Hot Best Seller

Briarheart

Availability: Ready to download
 

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 Au 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.


Compare

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 Au 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.

30 review for Briarheart

  1. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle Wendt

    I got this book thinking it was young adult, but I would definitely classify it as middle grade or early teen. Although the protagonist Miri is 15 years old, she seems much younger and the book itself is written in a way that would appeal to a younger audience. Mercedes Lackey does a great job of world building without too much information dumping (there are a few information dumps, but for the most part they don't seem out of place and they aren't boring). I also loved all of the descriptions. T I got this book thinking it was young adult, but I would definitely classify it as middle grade or early teen. Although the protagonist Miri is 15 years old, she seems much younger and the book itself is written in a way that would appeal to a younger audience. Mercedes Lackey does a great job of world building without too much information dumping (there are a few information dumps, but for the most part they don't seem out of place and they aren't boring). I also loved all of the descriptions. The Fae were especially well described and the author went into great detail when illustrating the setting. My main complaint is the pace and overall arc of the story. Almost the entire book is just Miri and her friends training with Sir Delacar and Brianna and the climax of the story isn't much of a climax at all. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting a much more exciting book and I was left unsatisfied. I also thought the characters weren't very well developed. I honestly couldn't tell you the difference between Anna and Elle, and Miri didn't have many distinct characteristics, either. It's hard to get pulled into a story without compelling characters. Overall, I think this would be a great book for middle schoolers looking for a light-hearted fantasy read, but not for someone looking for a more intense young adult book. Although I didn't love it, I think it can definitely be enjoyed by the right audience.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scratch

    While this is not Lackey's first stab at doing her own take on "Sleeping Beauty," this is probably her best attempt so far. Previously, she incorporated "Sleeping Beauty" in her Elemental Masters series, creating a character in historical England with water powers and an affinity for air, following roughly the same narrative structure as all the other Elemental Masters books. I've said it before and I'll say it again-- Lackey has been phoning it in for the better part of the last 15, 20 years. So While this is not Lackey's first stab at doing her own take on "Sleeping Beauty," this is probably her best attempt so far. Previously, she incorporated "Sleeping Beauty" in her Elemental Masters series, creating a character in historical England with water powers and an affinity for air, following roughly the same narrative structure as all the other Elemental Masters books. I've said it before and I'll say it again-- Lackey has been phoning it in for the better part of the last 15, 20 years. Some of her original works were very, very good, and cultivated a loyal fan base that now reads anything she writes. The majority of the recent books are paper thin, following a specific formula with only minor deviation. Lackey is good at comfort reads that focus on the foods and sensory details as the protagonist learns to embrace work and a practical attitude toward life, often learning a great deal about managing one's neuroses at the same time as one's magic. This book still describes meals, as is normal for any Lackey novel. It still describes the main character exhausting herself in combat training. But the tone of this novel is just as refreshing as Lackey's older works, even while maintaining a slightly younger tone. This book is not set in any of Lackey's tried-and-true universes (usually, Valdemar, the Elemental Masters universe, or the Serrated Edge universe). That gives Lackey a little more freedom with the magic system, which is admittedly less precise than some of Lackey's other works. Still, there was enough conflict that I felt satisfied. There have been some Lackey novels that were concluded in a rush, with a solution as simple as-- the main characters got a gun and shot the looming threat. Done. But this novel is not as one-and-done, and I am here for it. Also, props for featuring a protagonist whose primary goal is protection of an infant sister, rather than yet another done-to-death romance. The most recent novel, Jolene, was a tad too saccharine with the insta-love and infatuation. The protagonist of this novel, Miriam, is both a knight and a mage. She is related to royalty, but we are reminded frequently that she is not spoiled. She has a humble background as an apprentice baker, although this apprenticeship is soon abandoned in favor of learning magic and combat. She has her own tidy income from her own estate that she must manage, even as only a teenager; this is a daunting but impressive scenario that most modern middle-class readers probably can't relate to at all. But, good for her. There is friendship and camaraderie with the other squires, and conflict with an old-fashioned governess. There are descriptions of bread dough. There is a late-night ride to save a dying infant. It's all just the good kind of comfort one hopes for with Lackey.

  3. 5 out of 5

    katayoun Masoodi

    It was fun, but definitely middlegrade, with so many descriptions, explicitly stating something and then going over it, not leaving anything to imagination. And well the main character was this amazing hero that did everything so much better than everyone and good at everything. I am sure if i was 9 and was reading this, i would have loved it. Being a grumpy old woman, i am not the right sort of reader.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sara (thebookwebb)

