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Among the Beasts & Briars

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Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya.

Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

352 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 20, 2020

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About the author

Ashley Poston

20 books6,129 followers
New York Times best-seller by day, fanfic author by night.

Viist her at www.ashposton.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,324 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.5k followers
October 31, 2020
theres nothing inherently wrong with this book, so i feel super guilty about only giving this 3 stars. but i just wasnt connecting with the story as much as i wanted to.

this has a very classic fairytale vibe. theres a little bit of magic, faraway kingdoms, spooky woods and some adventure. and i think because this story is very reminiscent of childhood tales, it felt just a wee bit too juvenile for me. again, this isnt a fault of the books, i was just in the mood for a fantasy story that is a little more mature.

but i think readers who are looking for something whimsical and light will really enjoy this!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 31, 2020

Just released my Top 10 Books from 2020 BookTube Video - now that you know this one made the list, click the link to find the rest!
Annnd here's my book vlog!


Click the link if you want to see the OwlCrate Unboxing Video & Review - and seriously. This book was ah-maz-ing. ALLLLLL the stars.
YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,073 followers
January 21, 2021
I would have liked more, but what I did get was lush. 💖🥰👑

“You trekked among the beasts and briars, and the deep heart led you all the way to Voryn.”

If you like your fairyales sweet and Disney-esque then Among the Beasts and Briars is for you!

Usually I’d find something like this a bit too twee but with this third lockdown I honestly needed something happy and that is what I got!

Cerys lives in the Village-in-the-valley with her father, the royal palace gardener. Her best friend is the Queen to be and she still struggles with a childhood trauma.

The wild wood has always been dangerous - the first king received a crown from the lady of the wood to protect Aloryia and its people. However when Cerys, the prince and the princess run in as children not all of them come out.

Fast forward 10 years and the wood is taking over. Creatures called ancients are infecting the people and it seems Cerys is the only person who can help.

Ultimately a journey story filled with magic. I guessed the main ‘surprise’ and there were a few times when the magic system didn’t seem to add up. But to be honest - I had a good time reading this and a good dose of nice magical storytelling was just what I needed. I didn’t even mind the romance which is completely unheard of for me! 😁


Final book Christmas present of 2020 🎁


When nan asks what books I’d like for Christmas and I give her a list to choose from so I’ll be surprised but then she goes and sends me a text to say which book she has gotten me 😂
Profile Image for Yun.
513 reviews19.9k followers
January 19, 2021
I picked up Among the Beasts & Briars because I've been having a craving for a good YA fantasy, and I haven't read one in ages. Unfortunately, this book's terrific start was slowly squandered into a meandering middle that ultimately ended up disappointing me and not satisfying any cravings whatsoever.

The first king of Aloriya long ago struck a bargain with the Lady of the Woods to wear a magical crown in exchange for his kingdom's protection against the evil lurking in the woods. Three hundred years later, Cerys, the royal gardener's daughter, lives a mostly safe and charmed life in the kingdom. However, the evil beings in the woods will not stay hidden forever. On the day of the new queen's coronation, they come calling, and Cerys must find a way to save herself and everyone she loves.

I was immediately sucked into this enchanting tale, with its fun heroine and her cute furry sidekicks, a fox and a bear. The writing style made it feel like an adventurous fairy tale of good versus evil, where unsuspecting maidens are thrown into a world of danger. Of course, she would rise to the occasion, save the kingdom and find true love, all in one go. But it didn't quite play out that way.

For one, Cerys is extremely naïve and often tricked into trouble. Also, both she and the fox are in constant need of reassurance. So Cerys would nose her way into trouble, then she or the fox would whine about how they are cowards and can't fight. Then the others would have to give them a pep talk of how awesome they are, before they can proceed. This happened so many times that I got fed up. I can take one needy character, but two is too much.

The other issue is that it feels like the author knew how she wanted the story to begin and what the ending is, but had trouble getting from the former to the latter. This was especially true when the characters were traveling in the woods. They would wander around, then get attacked by evil beings, but nothing bad really happens, and then they wander some more. This happened over and over, without feeling like it was building into something. Yes, the characters were lost in the woods, but I honestly felt lost reading it too.

When we do reach the end, it felt unsatisfactory somehow. Maybe it's because I'm still unclear about the why's and the how's of what happened. So many questions were unanswered or insufficiently explained. And that made the whole story feel like it didn't really hang together.

