecca wanted to find another way to tell the tale, without going for a complete retelling which I commend her for, but would still have wished it kept the ethereal aspect of it. It was still very good. The bi rep was solid and I did like the main character most of the time but sometimes she was just a little annoying to me, while I recognised that she was doing the best she could with the resources that were available to her. Overall I'd say a very good casual LQBTQIA+ rep which I liked and was expected from a sapphic retelling but I find it really refreshing when "historical" stories contain casual rep and it is not condemned but actually accepted by the people from this universe. Also, one thing I really really liked is the addition of a character for Diaval (not his name in the book but his equivalent) who was one of my favorite characters in the movie Maleficent and I really liked seeing that the retelling was also inspired by the larger and expanded story and even other retellings so yeah, overall a good read, if not my favorite. I'd recommend this book to people who want to read a Sleeping Beauty sapphic retelling, since I am glad to have read it, and people who love adventure stories and unreliable-ish characters.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Therese

    This is a cute adventure book with curses and blood magic. The themes of friendship and the magic system were what saved the book for me. I really appreciated the way they all came together at the end of the book. However, the book is quite short and I think the story could do with more explanation at times. For example, the main character, Lena, is thrust into a world of magic (only knowing of the curse placed on her) and yet at times she understands how this world works in ways that she probably This is a cute adventure book with curses and blood magic. The themes of friendship and the magic system were what saved the book for me. I really appreciated the way they all came together at the end of the book. However, the book is quite short and I think the story could do with more explanation at times. For example, the main character, Lena, is thrust into a world of magic (only knowing of the curse placed on her) and yet at times she understands how this world works in ways that she probably shouldn’t. There is also a love triangle in the book, which is not personally my favorite trope. I think it works if you enjoy them though! Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 stars. I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Marie

    DNF @ 4% I did not care for the writing style at all. I felt detached and I could care less about the direction, the characters, the plot, or anything else. This year I have decided to be more free with my DNFing. If I don't want to finish a book, then I won't. I will not be rating this based off of not being far enough to have a solid feel of what I would rate this novel. DNF @ 4% I did not care for the writing style at all. I felt detached and I could care less about the direction, the characters, the plot, or anything else. This year I have decided to be more free with my DNFing. If I don't want to finish a book, then I won't. I will not be rating this based off of not being far enough to have a solid feel of what I would rate this novel.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arin

    I loved this book a lot. It took me a while to get through it though, since it was slowpaced. I loved the relationships, the plottwists, the battle at the end, everything was so fairy-tale like and even mischievous. Really liked it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Thank you so much to Simon Teen and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy. All thoughts and opinions are still my own. Unfortunately I am DNFing this one at 15%. I wanted so desperately to fall in love with this book as I adore stories featuring dark and magical forests. But sadly, this one did not work for me. I wasn't connecting to the writing at all. But more importantly, this story lacked any semblance of character or world building. This jumps straight into the plot, and not in a good way. I Thank you so much to Simon Teen and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy. All thoughts and opinions are still my own. Unfortunately I am DNFing this one at 15%. I wanted so desperately to fall in love with this book as I adore stories featuring dark and magical forests. But sadly, this one did not work for me. I wasn't connecting to the writing at all. But more importantly, this story lacked any semblance of character or world building. This jumps straight into the plot, and not in a good way. I was immediately felt like I didn't know enough about the characters to care about the plot... On top of that the heroine, who is cursed, traumatized, and clearly has strained relationships with those closest to her, takes one look at a beautiful stranger and follows her into a magical forest without question. Which is what did this story in for me. I just couldn't place the heroine or her motives and knew this book wasn't going to be one I ended up loving.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily (emilykatereads)