    When I started reading this book I didn’t realise it had such a young age recommendation. Amazon states that it is for ages 7 up, and while it is perfectly suitable for this age group, do not think that as an adult you can’t enjoy it either. I loved, loved, loved this story. It had everything you could want from a fairy tale, dragons, trolls, talking animals and a strong female protagonist. There was no romance as the main characters were children, good kids who were on a mission to protect the When I started reading this book I didn’t realise it had such a young age recommendation. Amazon states that it is for ages 7 up, and while it is perfectly suitable for this age group, do not think that as an adult you can’t enjoy it either. I loved, loved, loved this story. It had everything you could want from a fairy tale, dragons, trolls, talking animals and a strong female protagonist. There was no romance as the main characters were children, good kids who were on a mission to protect the baby princess from the dark fae, led by the baby’s sister. What I really found refreshing in this story is that the family, court and people of the kingdom were all good and trustworthy, coming together to thwart an outside enemy. The main protagonist, Miriam, sadly loses her father at a young age and her father’s best friend (who happens to be the king) marries her widowed mother and they have a daughter of their own. However, this is no wicked stepfather, favouring his own child over another’s type of story. The king genuinely misses his best friend and, while in love with the widow, cares deeply for the grieving daughter. He is kind, loving and responsible and I loved that. Miriam, in turn loves her step-father and adores her new baby sister. When she vows to do everything in her power to protect the infant, the King supports her and also does his utmost to keep her safe. I found this such a nice change from the stereotypical wicked step-parent role. In fact there is nobody within the kingdom that turns out to be untrustworthy or secretly evil. That does not mean that this story is lacking in mystery and adventure, just that throughout it all you feel wrapped up in a safe and heart-warming and magical tale of bravery, strength and strong family ties. Highly recommended for children and adults alike

  5. 5 out of 5

    Angelina

    I am devastated that this a new series and I have to wait until the next book comes out! I love it already. Fun retelling of Sleeping Beauty that focuses on Aurora's older half-sister: a fierce girl who wants to keep her little sibling safe. Here's the excerpt from the back: "Behind me, I sensed my family escaping. NOW Brianna could run; Aurora was safe. Specific curses like that take a long time to prepare--days, in fact. And by the time the Dark Fae had another one ready, the Archbishop would h I am devastated that this a new series and I have to wait until the next book comes out! I love it already. Fun retelling of Sleeping Beauty that focuses on Aurora's older half-sister: a fierce girl who wants to keep her little sibling safe. Here's the excerpt from the back: "Behind me, I sensed my family escaping. NOW Brianna could run; Aurora was safe. Specific curses like that take a long time to prepare--days, in fact. And by the time the Dark Fae had another one ready, the Archbishop would have given Aurora a new name and she'd be in hiding with Brianna. And besides, the Dark Fae didn't care about Aurora right now. She had another target. Me."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Galina Krasskova

    A thoroughly enjoyable read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katie Whitt

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I can understand the criticisms from other reviews that this book has a lot of unnecessary detail and maybe is higher on the action, but frankly I love Lackey's writing and it's very comforting to me. I have severe anxiety, so sometimes I do just want to read a book about magic that has very little stakes and descriptions of garments, ok? This book manages to contain the Far, dragons, unicorns, trolls, and a whole other host of fantasy cliches and I ate up every minute of it. Can we also just ap I can understand the criticisms from other reviews that this book has a lot of unnecessary detail and maybe is higher on the action, but frankly I love Lackey's writing and it's very comforting to me. I have severe anxiety, so sometimes I do just want to read a book about magic that has very little stakes and descriptions of garments, ok? This book manages to contain the Far, dragons, unicorns, trolls, and a whole other host of fantasy cliches and I ate up every minute of it. Can we also just appreciate a story about a sister trying to save her baby sister without a romance plot? I would have loved this book as a middle grade or teen reader, but even adult me fell under its spell.

  8. 5 out of 5

    RumBelle

    DNF Read about 4 chapters I was really looking forward to this book. Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite fairy tales, and I love retellings of it. I also, for the most part, enjoy Lackey's books. This though fell really flat for me. Of the little I read, this book seemed really bogged down in describing rules and protocol. Almost all of the first 30 pages talked about nothing but the rules between Light Fae and Dark Fae. If it wasn't talking about that it was discussing, over and over, what was DNF Read about 4 chapters I was really looking forward to this book. Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite fairy tales, and I love retellings of it. I also, for the most part, enjoy Lackey's books. This though fell really flat for me. Of the little I read, this book seemed really bogged down in describing rules and protocol. Almost all of the first 30 pages talked about nothing but the rules between Light Fae and Dark Fae. If it wasn't talking about that it was discussing, over and over, what was required of Miriam to manage her own estate. I didn't want to read a book on Fae etiquette, or land rules, I wanted to read a fairy tale retelling. I will say, I really liked the character of Miriam, she was smart, spunky and likeable. I think, if this book had been written differently, she would have really flourished. She might have, as the book progressed, I just was not in the mood to slog through so much detail to find out.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Rideout

    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 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!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I loved this twist on the sleeping beauty tale. This tales features not Aurora but her older half sibling Miriam. Miriam loves her new baby sister and will do what it takes to protect her. Giving up societal norms of a woman’s place Miriam trains using all her gifts and skills to protect the little princess. I LOVED THIS STORY though it left me wanting more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Brotherton

    Clever retelling. Well done audio version.