There was a lot of potential with this book. It had an interesting premise, I really liked the writing style, and the beginning was riveting. But once we get to the crux of the adventure, it kind of lost me. The needy characters, their meandering journey, and the vague explanations all contributed to my ultimately unsatisfied feeling.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,465 reviews9,620 followers
January 10, 2021
November Owlcrate! There are some awesome things and the book exclusives are beautiful. Click the goodies link under pic to see the stuff.


Damn it to hell!! It’s always the best covers! The Owlcrate edition is amazing with sprayed edges and the art under the dust jacket. I’m just going to keep it for a bit and think!!!!

I mean this may even be a 2 star, I just didn’t connect. I did love Fox and the Bear but for once it felt like this needed to be a big tome of a book so the world could be fleshed out more!! I felt like it was right on the edge 😫. I’ll keep it around and do a reread later she see.


I did love some of the authors other books!! Oh, but I didn’t love their covers like this one. It all makes sense now! 🤔. I hate all book covers until I read them. The end!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews978 followers
July 6, 2020
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

“You trekked among the beasts and briars, and the deep heart led you all the way to Voryn … [The deep heart is] what we call that feeling inside you, the part that leads you, draws you forward – toward some great purpose.”

If Uprooted and The Bone Houses had a love child, it would be Among the Beasts & Briars. And considering that those two books are some of my favourites OF ALL TIME, that’s high praise indeed. I’ve never read anything from Ashley Poston before, but I’m glad that I have the Heart of Iron duology to devour as soon as I possibly can! :D


This book is, at its heart, a faery tale. And in the words of Belle, it has “far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells…a prince in disguise!” …and what more could you possibly want??? ;)


Cerys is the daughter of the royal gardener in the kingdom of Aloriya. As children, she and her childhood friends, deeming themselves daring adventurers, ventured into the wild forest, but only Cerys and Princess Arwen made it home. The bone-eaters stole Cerys’ mother, who came to their rescue, the prince, and their babysitter – for all intents and purposes – never to be seen again.


When Arwen’s coronation goes awry, Cerys takes it upon herself, along with the aid of a hilarious fox and a sweet bear, to set upon a quest to recover the kingdom of Voyrn, lost deep within the forest, in the hopes that they can undo whatever terrible magic had befallen her best friend.

“You’re the bravest, smartest, most stubborn person I’ve ever met, and if anyone can break a curse, I know it’s you.”


My absolute favourite part of the novel were the characters themselves, Cerys and Fox especially. Not only did I love their bond, but I also loved them as individuals. Cerys was so loyal to her friends, but also understandably scared about if she could actually succeed in her mission. As she constantly reminds herself, she’s only a gardener’s daughter…but eventually she comes to realise that just because she isn’t necessarily as high up in the social hierarchy as Arwen, that doesn’t mean that she has less worth or that her aspirations don’t matter.

“And then, worst of all, he grinned. And oh, what a dangerous look that was, trouble tucked into the corners of his mouth like sin.”


Fox, on the other hand, is the true star of the show…from his teasing humour (which Cerys gives as good as she gets by constantly threatening to turn him into a hat, hehe) to his animalistic flight response at the first sign of danger, which he eventually overcomes because of how much he cares for Cerys, I loved seeing his character development. I love whenever animals are included in books, and some of the best faery tales do, so naturally, of course, this book is no different.

I honestly have no genuine complaints about this book. Yes, there were a couple of typos, which I hope shall be fixed by the time it releases, but this new faery tale is just what I needed tonight. It was light, fluffy, magical and so sweet. I highly recommend this to all lovers of faery tales and magical woods. <3

P.S. There are two extra scenes after the acknowledgements, so don’t forget to read past that part! ;)
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
May 4, 2021
The cover and description for Among The Beasts & Briars are what first intrigued me and grabbed my attention. Once I noticed the author I couldn’t resist because Geekerella was a cute read. How thankful I am to have picked this up because it turned out to be a sweet and magical tale. This is most definitely a book I would’ve devoured when I was a younger reader.

The story begins in the kingdom of Aloriya, with a coronation about to take place for the new queen. An old curse that was once controlled emerges from the woods, along with a death. Now Cerys, joined with a fox and a bear, must embark on a journey into the woods to help resolve the problem.