    dangerous queer girls? yes pls

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    Curses, a touch which kills, deceit, hidden magic, and a girl, who needs to figure everything out...this one promises everything to make an amazing adventure. Lena is on the run with her father again, thanks to the curse a witch cast on her when she was born. Everyone she touches dies a horrifying death. Their new hiding spot sits on the edge of a forsaken land, the Silence. The mysterious forest calls to those who draw too close and makes them go insane if they don't give in and enter the deadly Curses, a touch which kills, deceit, hidden magic, and a girl, who needs to figure everything out...this one promises everything to make an amazing adventure. Lena is on the run with her father again, thanks to the curse a witch cast on her when she was born. Everyone she touches dies a horrifying death. Their new hiding spot sits on the edge of a forsaken land, the Silence. The mysterious forest calls to those who draw too close and makes them go insane if they don't give in and enter the deadly realm. Lena feels drawn, too, but not in the way others seem to be. When an injured girl crawls out of the forest, Lena learns that her father has been keeping the truth from her, and that her history isn't what it seems. In hope of finding a way to break her curse, she follows the girl into the forest. But deceit lies thick with those who seek power. The writing in this book is very well done and drew me into the world from the very first page. In some ways, the atmosphere reminded me of Shadow & Bone by Bardugo with it's dark tones, a girl who is more than she appears, a dangerous barrier, and those who lie and want to use her for their own power, but in a way mixed between true feelings and selfish interests. There is tons of potential in these pages and the tale does lure in. Combine that with the well-done world building of shadows and unexpected secrets, and it is a lovely read. While this has so many aspects to make it a wonderful read, there were simply things which distract...and I think that much of this is due to the problem of trying to pack so much into one book. This could have made an awesome series. While we get to know Lena during the first chapters and gain sympathy for her situation, other characters are introduced a bit too superficially. Character depth and even the necessary depth to ground and explain many of the Lena's decisions is lacking. Several scenes come in and disappear again too quickly, leaving the sense that something more is missed and me wondering why they even happened in the first place. Lena's scars, thanks to the lack of physical contact, are well done and especially came across in one aspect of the romance. This also explained some of her over-willingness to find a friend in the beginning, but the deceit and betrayal should have impacted her more as the tale went on, and made her much more wary. This also caused issues with Lena's decisions concerning her final choice on the romance end. I definitely enjoyed this author's writing style and did find many wonderful moments in these pages, which made it, despite the problems, more than an enjoyable read. I received an ARC and am giving this one 3.5 stars, while rounding up.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. “The Silence is a cruel place, and the Gather is even crueler. It doesn’t surprise me that you find it difficult to trust. But the world is an impossible place when you’re alone.” Briar Girls begins with intensity as Lena and her father flee the town where she last killed someone. Yes, you read that right. But she isn’t a murderer. She was born with a curse that causes death to anyone who touches her flesh. The book wastes little time before introducing Miranda, an injured girl who stumbles out o “The Silence is a cruel place, and the Gather is even crueler. It doesn’t surprise me that you find it difficult to trust. But the world is an impossible place when you’re alone.” Briar Girls begins with intensity as Lena and her father flee the town where she last killed someone. Yes, you read that right. But she isn’t a murderer. She was born with a curse that causes death to anyone who touches her flesh. The book wastes little time before introducing Miranda, an injured girl who stumbles out of a dangerous forest called the Silence. Miranda persuades Lena to come with her back into those woods, promising that if Lena helps her, she will, in turn, help Lena break the curse. I was mesmerized by the first half of this tale. Despite the dark subject matter, the writing had such a gentle quality to it that it warmed me as I read. I adored the symbolism of the story and felt quite invested in Lena’s turmoil pertaining to trust. Her ambivalence with everyone she encountered made sense. Her longing to be touched after spending a lifetime without it also made sense. Even her quick, but wavering attachments made sense to me. I could have accepted the insta-love in this story, as there certainly wasn’t enough development in Lena and Miranda’s connection to call it anything else, if I hadn’t been baffled by Lena’s welcoming of someone who’d been willing to betray her in such a harmful way. If, as I was getting to know my husband, he said, “My original intent was to lead you to your death, but I’ve decided I like you so I’m sorry,” I’d like to think that I wouldn’t respond with, “Well, that’s unsettling, but I really can’t stop looking at your lips so let’s make out now!” That’s my Cliff Notes version of what happened here, but hopefully it illustrates why I found this aspect problematic. Additionally, it felt like the second half of this story slowed to a crawl. It’s strange, given the amount of action that took place, but I found it very difficult to see the book through to the end after passing that halfway point. I wish Briar Girls had met my expectations and captivated me all the way through. For the right reader, perhaps it will. However, the writing is as gorgeous as the cover and I’ll call this a worthy read because of that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    This is a bit more fantasy-y than is my usual cup of tea. I did immediately connect with Lena and her Rogue-from-X-men-like tragedy, but I got a little in the weeds with the worldbuilding stuff personally. BUT I know a lot of readers look for that. I also enjoyed the rush of feelings connected with learning the workaround to Lena's no-touch curse and I liked that she was able to separate out "love" from "finally able to have sex without killing anyone" and I think that distinction is good to mak This is a bit more fantasy-y than is my usual cup of tea. I did immediately connect with Lena and her Rogue-from-X-men-like tragedy, but I got a little in the weeds with the worldbuilding stuff personally. BUT I know a lot of readers look for that. I also enjoyed the rush of feelings connected with learning the workaround to Lena's no-touch curse and I liked that she was able to separate out "love" from "finally able to have sex without killing anyone" and I think that distinction is good to make and that teen readers will connect with those big horny emotions, and it's nice to have bi representation in this kind of fantasy story. That said, I didn't like...fully buy in to either romantic option? But I suppose it is a fairy tale retelling so some level of love at first-ish sight is to be expected. Anyway, not toootally my cup of tea but definitely something I could see being beloved by the right reader.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    2.5 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley and Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. There has been so much BLEH fantasy this year, and this is just another one. There's nothing particularly good about this book. Nothing particularly bad, either, but in a market so oversaturated with fantasy, if there's nothing good in it, it just isn't good. I was looking forward to reading a Sleeping Beauty retelling, because it has been awh 2.5 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley and Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. There has been so much BLEH fantasy this year, and this is just another one. There's nothing particularly good about this book. Nothing particularly bad, either, but in a market so oversaturated with fantasy, if there's nothing good in it, it just isn't good. I was looking forward to reading a Sleeping Beauty retelling, because it has been awhile. And I do love fairy tales. But this... didn't really do much in that vein. It had some of the motifs, but in ways that weren't interesting or twisted. Just in ways that... were. It wasn't all bad. There are some good things here, if you're really looking, and my full review detailing what those things might be will be available December 24, 2021 at Gateway Reviews.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tuni

