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Disenchanted by Brianna Sugalski Review

Disenchanted by Brianna Sugalski

Published by: The Parliament House Press on March 10, 2020

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 456

My Rating: ★★★

🚨 MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD 🚨

SYNOPSIS

A Breton princess at the peak of the French Renaissance, Lilac lives prisoner in her parents’ castle after a wicked secret is revealed on the eve of her tenth birthday soirée. Years later, her coronation ceremony looms, and between the riotous townsfolk and scheming nobleman bent on snatching the throne, Lilac prepares for the worst… Until a mysterious letter arrives from The Witch of Lupine Grotto, detailing a curious offer to cure her darkness forever. 

Lilac begrudgingly trades her coronet for a cloak and ventures into the forest Brocéliande in pursuit of the impious enchantress at the edge of town. With only the protection of an inherited dagger—and unsolicited help of the sardonic stranger who inserts himself on her quest—she must traverse Brocèliande and return in time to claim her rightful position as sovereign monarch. 

This is the story of a cursed princess, 
A crestfallen killer, 
The town that wants them to burn, 
And the witch that can save them both.

BOOK TRIGGERS — (ATTEMPTED) RAPE

MY THOUGHTS

❝What difference did it make if a villain believed he was doing the right thing?❞

This was one of the rare occasions where I went into a book with no expectations — I stumbled upon this on Goodreads and it had such a gorgeous cover, I couldn’t resist. After being in a considerable fantasy slump this year and being underwhelmed by the depictions of vampires amidst their supposed resurgence in YA, I was pleasantly surprised to find Disenchanted. It feels like the love child of Armentrout’s From Blood and Ash and Buffy the Vampire Slayer — two things you should all know that I hold in the highest regard. It’s such a strong debut — albeit, with the overzealous use of the word ‘bosom’ at times — and I’m already anticipating the next book from Sugalski.

❝Even then, I’d rather be perceived as wicked than weak, any day. Women are part heaven and hell, Lilac.❞

In terms of the fantasy world, it is well-established with a wide variety of creatures, from shifters to fae. With every page you learn more, which I found favourable because the worst thing in a high fantasy book is information dumps. On the surface, the plot is very traditional and follows Propp’s theory (the hero, princess, villain etc) closely, but the true wonder of this book comes from the incredible character development. Whilst the plot is predictable, it’s easy enough to overlook as the readers are transported into a grey area of Sugalski‘s world, the part where the lines between good and bad are blurred. There’s plenty of moral takeaways from this book, but the fast pace and intriguing dynamics between the cast of characters is the real standout.

❝I do hope you decide to turn your pain into power.❞

CHARACTERS

❝Just because she donned tiaras and gowns didn’t mean she was delicate, or incapable of slitting a Darkling’s throat.❞

Our main character is Lilac — she is ambitious, courageous and everything you could want in a heroine. Whilst she is wholly capable of doing things herself, she’s still proud of who she is and embraces all her stereotypically feminine characteristics in conjunction with being heroic. I find too often heroines are depicted as masculine, or ‘not like other girls,’ to compensate for their abilities, but Lilac isn’t like that. Sometimes she’s a little slow on keeping up with things, but overall is possibly one of my favourite female characters in a long time. Although she’s not a damsel by any means, she has moments of weakness and vulnerability — ones that make an outcast princess in a world of vampires relatable to the modern teen.

❝I just saved you from a bunch of naked water demons who would have rejoiced in drowning you.❞

Our other main character is Garin, the vampire love interest. Admittedly, he is the standard fantasy love interest — dark hair, mysterious past, ulterior motives that change when he meets a girl — but he is likeable. With a sharp wit and dry humour, he challenges Lilac and they do have good chemistry. I think there’s a lot we still need to learn about him and I look forward to it.

MY FAVOURITE MOMENT

I loved the coronation/wedding scene. It is full of high stakes drama and tension, so it feels like a satisfying pay off to the book. From the prologue, the reader knows more than Lilac does, so I was concerned the ultimate reveal of who sent her to the witch would be underwhelming — it isn’t, I promise! Furthermore, it is an extremely well written scene that’s vivid to the point I was able to see it playing like a movie in my mind.

MY LEAST FAVOURITE MOMENT

Despite it being necessary for the narrative, the flashback to where a younger Lilac helps Freya (a shifter) ultimately feels a little disjointed and I think it could’ve either been clearer, or structurally positioned better. Although, it’s indisputable the scene is a critical part of Lilac’s arc because it immediately adds a hidden depth to who would otherwise be a typical heroine.

FINAL VERDICT

If you’re a fan of high fantasy, I can guarantee you will love this book! It’s fun and full of adventure, I didn’t want to put it down at all. In many ways, it’s a traditional quest-style fantasy and it balances darker moments without being too heavy of a read extremely well. It definitely got me out of the fantasy slump I’ve been in all year and I need more people to read Disenchanted.

read it and weep,

2 replies on “Disenchanted by Brianna Sugalski Review”

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