Wonderful writing, great storytelling, perfect pacing, secrets, twists—there wasn’t much I didn’t love about this book except for a small amount of predictability. I adore my fairy tales, and this definitely has a classic fairytale feel to it, which is probably what I enjoyed most about it. It’s such a unique story with wonderful character development. Cerys is a royal gardener like her father, and I liked the connection she had with all the plants and flowers of the land, which was brought out well in the writing.

I stepped onto the side walkway to the castle, making my way up the stone path toward the royal garden. Lanterns lit the way, dandelions poking up between the smooth stones. The tall wisteria trees bent in toward me, their long lavender-flowering vines hanging like curtains to hide the side entrance to the royal garden. A breeze leafed through the vines like night spirits, bringing in the last bite of winter frost.

Cerys is tied to the curse in a unique way, and I loved her strong, loyal character. Surprisingly, Fox turned out to be my personal favorite though, but I truly appreciated how all the characters bonded and grew throughout this story. The relationship Cerys has with fox is heartwarming, which was one of my favorite elements in this story. Who doesn’t love animals in fairy tales?

Overall, this was a quick and easy read which took me back to some of my favorite magical fairy tales. This is one to revisit again and again. I highly recommend this one to all who appreciate fantasy and fairy tales.


You can also see this review and others @www.readrantrockandroll.com
Profile Image for sarah.
392 reviews261 followers
October 17, 2020
"It was said that the first king of Aloriya was born with fire in his blood"

Among the Beasts and Briars feels like a soft fairytale complete with talking animals, magical forests and lost princes. I would recommend this for someone looking for a light fantasy that almost feels like a bedtime story. For more seasoned fantasy readers, or those who prefer extensive world building and magic systems- perhaps pass on this one.

I definitely had to suspend my disbelief at some times and simply let the story happen. Once I started actually thinking about it, plot holes and issues became glaringly obvious. I think this definitely comes with the fairytale territory- sometimes animals can communicate with humans and that is that. If you find it easy to sacrifice logic in your fantasies this might not be as big an issue for you, but my analytical brain could not stop questioning what was happening.

The world had such potential to be beautiful and lush. I love nature magic and stories with forests and flowers. Cerys is the daughter of a gardener and I loved the descriptions of the flowers and her powers over them at the beginning. It gave me wild beauty x wicked as you wish vibes at the start. I just wish the writing had been a little more lyrical and fairytale-esque, because I feel it would have suited the story a bit more.

I really wish we got to see more of the magic and lore of this world. It had such an interesting premise, but felt absent from a lot of the story. Again with the nature thing, but I would have loved to see more of the cursed forest and Lady of the Wild.

As for the characters, nothing was necessarily wrong with them but I didn't feel a particular attachment with them either. Fox was the character who I felt the strongest about, a sentiment I think is shared by many reviewers I have seen so far. He was so loveable and soft, it would be impossible not to be a little enamoured with him.

However, I didn't love the romance. I can't fully explain why, but during the majority of the book it kind of unsettled me. For some background, 'fox' was an actual fox- but was turned into a human. He still retained some of his foxy nature, but for the most part acted like a typical teenage boy (something else that had me incredulous). I thought perhaps his relationship with a certain character would just be of a friendly nature, which I was fine with. But of course, it had to be romanticand the whole time in my head I was thinking about how weird it was that a human was in love with essentially a fox in a human body. (I understand that this is kind of cleared up at the end, but that doesn't change my feelings throughout.)

Speaking of the ending, it was predictable and rushed. The plot twist, if you can even call it that, could be so easily spotted that I didn't even consider it because it felt too obvious. I didn't really get the closure I needed for what is supposedly a standalone fantasy.

Overall, this book is the perfect autumnal read for those who prefer cozy feelings over scary. For lovers of light fantasy and fairytales- I am sure this will be a hit! It felt slightly juvenile and underdeveloped for my tastes, but this is by no means a bad book, just one I didn't personally love.

Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for this ARC

Release Date: 20 October 2020
Profile Image for Nash (all too unwell).
315 reviews845 followers
May 28, 2021
“IT IS SAID that the first king of Aloriya was born with the fire in his blood.”

5 ⭐

This is one of my favourite reads of March. This book had a fairytale setting and after reading scary and gruesome books this was nice for a change!

