Today I am reviewing Damsel by Elana K Arnold! I bought this book (tbh) mainly because the cover was so gorgeous! It literally comes off the page as it glows, with deadly flowers surrounding the title and a bleeding heart just below the word “Damsel.” It was a quick read and I am excited to share my thoughts!
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 thought the premise of this book was so interesting. I love when authors take classic story arcs and twist them to their own imagination. Arnold took the story of the “damsel in distress” and made her audience question it.
That being said, the writing of this book also was very hard for me to read. I understand that it was supposed to be lyrical and old fashioned, but for me, it was just complicated. Also, I felt this book was too short and everything was extremely rushed. If there was another book in the series, or if it was just a few hundred pages more, I think it would have been much better.
The characters in this book were hard for me to relate to. I felt no emotional connection to any of them. I thought King Emory was an absolute dick from the beginning, even when he was pretending to be charming.
Amma, the damsel rescued from the dragon, was a blank slate. She doesn’t know anything about her past and is suspicious about her future. Obviously, she wasn’t happy with her circumstance but she doesn’t do anything to change it besides confide in her pet Lynx which she aptly named Sorrow. I only really liked her at the end when she finally confronted Emory about how she came to be in his care. That is really when we see the damsel breaking from her predestined role.
This book was a quick read and while I had some issues with the technical aspects of the book, I overall liked the idea behind it.
I also really liked the Lynx, Amma’s pet. She named it Sorrow, because she was sorrowful, and Sorrow was with her always. Finally, when Sorrow was near death, she set it free because a wild animal cannot be a pet, and she renamed Sorrow, Fury. I think the Lynx was supposed to represent Amma’s emotional journey and I really enjoyed that part of the story.
I do wish it had been labeled as New Adult as opposed to Young Adult because I was not expecting the sex scenes that took place in some of the chapters.
I give this book
Have you read Damsel? What are your thoughts?
XOX Shelby Grace