  12. 5 out of 5

    candel

    I loved it It was clean but not childish. I loved the imagination & pace - a cozy story with light hearted times interspersed with the adventures and magic. It wasn't all grim darkness and courage, honor, hard work & loyalty were present in all the companions. I loved the King's faithfulness. I loved it It was clean but not childish. I loved the imagination & pace - a cozy story with light hearted times interspersed with the adventures and magic. It wasn't all grim darkness and courage, honor, hard work & loyalty were present in all the companions. I loved the King's faithfulness.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Sullivan

    A great YA novel, that feels like a unique fairy tale, filled with magic and fantastical creatures. I definitely want to enjoy more adventures of Aurora’s companions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was fine, but I was hoping for more. There was no real sense of danger or excitement. Tweens and young teens who like a "girl training as a knight story" will probably enjoy this, but just as the story is getting exciting, it all sort of fizzles out with an easy resolution. I may have loved this when I was 11 or 12 and just getting into Tamora Pierce, but as an adult, I was hoping for more to the story than a lot of training (both physical and magical) for some potential future threat t This book was fine, but I was hoping for more. There was no real sense of danger or excitement. Tweens and young teens who like a "girl training as a knight story" will probably enjoy this, but just as the story is getting exciting, it all sort of fizzles out with an easy resolution. I may have loved this when I was 11 or 12 and just getting into Tamora Pierce, but as an adult, I was hoping for more to the story than a lot of training (both physical and magical) for some potential future threat that never materializes (at least not in this book). It seems like there should be more to the story, but I'm not sure if there are plans for another book or not.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    BRIARHEART is an intriguing twist on Sleeping Beauty that asks what if Aurora had an older half-sister. Miriam is the stepdaughter to the king and afforded a lot of rights because of it. She can barely remember her father, who died in a war when she was young. At 15, she adores her new baby sister and wants to help with everything, even the christening. It's quite the event, particularly making sure none of the Dark Fae are slighted, because if they are, they can break the covenant and harm huma BRIARHEART is an intriguing twist on Sleeping Beauty that asks what if Aurora had an older half-sister. Miriam is the stepdaughter to the king and afforded a lot of rights because of it. She can barely remember her father, who died in a war when she was young. At 15, she adores her new baby sister and wants to help with everything, even the christening. It's quite the event, particularly making sure none of the Dark Fae are slighted, because if they are, they can break the covenant and harm humans. When a Dark Fae bends the rules and tricks them, ready to place some sort of curse on Aurora, Miriam steps in the way to defend her sister. After she defeats the dark fae, everyone is abuzz. It seems Miriam must have some fae in her from her father, unbeknownst to everyone. Now, she is training as a night in the morning and as a fae in the afternoon with the ultimate goal of being able to protect her sister. I appreciated the fairytale twist in the story as well as the intricate rules around the fae in the book. Miriam is a really fun character, and I loved seeing her passion and sisterly love that drive her to excel. However, it seemed like most things came really easy to her, and the answers are pretty slow in coming. The rules around the fae were not terribly clear, as it seems they weren't to anyone but the fae, and it felt like many things were arbitrary. I think this would appeal to a middle grade or young YA group, with younger main characters, simpler plot lines, and easier acceptance of happenstance. On the plus side, there is a lot of fun characters, adventure, and magic along with some humor that made it reminiscent of ELLA ENCHANTED. Overall, BRIARHEART was an intriguing fairytale retelling that would be great for middle grade and young YA readers who enjoy light-hearted plots and fun characters. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    (I was thrilled to win a copy of Briarheart through theNovl, so kudos to them for gifting me with surprise book mail, which is always the best kind of mail!) This book was a real struggle for me to rate. On the one hand, Briarheart had some cool elements that I quickly fell in love with! But there were also a few problems that continuously presented themselves throughout the book, bringing my rating to a positive three stars. My nitty-gritty breakdown: LIKES - Sleeping Beauty retelling! Yay! - Siste (I was thrilled to win a copy of Briarheart through theNovl, so kudos to them for gifting me with surprise book mail, which is always the best kind of mail!) This book was a real struggle for me to rate. On the one hand, Briarheart had some cool elements that I quickly fell in love with! But there were also a few problems that continuously presented themselves throughout the book, bringing my rating to a positive three stars. My nitty-gritty breakdown: LIKES - Sleeping Beauty retelling! Yay! - Sisterly love that’s super cute and heart-warming and gives me all the feels. Too often, sister relationships in YA are built on (a) back-stabbing, (b) emotional falling-outs, (c) irreconcilable differences of personality, (d) all of the above. In Briarheart we get a nice change of pace, with our heroine Miriam being fiercely loving and protective of baby Aurora. She is willing to do whatever it takes to kick the butt of the Dark Fae or any other malevolent forces that spells disaster for her sister. - Wholesome family dynamics. Even though the King is Miriam’s stepdad (and she has no right to the throne), when he marries her mother, he treats them both like queens. He never tries to replace Miriam’s late father, instead giving her the space she needs to process her pain while offering his own unconditional love for her. There is no end to the mutual respect and support in this family, and I LOVED that. - Lobo the talking wolf, who is the absolute best thing ever. DISLIKES - Chronic breakage of the writing adage “show, don’t tell”, which consequently made it difficult at times to become immersed in the story. Because we’re told what’s happening through dry, matter of fact descriptions, I frequently found myself feeling disconnected from the actions and characters. - Worldbuilding info-dumps & a serious case of TMI. Briarheart has some of the chunkiest paragraphs I’ve possibly ever come into contact with, plagued with irrelevant information that adds nothing valuable while stealing precious space on the page. There came a point where I just didn’t care to learn about the dying process of the wool worn by the holy Sisters or the food organization system in the castle cellars. Give me the action! - Glacial speed pacing. If I had to guesstimate, I’d wager that 75% of Briarheart is spent describing knight training, magic training, and general running about the castle, which isn’t as exciting as it sounds given the first point mentioned. It feels like a journal entry, experienced secondhand rather than through the immediate senses, which might’ve breathed life into those passages. There are a few notable moments where the action picks up, but they just as quickly slip back into this cyclical routine of eat, sleep, train. All of this leads up to an unsatisfying conclusion as the “shadowy threats” described in the synopsis remain just that - unknown and unresolved. On a side note, the arc edition of Briarheart describes itself as appealing to fans of Stepsister and The Cruel Prince. I haven’t read Stepsister (yet!), but based on The Cruel Prince likeness, I was expecting Briarheart to fall into the same vein - a dark, gritty, twisty story populated with morally complex characters and compelling fey drama. By comparison to The Cruel Prince (and really the majority of current YA fantasy), Briarheart was cute and tame. Besides that, we get very little direct interaction with the Dark Fae! I’m surprised this is even being marketed as YA. To me, Briarheart reads more as a children’s novel that would fit better alongside Jessica Day George than Holly Black’s YA works. This isn’t a complaint against the book! It just makes me wonder which audience Briarheart is best suited to, and where it will find its home audience.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Husselbee