There are 2 cities...The magical forest city of Voryn and Aloriya. The woods are known for their horrors and monsters..
Ceryn, the daughter of the royal gardener lives in Aloriya with magical powers unknown to anyone. She has lost her mother and many others to the woods. But now, things are finally normal after a long time after a long time. But when the day her best friend Anwen is supposed to be crowned the Queen, the woods attack. Fleeing the wrath of woods with a 'Fox'and a bear, carrying the all-powerful crown of Aloriya, Ceryn must fight to stay safe and alive and protect the crown. She must find the Lady of the wilds and find a solution to all of her problems and also find a way to cure her friend and father of the curse.
Thus follows a tale that is beautiful and thrilling at the same time!!

The world
The world in this book is pretty simple and easy to understand. It has been developed enough for a standalone! The woods, Voryn and Aloriya form an interesting dynamic<3

The writing of the book was quite beautiful. There are many sentences that stuck out to me! The banter between the character made me chuckle many times. The romance was also written well

I cant say anything about the romance without spoiling the book, but boy did I love it!!<33


Ceryn is awesome! I love her. I think she is a great MC! She doesnt think much of herself but it improves through the book! I loved her friendship with Wen and Seren and ofc Fox!

Fox ahh!! He is the cutest...He is the prince. I kinda saw tht cmng but it still was awesome. I love his character and how he improved through the book. At first, he cowers and hides but as the book moves on he becomes brave and stands up against the evil. yay!!<33
His character development is just awesome<33

Vala the bear, Wen and Seren were also great and super side characters!

I really loved this book soo much<3
I really want to read this again soon.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a change from the scary, thriller books. This book made me laugh, cry and smile<3 Ill say it again. I loved it!

This is my review for Among the Beasts and Briars

My rating system:

5⭐ - I loved it soo much! New favorite
4⭐ - It was really good! But something was missing
3⭐ - It was nice..but had more potential
2⭐ - I did not like it at all!... It could have been soo much better
1⭐ - Nope. Just No. I hate it
Profile Image for Ashley.
800 reviews442 followers
April 5, 2021
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars rounded up?

[ BUDDY READ with my OTP BR bestie, DARCE! ]


OKAY; WTF WAS THAT ENDING?!? HOW COULD POSTON DO THIS TO US?! PLEASE tell me we'll get MOREEEEEEEE! Literally there is SO MUCH WORLD to explore! So many characters to elaborate on! So many opportunities for stories!

Anyway, regardless of all that... I loved this lush, vivid, whimsical, yet dark, fairytale SOVERYMUCH.

My goodness... SO much here to love! I loved the slow burn romance, & the creepy ancients & horrifying bone-eaters, & the dark whimsy...
and MAN did I love F O X !

This was 100% a SFF fairytale-quest type of story. I always just so happen to say that when you open up a book, and are greeted with a map, the story has already begun, it is basically a guarantee that you're about to read something incredible & unforgettable.

I was right

The world Poston created was utterly mind blowing, and so, so, so timeless, as was the prose. Speaking of which— I loved how READABLE this was; Straight to the point, yet still amazing & beautiful.

I loved the female lead, Cerys/ Daisy. Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but I think she was just inherently likable! She would stop at nothing to save her village, and try to break the wood's curse, no matter what came her way. How honorable is that?! Even when she was filled with anxiety & fear, she moved forward; Majorly strong heroine alert! She also posses some awesome AF magic that I will not say more about, because I don't want to spoil anything!

Fox was an amazing character, my absolute favorite! That is all that I will say ABOUT him, though, because again, I do NOT want to spoil ANY part of this brilliant, magical, & totally original, fairytale of a novel, BUT I reserve the right to say his name as many times as I want to :-P.
Gahhhh! Um did I say that I love...

Also, I loved Vala endlessly ! A Guide & protector of Ceyrs/ Daisy & Fox through the cursed wood & beyond, she is kind, just, a touch regal, & a WARRIOR! She is so much more than that, too... I just love her so much.

All in all, I was fascinated from beginning to end, enthralled with this world, it's characters, and the tale being unfolded, & its briars untangled, as the words seeped from page into to my thoughts. This truly is an excellent story! It may leave you with a major sense of mystery & the ending may piss you off a little (😂), but I suppose maybe fairytale endings are just like that? Either way, that only knocked off half a star for me.

Despite the ending, I HAVE HOPE THERE WILL BE MORE STORIES IN THE WORKS THAT TAKE PLACE IN THIS WORLD! Bahhhhh. The ACTUAL ending (or possibly beginning of a new tale...?) made it seem like this could MAYBE happen...
Thoughts on this?


