ARC Review: " Damsel" by Elana K. Arnold

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.



I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I knew that this book was going to be different ever since I saw the cover. Fire, glass and birds, even a heart. These beautiful elements of the cover are also clues for the story, so pay attention.

"Damsel" is about a Prince who must save the damsel who is locked away by a big bad dragon. Prince Emory takes this trip not having any knowledge beforehand of what to expect, as all his predecessors did before him. After a brutal fight, he returns home with his Damsel who has no recollection of who she is and Emory names her Ama.

The first chapters of the book are told through Emory's POV. And anyone who also has an ARC and has read it will agree that it is obvious from the start that we have to deal with a selfish, horrible human being, who thinks highly and mighty of himself. Repeatedly I read the phrase: "as it's his right" and also he would boast about his "horn". UGH

And then the story moves to Ama who is told that she'll be a queen, that it's her duty to bear Emory a son who will take the mantle. And that it's a woman's duty to keep her mouth shut and listen to her man. From a point on I felt like I was reading a very bad written bodice ripper. The language also felt like that.

But the most characteristic part is the absence of action. Fantasies are supposed to have lots of action, yet in this book, I didn't care. Because I struggle with Ama, feeling her stifling life and the role she was supposed to fit into, as everyone around her tried to mold her into something else. From a point on, especially because of Emory's mother, the Queen, I realized what the truth was and honestly the ending was very satisfying. Yes, you may frown at me when you come back and read the review again BUT, I always become satisfied when the ending makes you breathe finally after a truly the protagonist gets what she truly needs.

And honestly? Elana's writing was very realistic. I want more fantasies like this one.

About the author:

ELANA K. ARNOLD writes books for and about children and teens. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing/Fiction from the University of California, Davis where she has taught Creative Writing and Adolescent Literature. Her most recent YA novel, WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF, has been longlisted for the National Book Award, and her middle grade novel, A BOY CALLED BAT, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. A parent and educator living in Huntington Beach, California, Elana is a frequent speaker at schools, libraries, and writers’ conferences. Currently, Elana is the caretaker of seven pets, only three of which have fur.

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