    3.5 Stars *Thank you to NetGalley and TBR and Beyond Tours for providing me with an ARC to review.* I love fairytale retellings and I don’t think I’ve read many Sleeping Beauty ones, if any! So this was at least one of the first! Lackey has put her own spin on this fairytale by creating a sister for Aurora, and setting this book when Aurora is a baby. Miriam, daughter of the Queen and her previous husband, the King’s Champion, is ecstatic about her new sister, the heir to the throne. As Miriam is n 3.5 Stars *Thank you to NetGalley and TBR and Beyond Tours for providing me with an ARC to review.* I love fairytale retellings and I don’t think I’ve read many Sleeping Beauty ones, if any! So this was at least one of the first! Lackey has put her own spin on this fairytale by creating a sister for Aurora, and setting this book when Aurora is a baby. Miriam, daughter of the Queen and her previous husband, the King’s Champion, is ecstatic about her new sister, the heir to the throne. As Miriam is not daughter of the King, she is unable to rule, but this doesn’t bother her and she is a very humble member of the royal household. Aurora’s Christening soon arrives, and all the known light and dark fae in the area have been invited, so as not to upset anyone. Unfortunately, one dark fae, who no one has heard of, including the light and dark fae of the kingdom, appears and attempts to curse Aurora. Miriam steps in front of the curse and discovers she has powers of her own, which destroys the dark faerie. This book then follows the aftermath of this discovery as Miriam sets out on a journey of discovery of her own power, and the power of comraderie, as she and five others become Aurora’s Companions and train as her protectors. ‘We were Aurora’s Companions. And we would guard her and one another against all odds.’ Whilst this book is advertised as Young Adult, I do think it is more middle grade or the lower end of YA. I went into this book expecting it to be a bit more grown up, but I think the characters, story, and writing is aimed more at younger readers. The very beginning where Miriam is discussing the differences between light and dark fae felt a little bit like information dumping, it was useful, but it stopped me from getting sucked into the book at the start. Some of the characters felt a little under-developed for my liking, but as I said I think it would work for younger readers. I really like the way Miriam respects her friends in Aurora’s Companions, and I think this is a lovely book that can teach young girls that they can be anything they want to be, especially if what they want to do is a stereotypical male job. This book felt magical, and there are some great creatures that Aurora meets over the course of the story. Whilst this wasn’t what I expected, it was an enjoyable and magical story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cece