I HIGHLY RECOMMEND! To any and all ages of readers! 🤍

PS... I switched between the physical book & the audiobook when I was busy, and just saying, the Audiobook was PHENOMENAL!!! If you are a reader via audiobooks, or just enjoy them from time to time... give this a try! TOTALLY WORTH IT! The narrators are truly excellent, especially the male voice actor! I just wanted to put that out there, so that all of you audiobook lovers & dabblers can give it a try if you'd like!
Profile Image for Darcey.
928 reviews201 followers
November 3, 2020
Buddy read with my OTP buddy reading babe, Ashley!


Ahhh this was amazing! I loved literally every aspect of this story, from the characters to the world-building to the romance. Ashley Poston’s writing was superb and I can’t wait to read more by her, if her other books are anything like this one then I’m in for a treat!

Our story begins on coronation day for the new queen of this little town. The queen – who also happens to be the best friend of the protagonist – is set to inherit a very fancy magic crown…. one that was supposedly gifted to the royal family by the Lady of the Wilds as protection from the evil forest that circles the town. However, not all goes according to plan at this coronation. When Cerys (the heroine) is forced to run for her life with only the crown, her magic and her little fox friend (who I love with all my heart), this story takes an intriguing turn as Cerys ventures deeper into the forbidden forest and closer to the mysterious village at the centre….

Among the Beasts and Briars was reasonably predictable, and I guessed the identity of the fox from practically the first page, but I think it was meant to be like that, so I didn’t mind! I loved the magic, the dark-woods setting and the lyrical atmosphere of the book, and I LOVED the characters. The character development that both Cerys and Fox faced was STUNNING, and both our MC’s were just so realistic! I couldn’t help but fall in love with funny, cowardly Fox – I absolutely adored the fact that he wasn’t naturally big and brave and brawny like 90% of the heroes in books these days, instead his instinct was flight but he learned to fight that instinct for those he loved! I also loved the way Cerys learnt life skills and slowly built herself up to be the strong, smart young woman that she is at the end of the book.
Oh, and the romance! It was pretty slow but a good kind of slow-burn, and I really loved how sweet the relationship was. It was brilliantly done and fit perfectly into the story! So cute.

Also, word of advice, CONTINUE READING PAST THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS! The author slipped a couple of little snippets about some of the side characters in at the end of the book, and I’m going to make a guess here and say there will be some future spinoffs about those characters! I might even give them a try, despite my hate for spinoffs 😉.

All in all, this was really, really good!! I loved the writing style and the characters, not to mention the unique storyline and magic. Thank you to my babe Ash for reading this with me! We’re finally getting back into our proper buddy read pattern💕.
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books485 followers
December 1, 2020
Super happy this was the November Owlcrate book and also THE COVER IS SO PRETTY

'It is said that the first king of Aloriya was born with fire in his blood.'


Oh, what a marvelous breath of fresh, original fairy tale air! This was dazzling in a quiet, classic way. It's not for those seeking something sharp, breathless, or twisted. This is merely a fairy tale and it claims no other title. It's simple and quaint and, y'all, I think we need more books like this in the midst of our high-octane, convoluted tales as well.

'The gardens were small, but what they lacked in space they made up for in colors—leaves of green and kaleidoscopes of flowers bloomed on stems and in the latticework creeping up the house, having taken decades to climb.'


Cerys (also sometimes known as Daisy) is our tale's heroine, a simple gardeners daughter with magic in her blood (literally) . . . and is also best friends with the royal heir(s). I didn't fully connect with her, but I understood the wavering want between putting down roots or chasing after adventure that she felt. Again, her story was a simple one, but it didn't feel pared down or pushed aside, but rather natural. As if to say, yes, not all strong female heroines are the ones who ride off into the sunset, but sometimes those who dig their fingers into the soil and make a home for themselves.

'And then, worst of all, he grinned. And oh, what a dangerous look that was, trouble tucked into the corners of his mouth like sin.'


Fox was absolutely my favorite part of the book. This character hit all the tropes I love and then created a few more with a sly grin and quick-witted remark. To say much about Fox would give a lot of spoilers, but honestly it wasn't that difficult to guess where the arcs would go. But I loved every one of them, squeaked a bit in giddy happiness that YES, YES, YES THIS is what it feels like to have expectations be met in a satisfactory way. I just . . . I really love Fox.

