Miriam may be the daughter of Queen Alethia of Tirendell, but she’s not a princess.
Welcome to one of the October 16th stops on the blog tour for Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey with TBR & Beyond. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, and more bonus content! #briarheart #TBRBeyondTours #mercedeslackey
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About the Book
by Mercedes Lackey
Published 5 October 2021
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Page Count: 368
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
From beloved fantasy author Mercedes Lackey comes a fresh and feminist reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty.
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.
My Favourite Quotes
As part of my participation in this tour, I’ve been asked to share some of my favourite quotes. Please keep in mind that I read an advanced reading copy, and it is possible that last-minute changes could have modified or removed any of the lines below.
- “So when I had finally found that deep well of warmth and force, I thought of a flower instead of a snake.”
- When he grinned, he showed all his teeth, so this didn’t help to put me at ease nearly as mch as he must have thought it would.”
- ” ‘They both seem nice and not as full of themselves as that one idiot was.’ I didn’t have to specify which idiot.”
- “Ever since I was a little thing, I’ve collection odd objects.”
- “They were adults, and when adults are annoyed with you, every demonstration that you’re feeling bad is sulking..”
- “I stil don’t know how she convinced the King to pull him off. But then again, I’m not sure even the King was willing to deal with Brianna when she was angry.”
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.
I was invited to accept and review an eARC of Briarheart via NetGalley widget as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with TBR & Beyond. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Mercedes Lackey is one of my favourite authors in this genre and when I started my little review blog, I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to review ARCs of the big names I’ve hunted for on book store shelves for years. This is now at the third (fourth?) time I’ve had the pleasure of accepting a Lackey ARC and I hope to accept many more. What a dream come true! Rest assured, my review is impartial. If Goodreads and retail sites would permit half stars this would be a 4.5 (and will be on my own blog) but I have chosen to round up rather than down because my complaints are extremely minor.
Briarheart is a new twist on the Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. This time baby Aurora has an older half-sister with yet-unknown magic in reach to protect her. When the evil fae who would lay a curse on Aurora attempts to do just that, Miriam surprises everyone with the magical power to resist and dispel the curse. But how? Was Miriam’s father fae himself? Who is this previously unknown dark fae? Why was Aurora the target?
True to form for a Mercedes Lackey novel, this book is full of well-developed, empathetic characters with understandable motives who build genuine, earned trust and love for one another. I absolutely loved the world-building involved in establishing the differences and limitations of human and fairy magic and the stigma mundane humans hold against magic users. I love the attention to detail and correct terminology used whenever animals (especially horses) are on the page. I love (hate to love) how much the reader’s heart breaks for Miriam at that critical moment when everything goes sideways and there’s very little she can do to change it. Lackey’s writing is powerful, nuanced, and fresh.
My deduction of half a star comes from a complaint I often find myself silently putting out into the universe as I finish Lackey’s books, and that’s the pacing of the last few chapters. Hearts change, secrets are revealed, and loose ends are tied up so fast I find myself stopping and backtracking to figure out if all the loose ends actually were tied up or not. Then the book hangover feeling sinks in, not necessarily because this is one of those books that makes all other books feel inadequate for a few days (this would be things like The Night Circus for me) but because I feel like those characters were ripped away from me too soon and we needed a few more chapters to say goodbye to them. Whenever anyone asks what book always gives me a book hangover and don’t say Night Circus, I say The Fire Rose, another Lackey novel. This very specific way her books sprints that last 5-10% is not new or unique to this title at all. I can forgive it if this is the start of a series that will feature Miriam, but I feel like if this isn’t a stand-alone, it’ll be more like the Elemental Masters series where familiar faces pop up here and there but mostly the series can be read out of order and each book stands on its own perfectly well without prior knowledge of the others.
Overall, Briarheart is a lot of fun and a great choice for fans of fairy tale retellings. As either a standalone or the first in a new series, it’s also a great entry point for those who’ve been wanting to try Lackey but don’t know where to start with the behemoth that is the Valdemar universe!
About the Author
Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70’s she worked as an artist’s model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, a small recording company specializing in science fiction folk music.
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