    Briarheart is a unique Sleeping Beauty retelling, where the main character is Sleeping Beauty’s sister and her quest to find herself and becoming the future queens Champion At the heart of the book, this is a sweet alluring tale about the bonds between sisters (even when one sister is only an infant), found family, and the courage to take risks even if they may lead to trouble. Lackey’s book reminded me of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (minus the Christian overtones). Where Miriam steps int Briarheart is a unique Sleeping Beauty retelling, where the main character is Sleeping Beauty’s sister and her quest to find herself and becoming the future queens Champion At the heart of the book, this is a sweet alluring tale about the bonds between sisters (even when one sister is only an infant), found family, and the courage to take risks even if they may lead to trouble. Lackey’s book reminded me of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (minus the Christian overtones). Where Miriam steps into an enchanted wood and finds herself in a magical realm where just about anything is possible. Focusing on someone other than Aurora is a nice change. Where we see how much Miriam, Aurora’s sister, takes on the role of protector very seriously. Even at such a young age of fifteen, Miriam masters her skills in combat to ensure her sisters safety. Though this story is a reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty, the execution is off. There are pages and pages of long winded exposition, which added to the slow pacing of the book. Added to the slow pacing is there being very little conflict and things came too easily for Miriam. There was no real external challenge because someone is always a heartbeat away to help Miriam or do whatever difficult task for her. Even though I love the whimsical nature of the story it fell flat. We hardly ever move out of Miriam and her friends combat training. I wanted more action and adventure. To put to practice what she was learning. Seeing her use her skills and not easily helped by someone else. Where readers experience how she earns her place as the Champion of the future Queen. Overall, Briarheart felt like a Middle Grade or Young Teen read. Though, it would have been a more satisfying read had Lackey developed the story to include more action and adventure into her enchanting world. Thank you to Little Brown and For Young Readers for sending me an ARC for review. Find my review on my blog and come join the conversation, we love hearing from you. Find the review here: https://sheafandink.com/2021/10/18/br...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Briarheart is a middle grade/young adult crossover fantasy by Mercedes Lackey. I think Briarheart would appeal both to upper middle grade readers and younger YA readers. The main character Miri is 15 years old, but she felt like a young 15. I enjoyed the world that Mercedes Lackey created and I liked the characters, but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss some romance in the story. Briarheart is a sleeping beauty retelling, and I loved seeing a retelling gears towards a younger audience. I Briarheart is a middle grade/young adult crossover fantasy by Mercedes Lackey. I think Briarheart would appeal both to upper middle grade readers and younger YA readers. The main character Miri is 15 years old, but she felt like a young 15. I enjoyed the world that Mercedes Lackey created and I liked the characters, but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss some romance in the story. Briarheart is a sleeping beauty retelling, and I loved seeing a retelling gears towards a younger audience. I would very much enjoy to see another book set in this world.  In Briarheart, we meet our main character Miriam, or Miri. Miri's father was best friends with the King of their small kingdom, and after his death The king married Miri's mother and moved them both into his home. My favorite element of Briarheart was all of the positive relationships. I loved the King and how wonderful he was to Miri and her mother. I loved how Miri loved and wanted to protect her younger sister Aurora. And I loved Miri's friends. It was so refreshing to see healthy, happy relationships and not have people be cruel just for a plot point. I loved that aspect of the story so much!  Our story really kicks off when baby Aurora was being Christened, and a dark fae showed up to curse her. Miri somehow was ale to stop the dark fae by showing a big secret magical ability that she had no idea she possessed. This sets off a chain of events for Miri to learn more about her abilities so she can be Aurora's protector. I loved this twist on the classic sleeping beauty tale, and I loved the depiction of the light fae and dark fae. I do wish that we got to learn a bit more about the fae. This is something I am hoping will be explored if there are future books set in this world.  Overall, Briarheart was a quick read, I think younger readers will enjoy. Briarheart is perfect for upper middle grade readers and younger YA readers who are looking for a fun fantasy/fairytale retelling and who love to see positive friends and family relationships depicted. I enjoyed Briarheart. 

  20. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Actual rating: 3.5 stars (I always round up in favor of the author for Goodreads) I have never read a book by Mercedes Lackey before - which honestly is kind of shocking given my age and my love of fantasy - so I was excited to sign up for the tour of Briarheart, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that focuses not on Aurora herself but on her older half-sister, Miriam. In fact, Aurora is just a baby in this book, and when a Dark Fae shows up to her christening to curse her, fifteen year old Miria Actual rating: 3.5 stars (I always round up in favor of the author for Goodreads) I have never read a book by Mercedes Lackey before - which honestly is kind of shocking given my age and my love of fantasy - so I was excited to sign up for the tour of Briarheart, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that focuses not on Aurora herself but on her older half-sister, Miriam. In fact, Aurora is just a baby in this book, and when a Dark Fae shows up to her christening to curse her, fifteen year old Miriam vows to become her protector. The story is thus about Miriam’s love for her little sister, training with her newfound friends to become Aurora’s Companions, and discovering that she has both fae and human magic. While Miriam is supposed to be fifteen, I did feel she read a little younger than that, and I think upper middle grade readers would really enjoy this story. It definitely feels like a book on the cusp of middle grade and young adult, and in this way actually reminds me of Holly Black’s Sleeping Beauty retelling that released in 2019, Heart of the Moors. I think younger readers will love the descriptions of the Light and Dark Fae, the magical talking animals, and the friendship that blossoms between Miri and the rest of the Companions. It’s also a quick read and not too difficult for middle grade readers. There was just a little something missing for me, something more that I wanted from the story. I have a feeling this will end up being a series, as there’s so much left open and, obviously, Aurora hasn’t grown up to become Sleeping Beauty yet. Put this one in the hands of middle grade readers who want to venture into YA and young readers who love fairy tale retellings! Rating: 3.5 stars **Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for purpose of this blog tour. This review is voluntary on my part and reflects my honest rating and review of the book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thindbooks