"You trekked among the beasts and briars, and the deep heart led you all the way to Voryn."


Although this is a rather simpler type of book, IT IS MARVELOUSLY CREEPY!! It reminded me quite a lot of Cornelia Funke's Reckless series with the dark, brooding forest full of spine-shuddering monsters lurking in the misty shadows. The eerie elements were ON POINT in this book, giving the simplicity a perfect amount of depth and intrigue.

'We were nine, and therefore invincible.'


Overall, this was a great book because it wasn't fantastic, it wasn't extremely thrilling nor a sweeping epic. It was a fairy tale. A story to read on a summer afternoon in the grass or curled up in a winter evening surrounded by blankets and drinking hot cocoa. It's the type of story you turn to for comfort, for a smile, for something warm and familiar. And that's why I loved it so much, because even with my intense love for angst and twists and aching slow-burns, this is the kind of story I grew up reading—sweet and sleepy and just plain, old-fashioned CHARMING.


I received a digital ARC from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Quotes in the review and reading updates were taken from an uncorrected ARC copy.
Profile Image for Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked).
295 reviews1,462 followers
November 30, 2020
I have no idea how to rate this. I loved it, but as with every other fantasy standalone, I feel... Idk, unfulfilled? It felt like a smaller story taken from the middle of a larger one. I hope we get more from this world though!
Profile Image for Cait Jacobs (Caitsbooks).
303 reviews14.3k followers
October 30, 2020
Thank you so much to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Check out this review (and more) over on my blog!

Quick Stats:
4.5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: Among the Beasts and Briars was exactly what I needed. Get swept away in this original fairytale full of fantastic characters and terrifying woods.

// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Animal Death //

Release Date: 10/20/2020
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 352

Among the Beasts and Briars follows Cerys, the royal gardener's daughter. When her best friend’s coronation is attacked by the beasts from the Wildwoods, Cerys must protect her kingdom’s magical crown.

The only hope to save those she loves is the legendary Lady of the Wilds, but in order to find her, Cerys must search through the deadly Wildwoods.. But Cerys isn’t alone. With her on her journey is the fox from her gardens, and the strange bear she meets along the way.

- Writing & Setting -

I love Ashley Poston’s writing. Her books are so easy to read, mixing humor, romance, and depth. I was in a horrible reading slump when I started this book, and it managed to pull me out of it (only to put me back in a slump but to be fair, it was only because I loved the book so much).

The setting of the book is very straightforward, with simple worldbuilding but a unique fairytale feel. This world plays off of your typical fairy tale tropes, but grounds them and drives up the horror (and humor) in these situations. We love a book that balances terrifying ancient beings and cute bickering over whether Fox would be a good hat.

But back on those terrifying ancient beings- I did not expect how scary and dark this book would be. The humor and the characters add some lightness to it, but trust me it gets dark in some places. It was a surprise, but a really welcome one. I don’t often read creepy books but this was so fun and addictive, I might have to find more.

- Plot -

This book always has something happening. There’s never a dull moment as our characters go on their journey (except, perhaps, right in the beginning before the journey even begins and we’re still learning about the world). Whenever I was forced to put the book down, all I wanted to do was pick it back up and be immersed in this world and find out what happens next.

I will admit, most of the major twists were a little predictable, but that made it almost more fun for me. I might have known what was going to happen (or in some cases, what already happened), but I loved waiting for the characters to figure it out, and to see how it happened.

- Characters -

Listen, I love these idiots. Fox and Cerys are our two main protagonists and I would die for them. Can I just talk about Fox for a second? Because his chapters were absolutely amazing and funny and heartbreaking and just so perfect. But don’t get me wrong- Cerys’ were all of those as well. Both of these characters had great development, and I loved watching them grow together over the course of the book.
But they aren’t our only characters. While we spend a lot of time with them, there are plenty of side characters that you will come to adore as well. Tala is especially amazing, but there were quite a few others I loved too (I won’t name some names because you need to meet them and get to know them yourself).

- Conclusion -

Pros- Addictive, great characters, fun world, fairytale feel, creepy but funny and cute
Cons- Why do all of the best books have to be standalones? (To be fair, this definitely should be a standalone, but I’m just sad we don’t get more Fox and Cerys)
Overall- 4.5/5 stars.
I already would read any book Ashley Poston writes, but Among the Beasts and Briars reminded me why. This was a fantastic fairytale that you need to pick up!

