Book Review / Buddy Read

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston | Book Review

Among the Beasts and Briars
Author: Ashley Poston
Pages: 352
Genre: YA | Fantasy | Romance
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 20th 2020

Buy The Book (affiliate links): Book Depository | Amazon UK |

Hello everyone! I’m back with another buddy read review. I keep finding the most amazing books through these buddy reads and I’m so grateful as some of them are books I wouldn’t even think to pick up. Today I am bringing you my 5-star review of Among the Beasts and Briars, one of my new favourite books!

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

What I Loved

“What could go wrong? The sky’s bright, the sun’s out, and there’s spring in the air—I can taste it.”

It’s no secret that I’ve been loving a lot of fantasy and YA books recently. Among the Beasts and Briars is definitely one of my new favourites. As soon as I started reading, I instantly became hooked to the magical yet cursed world. This really made it incredibly hard not to read this in one sitting. However, I really did enjoy discussing each section with my buddy group. The anticipation of waiting for each section was really exciting. I loved following Cery, fox and the bear’s intense adventure through the dark, deathly Forrest. It makes the story really fast-paced and impossible to put down. Among Cery’s beautiful wild magic and the terrifying cursed zombies, this book is the perfect dark fairytale! I’m sure it will be just as enjoyable when reading it again. Which I definitely am going to do!!

The Story

“Briars, brambles, bones, and blossom, I smell a girl who can’t be forgotten.”

Cery’s is on the biggest adventure she’s ever been on and I loved being there every step of the way! Since the day in the forbidden forest many years ago, she has always been different. The trauma of those horrid events still lives with her but so does this cursed wild magic. Now the Kingdom’s crown is no longer keeping out the wood curse and it’s starting to invade Aloriya. Cery’s, fox and the magical bear must embark through the deadly woods to find help before it’s too late.

I went into this book thinking it would be like any fantasy with the journey from A to B. It ended up being an exceptionally fun, well-written, exciting adventure full of magic, love, curses and surprising twists! When I say this was hard to put down, I really mean it was hard to put down. To the point where I had to hide it from my sight so I didn’t read ahead of the group.

I am in complete awe of Cery’s blood magic. The fact she can just grow trees, flowers and anything to do with nature is just fascinating. I’d love to have magic like that. It wasn’t just the wild magic that consumed me, it was also the curse that lurks in the dark woods. All of the frightening cursed beings really created a sense of urgency for Cery’s, fox and bear to find help for Aloriya. It made the story very addicting. It also had creepy wood zombies!! If you don’t know me then you won’t know my love of zombies. I was so so excited to find out they were incorporated into this book so well!

The Characters

“Where there was celebration, there was food, and where there was food, there was my happy place.”

Apart from Cery’s ‘only being a gardeners daughter’ getting drilled into my brain, I really enjoyed her character. She doesn’t hide how scared she is to go on this journey and protect the crown. Yet, she is extremely loving and loyal to her friends and family that she has no choice and really steps up. It was really nice to see her character develop and learn the skills she needs to save everyone around her.

Now, Fox is one of the main reasons I loved this book so much and would read it again! Although his character is a bit predictable, it doesn’t mean he is not the star of this book. Well for me he is anyway! I loved how skittish and scared he was throughout as naturally, this is how foxes are. However, like Cery’s he has huge character development and I just fell in love with him more and more.

The bond between Cery’s and Fox is the cutest thing ever and I loved watching them grow closer together. Of course, there is bickering between them but it’s the kind that just makes you smile. I’m a massive fan of multiple POV, so it was very exciting to see parts of the story from Cery’s view and also the wonderfully weird mind of Fox!

Overall Thoughts

“Now, what’s a pretty flower like you doing in a wood like this?”

Overall, Among the Beasts and Briars is a very quick and delightful read. The mix between the sweet fairytale and dark fantasy is done exceptionally well. It’s very easy to imagine the magical but terrifying world. The main characters are relatable and a lot of fun to follow, I would have loved to see more of them and it makes me sad that this is a stand-alone! This is perfect if you are looking for a book fantasy full of enchanting magic, darkness and an incredible adventure. I really can’t recommend this enough!

Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Manchester blogger with a passion for reading, writing and travelling. I always have a book or a cup of tea in my hand.


20 May 2021 at 10:52 pm

I will have to pick this one up for my daughter- she’s really into YA fantasy with some romance right now and has gone everything I already have on my shelf!

21 May 2021 at 9:06 am

Awesome review Ellie! I already wanted to read this one and I am still kicking myself for not reading along with the gang when you all read it for the book club! I am sure ill get to it eventually though!

24 May 2021 at 12:06 pm

The blood magic sounds really interesting. I’ve seen this one around but I haven’t read many reviews of it yet, so thanks for sharing. Yay for a five star read.


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