    *this arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return* This was a wonderful book! Mariam born in a kingdom but is not a princess, possesses powers that she must use to protect her sister Aurora from the Dark Fae who cursed her. This is a twist on Sleeping Beauty which is one of my favorite stories. This book has great world building with faes and dragons with also a very detailed setting. The pacing was wonderfully done but I do have to say that there weren't many huge conf *this arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return* This was a wonderful book! Mariam born in a kingdom but is not a princess, possesses powers that she must use to protect her sister Aurora from the Dark Fae who cursed her. This is a twist on Sleeping Beauty which is one of my favorite stories. This book has great world building with faes and dragons with also a very detailed setting. The pacing was wonderfully done but I do have to say that there weren't many huge conflicts in the book like you would expect. I felt since the characters were young, it felt more like middle grade book then a YA book where you expect so many twists and turns. The main character in this book is Mariam who is 15. I do have to say that I'm not a huge fan of characters that are young but I have to say that she was pretty mature for her age. I just wish she was older because they have more room for character development if the main character is over 17-18. There were also great side characters in this book that were very involved in the story. Sadly there is no romance in this book since the characters are very young. I do have to say that I enjoyed the family theme in this book as the royalty family cared so much for each other. The ending was well done but a tad basic. I guess I expected it as I could tell the story was more middle grade which means everything is a little basic and not overcomplicated so young readers could understand. I guess now I can say that this is one of my favorite middle grade books! I totally recommend this book and have to say that this book should be read at school!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Candice Ryan

    Briarheart is a sweet family oriented retelling that pulls at all the heartstrings. While labeled YA this reads slightly younger than that having more of a middle grade feel to it. Since the story is told through Miriam’s pov it almost feels like a child is telling the story. Which is very endearing because I have young daughters and it was almost as if they were telling me a story. After unknowingly using magic to thwart an attempt on baby Aurora’s life, older sister Miriam vows to not let any Briarheart is a sweet family oriented retelling that pulls at all the heartstrings. While labeled YA this reads slightly younger than that having more of a middle grade feel to it. Since the story is told through Miriam’s pov it almost feels like a child is telling the story. Which is very endearing because I have young daughters and it was almost as if they were telling me a story. After unknowingly using magic to thwart an attempt on baby Aurora’s life, older sister Miriam vows to not let anything happen to her. Miriam takes on a lot of responsibility at such a young age trying to figure out exactly what kind of powers she has and how to master them. It was very sweet to see how much Miriam cared for her baby sister, however, it is a lot of stress to put on just a young teen. She and several other young teens form a group to basically become Auroras special guardians. Through many trials and errors, many bad decisions, and many a heartbreak, the group pulls together and really become a cohesive guard. This little band of friends were especially fun to read about. I loved how the characters developed together even though a few of them barely had page time. I loved the animals being able to talk and interact with the humans.. not to mention I love stories involving Fae. Unicorns, dragons, and trolls… oh my. Some of my favorite mythical creatures all wrapped up in a interesting and magical story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Candice Ryan

    Briarheart is a sweet family oriented retelling that pulls at all the heartstrings. While labeled YA this reads slightly younger than that having more of a middle grade feel to it. Since the story is told through Miriam’s pov it almost feels like a child is telling the story. Which is very endearing because I have young daughters and it was almost as if they were telling me a story. After unknowingly using magic to thwart an attempt on baby Aurora’s life, older sister Miriam vows to not let anyth Briarheart is a sweet family oriented retelling that pulls at all the heartstrings. While labeled YA this reads slightly younger than that having more of a middle grade feel to it. Since the story is told through Miriam’s pov it almost feels like a child is telling the story. Which is very endearing because I have young daughters and it was almost as if they were telling me a story. After unknowingly using magic to thwart an attempt on baby Aurora’s life, older sister Miriam vows to not let anything happen to her. Miriam takes on a lot of responsibility at such a young age trying to figure out exactly what kind of powers she has and how to master them. It was very sweet to see how much Miriam cared for her baby sister, however, it is a lot of stress to put on just a young teen. She and several other young teens form a group to basically become Auroras special guardians. Through many trials and errors, many bad decisions, and many a heartbreak, the group pulls together and really become a cohesive guard. This little band of friends were especially fun to read about. I loved how the characters developed together even though a few of them barely had page time. It was all together just a feel good easy read. I loved the animals being able to talk and interact with the humans.. not to mention I love stories involving Fae. Unicorns, dragons, and trolls… oh my. Some of my favorite mythical creatures all wrapped up in a interesting and magical story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    annapi