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Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,648 reviews405 followers
January 20, 2023
First off, let me say that I totally judged this book by the cover and how beautiful it is and was found wanting.

If this entire story were told through the eyes of "Fox," it would probably be 4+ stars. He was the most significant narrative presence in the entire book.

Among the Beasts and Briars starts out with a young feel on the teenage end of young adult. I definitely feel like, in my mid-30s that I was not the intended audience for the book's first half. It was good enough to keep going as the magic element was interesting, and I was totally into the forest aspect and wanted to know what the "beasts" part of the title held.

There was a lot of disjointedness in the plot. It felt like parts of the book were pulled in editing and that the seams weren't well meshed back together to explain things. Events sometimes drug out, and at other times felt rushed.

The book's base outline is great but could have been better told in a short story compilation of different parts, as it didn't flow together well enough as a stand-alone novel for me.

Cerys//Daisy has the most character development and is more enjoyable as a character in the second half. Overall, it felt unfinished, but I liked most of what I got; I just was left wanting. I would be down to see if the author wanted to do more with this idea in a later book. I was surprised to see that it was a standalone novel.

Solid 3 stars.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books352 followers
August 9, 2021
Saris is best friends with a princess and her brother the prince. They live in a kingdom free of drought, disease or famine. But nearby is a terrible, cursed wood that no one must enter. One day long ago, Saris was reminded of this when the wood killed her best friends and her mother. Now, years later it is the morning of her best friend’s coronation.

This was an absolutely lovely fairy-tale feel story of a cursed wood, a girl with magical blood and a best friend who is a fox, and some really wonderful, amazing world building. The way the curse of the wood plays out is inventive and creepy. I predicted a few of the twists, but still enjoyed watching them unfold. Recommended for lovers of fairy tales!

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Nicci.
41 reviews44 followers
November 17, 2020
Cursed forests, rare magically-inclined heroines, male love interests in strange situations... I think I have a type.

Another fast and easy read! I sped through this because I just couldn't put it down. One of my favorite standalone reads this year!
Profile Image for Grace A..
384 reviews40 followers
September 12, 2022
Cerys, the daughter of the royal gardener, lived in a land surrounded by a cursed wildwood. The monsters and strange creatures of the wildwood don't bother the people, so long as their king wears the magical crown made to protect his people, but If they ventured into the cursed lands, they are possessed by the woods and transformed into hungry beasts trapped in the accursed land forever. Until, one day, the king died, and in the time it took to ceremoniously crown his successor, the wood's cursed cross the border of the lands, possessed its people and ravenously hungered for the crown. The crown and the fate of the world rests with a lowly gardener's daughter, Cerys, who must travel through the cursed wildlands with the hopes of finding a mythical place that will restore balance to the world. With a fox and a bear for allies and hungry mummies and demons for enemies, it was a perilous journey for Cerys.
At first, I was worried that the bad guys were too powerful to be defeated. But Cerys had strange magic in her blood that also served as a weapon against her formidable foe.
It was a fun read. Not too hot and not too cold, just right. 3 stars.
Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,129 reviews271 followers
July 15, 2021
Mild and easy to digest, like an unsalted cracker. Maybe a good choice for a new Fantasy reader.

A little kingdom borders a cursed forest. Legend is that centuries before, the king ventured into the wood to ask the queen to stop her creatures from attacking. Shocked and saddened by this news, she gave him a magical crown in good faith, by which he would have the power to keep his people safe from hers.

The forest denizens have a completely different version of those events.

Reads like a classic fairy tale, complete with a HEA. I recommend skipping this one if you're a regular fantasy reader because there won't be much in it to keep you engaged.
Profile Image for ✩ Yaz ✩.
494 reviews1,300 followers
October 22, 2020
4 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"He was a fox, and I was a gardener's daughter, and there were no stories for enchantments such as us."

Once upon a time, in a Kingdom known as Aloriya, a young king braved the woods to protect his kingdom from the monsters lurking in it. He reached Voryn, a magical city deep in the woods where he met Lady of the Wilds. For his courage, The Lady gifted him a magical crown that will protect his kingdom from any dangers and ever since the Royal Family have had a gift of magic and the Kingdom prospered for 300 years.

Will the kingdom be forever safe from the woods? Or will the curse sprout it's way into the heart of it?