    I was so close to DNF’ing many times. Lena is so unlikable. Just guided by the nose by people going “the person you are with is lying to you. Believe me instead!” That same plot beat over and over and over. And the romances are both so forced. There was no believable build up to either one. Just a switch flip from “I am actively using you and probably leading you to your death” to “actually I love you.” Blegh.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Cheyenne

    Is this going to have a sequel? I feel like the ending of this book opens it up for a second plot that the author could use and I'm not sure if that was her intention. I also have questions regarding the parents of Lena... Hopefully a second book is to come. Either way I really enjoyed the story! Loved the world building and the fairy tail feeling you get from it. Read the entire book within just a few short hours because I have no self control, lol. Is this going to have a sequel? I feel like the ending of this book opens it up for a second plot that the author could use and I'm not sure if that was her intention. I also have questions regarding the parents of Lena... Hopefully a second book is to come. Either way I really enjoyed the story! Loved the world building and the fairy tail feeling you get from it. Read the entire book within just a few short hours because I have no self control, lol.

  28. 4 out of 5

    skye

    [4.5 stars rounded up] NOOOOOO WHY DOES IT END HERE WHERE IS MY EPILOGUE WHERE ALL THE CHILDREN ARE HAPPY

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Thanks for the e-arc. Review to come.

  30. 4 out of 5

    J

    This sounds awesome. Outrageous that this is the first time I'm ever hearing of this. Rights for sapphic retellings!! This sounds awesome. Outrageous that this is the first time I'm ever hearing of this. Rights for sapphic retellings!!

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