    In this fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty, we have baby princess Aurora, but she is only a minor character in what is the story of her older half-sister, Miriam, who loves Aurora so much she unthinkingly puts herself in harm's way when the evil Dark Fae comes to the christening to lay a curse on the baby. Miriam vows to defend Aurora from all danger, and her stepfather agrees to let her train as a knight so that she can do so. This started out as a nice strong-female tale, but as the reader tr In this fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty, we have baby princess Aurora, but she is only a minor character in what is the story of her older half-sister, Miriam, who loves Aurora so much she unthinkingly puts herself in harm's way when the evil Dark Fae comes to the christening to lay a curse on the baby. Miriam vows to defend Aurora from all danger, and her stepfather agrees to let her train as a knight so that she can do so. This started out as a nice strong-female tale, but as the reader trudges through Miriam's training and the slow development of her powers, the pace starts to drag a bit. Oh, it's still interesting to watch her character grow, but I found it disappointing that she turns out to be a bit of a Mary Sue. Everything comes too easily to her, so much that the story seems a bit rushed - even her troubles are too one-dimensional, and they're all too easily resolved. It is in keeping with traditional fairy tales, though, so you could argue that the author intended it to be that way, but I think she could have done better. The ending paradoxically made me roll my eyes but also eventually redeemed the story a little bit, so this is a mixed bag that is difficult to rate. It doesn't help that Lackey is a favorite author, which biases me a bit in her favor, so I am giving this 3.5 stars, but rounding down.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dani Clark - Clark Book Reviews

    I was so excited to get an advanced copy of Briarheart. I’m telling you, this is THE YEAR for fairy tale retellings! I absolutely loved this retelling! It was such a perfect quick read. While this is YA, it’s very YA - that doesn’t mean that I didn’t love it as an adult though! This book is perfect for middle school level and beyond. There isn’t any romance, but there is a kick ass protagonist that will do anything to protect her sister! Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey should go on your TBR list! I I was so excited to get an advanced copy of Briarheart. I’m telling you, this is THE YEAR for fairy tale retellings! I absolutely loved this retelling! It was such a perfect quick read. While this is YA, it’s very YA - that doesn’t mean that I didn’t love it as an adult though! This book is perfect for middle school level and beyond. There isn’t any romance, but there is a kick ass protagonist that will do anything to protect her sister! Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey should go on your TBR list! I loved this retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I personally haven’t read a Sleeping Beauty retelling yet, but this was the perfect one to start with! Miriam is the daughter of Queen Alethia and the late Sir Geniver. Miriam’s mother marries the King after her father is lost to the war. Her mother and the King have a daughter, Aurora. Miriam has nothing but love for her little sister. During the day of Aurora’s christening and uninvited Dark Fae has come to bring a curse on Aurora. Miriam finds out that day that she has a secret not even she knew about. This book is filled with adventure and magic. Everything you need for the perfect retelling. I give this one ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫! I’d definitely recommend it to others! Thank you so much to @tbrbeyondtours and Mercedes Lackey for an advanced copy of the book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    I definitely was hoping to love this book and I was not disappointed! It was such a sweet, heartwarming story. Maybe a little younger than YA, which is where I found it at Barnes&Noble, but I ended up loving it so that’s alright. Things I loved: -Wholesome without being cliche. I loved all of the escapades she went out without being afraid of an unhappy ending. She didn’t always succeed, she made mistakes, but overall, I could count on Miri to be a good person and to have fun adventures. -Completel I definitely was hoping to love this book and I was not disappointed! It was such a sweet, heartwarming story. Maybe a little younger than YA, which is where I found it at Barnes&Noble, but I ended up loving it so that’s alright. Things I loved: -Wholesome without being cliche. I loved all of the escapades she went out without being afraid of an unhappy ending. She didn’t always succeed, she made mistakes, but overall, I could count on Miri to be a good person and to have fun adventures. -Completely rejects the chosen one trope. Miri is only a hero by choice, and even then she’s not always a hero. No one is forcing her to do anything and fate definitely does not play a part in the book. -The ending! It was just so cute and fun, I seriously didn’t see it coming. Things I didn’t like: - I wish the Companions had more defined personalities, and honestly, I feel that way about most of the characters. They all have veerrrry similar rhetoric when talking. No one’s shy, no one’s short-tempered, etc. They’re all just normal, courtly people/animals. It didn’t ruin the novel or anything, but I wish the author could have distinguished between characters. It was very plot based and not at all character based. -The mysteries aren’t all wrapped up. I’m pretty sure this is a standalone book (?) but I had so many questions at the end that i wished would’ve been answered.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lala

    ** In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, the story follows Miriam, the princess Aurora's older sister. Although Miriam herself is not royal- she is the daughter of the queen's previous marriage to the King's Champion- she is in the unique position of being raised in the palace with royalty as her immediate family. After Miriam inexplicably saves Aurora from being cursed at her christening, Miriam decides she will stop at nothing to protect her baby sister. Under the tutelage of the fairy Brianna ** In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, the story follows Miriam, the princess Aurora's older sister. Although Miriam herself is not royal- she is the daughter of the queen's previous marriage to the King's Champion- she is in the unique position of being raised in the palace with royalty as her immediate family. After Miriam inexplicably saves Aurora from being cursed at her christening, Miriam decides she will stop at nothing to protect her baby sister. Under the tutelage of the fairy Brianna and Sir Delacar, the current knight commander, Miriam begins the training and formation of Aurora's Companions, a company of youths dedicated to protecting the princess. Most of this book consists of training, and the mishaps the companions get into while trying to fulfill their duties, despite them being little more than children themselves. The book seems a little incomplete as it doesn't even go beyond Aurora's infancy, much less her fated sixteenth birthday. There are also unresolved plot threads (view spoiler)[ Where did Miri's magic come from? (hide spoiler)] and a sequel does not seem to be planned. I thought this would be more in line with Lackey's Gwenhwyfar and was disappointed to find a YA book that was mostly about training to become a knight. Still a cute little story, if a little slow, but ultimately disappointing. Personal history: Borrowed from library.