Among the Beasts and Briars is a fairytale that takes you through a journey following Cerys, the royal gardener's daughter, accompanied by a Fox and a Bear in hopes of breaking a curse and saving a Kingdom into the clutches of evil.

The story is brimming with magic of gifts and curses, it takes us through trials to test one's love and faith, it gifts us moments of joy and dread and it generously adds a sprinkle of romance and friendship.

Do you know what thought kept popping to my mind?
This would make for a fantastic animated film

It was such a charming read, It's a light YA fantasy so I went in not expecting much but I still found it enjoyable and I think this book is perfect for when you feel like you're about to fall into a slump.

The characters were a delight; and here we have our three main trio:

Cerys is a 17 year old courageous and selfless girl, merely a gardener's daughter with a little magic that marked her survival from the woods when it had taken her mother, the crown prince and his guard.

Fox is.... just a fox. A mischevious creature that turns into a ridiculously handsome human by mistake at some point and becomes the epitome of melodrama throughout the story "p.s. I love it".
The question is.... was he always a fox or a human?

Bear also known as Vala is a humongous ball of fur and tenderness that I can't help but keep visualizing myself hugging and snuggling into that soft fur.

The romance is definitely slow-burn that had a sweet build up to it. Like traditional fairytales, the love cultivated towards the end although we do get some sweet scenes that hint at the couple's feelings. Their bickering and banter is what ignited that chemistry between them and it was so entertaining.

The world-building was breathtakingly lush, there was a burst of colors every now and then that gave me such colorful images of the setting and painted the world for me.

The writing was simple yet in a way whimsical. The book is crafted in a way that gives it an authentic fairytale feel to it. I was easily immersed into it and the fast-pacing helped.

I must say that the plot is predictable and it lacks proper twists to add to the excitement, but it follows the traditional way of story-telling in fairytales, it lacked some elements but made up for it in other areas.

One can never be bored of anything related to fairytales, I recommend this if you're a fan of light fantasy and fairytales.
Profile Image for Emma.
1,228 reviews100 followers
April 10, 2020
In a time where it can be so hard to escape from the news, Among the Beasts & Briars swept me away to Aloriya -- where Cerys can grow plants with just a drop of her blood and a pesky fox who loves to steal scraps from the baker can be good friends with a gardener's daughter.

It's rare for me to read a book that's this immersive; every time I put it down, I felt a little bit dazed as I remembered that I had ordinary things to do like coursework and dishes. The writing was so beautiful and descriptive but never bogged down the story. Everything from the world of Aloriya to the people who lived in the Village-in-the-Valley felt so vivid.

I am a sucker for a) quests b) enemies-to-lovers and c) wily boys so it was honestly no surprise to me that I loved this book so much.

Among the Beasts and Briars was such a delightful read. Even if you're skeptical about fairy tales, I highly recommend giving this a try.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kristina.
253 reviews73 followers
May 16, 2021
This was a cute little fairytale. I'm a sucker for anything with cursed woods or enchanted forests. The descriptions were lush and the setting was perfection. I thought the creepy vibes were well done. Despite the high stakes, the plot did fall a little flat for me and was slightly predictable. I was expecting to love this book but something just missed the mark for me. Overall, it was an enjoyable read. If you like whimsical fairytales, give this one a try.
Profile Image for Mariam.
280 reviews104 followers
September 5, 2020
It is said that the first king of Aloriya was born with fire in his blood.

This is one of those books where I feel guilty rating it low because I see the potential, and I see how close the author is to making her mark, but still, I can't bring myself to rate any higher because, despite the beautiful cover, the story was lacking in every aspect possible.

I felt as though I were watching Among the Beasts & Briars unfold from behind a glass wall. I could vaguely see what was happening, but it was of no significance to me. The characters were nothing but names, the plot twist could be seen from a mile away, and the story was so slow that it kept me wondering when the "real" action would begin. But it never did begin, it just dragged on until the very end where I was supposed to feel elated, but instead felt nothing.

It's not a bad book- it just feels incomplete.

ARC provided by Edelweiss and Netgalley
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,632 followers
November 10, 2021
Reads like a retelling of a fairy tale, about a gardener's daughter who escapes a terrible curse and goes into the woods to find help, accompanied by her pet fox and a large bear. There is glorious, flower-based magic, and ancient mysteries, and a number of surprising reveals. The ending pleased me greatly.
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