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.
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How do you destroy a monster without becoming one?
Disenchanted is a charming and beguiling New Adult dark fairytale-esque debut from author Brianna Sugalski. Deep within its bones, it’s a tale of embracing, rather than shunning, the aspects of oneself that go against the grain and set them apart from the majority; that it’s ok to be different, and changing to appease others does more harm than good. We follow a princess as she ventures into a dark and mystical wood with hopes of finding a witch to reverse her curse, but instead finds her true place and purpose. With delicious tension, enchanting surroundings, and treacherous encounters, this thrilling adventure is one that surpassed any and all expectations I had when first embarking.
Of the many aspects of this book that I absolutely adored, the characters Sugalski has crafted are just stunning. Lilac, a naive, sheltered princess, entering the unknown – fearless to a fault, and willing to endanger herself to bend to the whims of her kingdom in order to save it. Garin, cursed with an insatiable hunger – masks his guilt and pain behind a facade of snark and lies. The Darkling and the princess with the Darkling tongue. As unconventional as their relationship may be, they balance each other’s quirks and shortcomings in the most dazzling of ways. The author also introduces an utterly loathsome villain with Sinclair, making it remarkably easy to ignore the misdeeds of our male lead. I loved the dynamics between all these characters, all of which kept the pages turning at a rapid pace.
It’s impossible to discuss this book without addressing the world that’s constructed around us. A historical fantasy at heart, there are references that make this story relatable, but then…then we’re transported to Brocéliande. Beyond the rolling hills and farmlands of Brittany, a mysterious and magical forest filled with all manner of monsters awaits. Humans tend to steer clear of this living wood, unwilling to succumb to its deadly charms, but those unlucky few become undoubtedly bewitched by those that inhabit it. Simply put, it’s devastatingly beautiful, and I’m thrilled I was able to spend the majority of my journey lost beneath its rich canopy.
Sugalski’s writing is what predominantly adds the fantastical touches to this tale of risk and vulnerability. A lyrical prose coupled with vivid descriptions completely engulfs, effortlessly carrying away readers to another place and time. A straight-forward plot with the majority of its focus on the evolution of its characters transforms this epic romp into a very intimate illustration of personal growth and self-awareness. The mechanics used to build tension do so without flaw, which oftentimes had me audibly declaring “just one more chapter”. It’s easy to lose yourself in this world she’s created, and I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more.
As soon as I learned of Disenchanted, I knew this was a book I needed to read, and it completely consumed me. While the ending felt a bit rushed and left me with some unanswered questions, I was happy to discover there will be more – yes, there will be more! A gorgeous debut, ripe with racy romance, haunting pasts, and bloodletting aplenty, I’m excited to see where Sugalski takes us next. If you’re on the hunt for a fairytale that isn’t afraid to give in to its darker side, consistently blurring the lines, then I suggest you give this one a try. I highly recommend.
Note: A huge thank you to the author and The Parliament House Press for providing me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
With an education in Mass Communication—and an engrossment in all that is curious and bewitching—Brianna Sugalski is an author and blogger. Previously, she was a staff contributor for Lifestyle & Fashion online magazine, Sarah Scoop, and also served as Copy Editor and Editor-In-Chief at her school publications.
Brianna was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, but now travels the country every few years with her husband and children. She admires the luminaries of the Victorian Era; growing up reading period literature has inspired her to paint vibrant settings of nature and narratives that readers will hopefully enjoy.
Ultimately, she aspires to make her own readers laugh, to challenge their perspectives and to help them discover the magical meaning of their own powers within.