  28. 5 out of 5

    QueenOfTheFaeBaes

    So, at first I found the writing childish. I was unsure if I could make it through. But then slolwy I realized the writing shifted and grew with Miri. It can be really hard for authors to do this. I know Mercedes Lackey has many books. I know many of her series start with ykunger characters that grow. I think maybe if she had started Miri at thirteen and moved up to fifteen it would have made a little more sense for other people. You can see the changes in how the grammar is used such as exclamation So, at first I found the writing childish. I was unsure if I could make it through. But then slolwy I realized the writing shifted and grew with Miri. It can be really hard for authors to do this. I know Mercedes Lackey has many books. I know many of her series start with ykunger characters that grow. I think maybe if she had started Miri at thirteen and moved up to fifteen it would have made a little more sense for other people. You can see the changes in how the grammar is used such as exclamation points, and the use of (parenthesis) that Miri uses. I think this was a real neat way to do this. I also think that sometimes we expect 15 year olds to be more mature...but thats not necessarily true. A lot of it depends on how they grow up. I think that Miri was a nit spoiled and the worst thing that had happened was her fathers death, but because her step father was such a good father she didnt grow up quickly like many other children would have. I think the fact that she grows as she trains is really cool. I also really liked all the nods to classic fairytales and poems in this book. I wouls highly reccommend a Middle School or High School teacher have this book in their classroom. I know I will.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    Lackey is good for popcorn and ice cream reads - stories light on substance that go down easy and offer plenty of comfort. This entry is no different: familiar as a Sleeping Beauty retelling and with the slightly old-fashioned fantasy setting based in medieval Europe. There's nothing revolutionary in its telling, though it is gently feminist with Miriam learning both combat and strategy as well as how to run an estate (and liking pretty dresses). It doesn't shy away from the hard work involved in Lackey is good for popcorn and ice cream reads - stories light on substance that go down easy and offer plenty of comfort. This entry is no different: familiar as a Sleeping Beauty retelling and with the slightly old-fashioned fantasy setting based in medieval Europe. There's nothing revolutionary in its telling, though it is gently feminist with Miriam learning both combat and strategy as well as how to run an estate (and liking pretty dresses). It doesn't shy away from the hard work involved in running a kingdom, a castle, in being person living in such a setting either; with almost lovingly detailed descriptions of the work done. It also nearly qualifies as a book about heroic kindness - Miriam's actions are based entirely on protecting her baby sister and that love guides her and others throughout the book. There's even a bit at the end about how Aurora's gifts inspire such dedication and generosity in others, but that seems like cheating a little so I'm deciding that disqualifies this book. Just like popcorn and ice cream though, there's not much substance to this book. Yes there's a few trials that Miriam faces, but they're minor and the book ends more or less where it starts with Miriam adoring her baby sister. (Albeit with a lot less focus on light and dark fae!)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    Miriam's life is changed forever when her father dies in battle and her mother marries the king. Miram grew up living modestly and hates the politics of court life. She would much rather climb trees in an patched dress than be weighted down in restrictive clothes and heavy jewels for a state ceremony. But even Miriam understands the importance of her baby sister's christening. Miriam adores Aurora, who is particularly vulnerable to the power of Dark Fae at this important moment. Despite everyone Miriam's life is changed forever when her father dies in battle and her mother marries the king. Miram grew up living modestly and hates the politics of court life. She would much rather climb trees in an patched dress than be weighted down in restrictive clothes and heavy jewels for a state ceremony. But even Miriam understands the importance of her baby sister's christening. Miriam adores Aurora, who is particularly vulnerable to the power of Dark Fae at this important moment. Despite everyone's careful plans a Dark Fae arrives to wreak havoc and endanger baby Aurora. When Miriam acts to save her sister, she discovers a hidden power. Miriam's life is changed again as she embraces her new powers and her role as protector to save her sister from whatever comes her way. This is a great fantasy story full of the glamour of princesses, the adventure of knights, the magic of Fae, and the heart of a loving family. I particularly enjoy how it avoids common, outdated fantasy tropes by allowing for female knights, multiple perspectives, and a loving step-father. The sleeping beauty connection isn't the focus with Aurora remaining a baby throughout, though perhaps that will change in future installments. A refreshing fantasy, plus there's a unicorn and a dragon--what's not to love?

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.