Briar Pryce has the power to change the emotions of others by handing them a rose. It is a talent that has done surprisingly little for her, besides landing her a dead-end enchantment delivery job and killing any chance she had with her childhood-crush-turned-roommate. Worst of all, her ability might be responsible for getting her best friend transformed into a cat via a cursed muffin basket. Needless to say, Briar is nowhere near happily-ever-after. But that’s just life as a twenty-something in the Poisoned Apple, New York City’s lost borough of fairy-tale wonder and rent-controlled magic.
When Briar reluctantly agrees to help find a princess’s kidnapped boyfriend in exchange for reversing the curse on her friend, she gets the heroic quest she never really wanted. Unfortunately, the life of a noble heroine is not all it’s cracked up to be – the hours blow, and Briar suspect that the Royal family employing her might be evil, Republican, or both. To complete the suckage, a killer smoke magician is stalking Briar as she searches both the Poisoned Apple and Manhattan for the missing boy. As tensions between the Poisoned Apple royalty ignite and civil war looms, Briar must figure out how to write her own happy ending–or she’ll just be ending. (Netgalley)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review. It will be available on August 13th.
I’m a bit confused, to be honest: the book described above and the book I read are very different. The description made it sound like this book was going to be a a satirical fantasy, one full of puns and witty names. Not so much. Let me write my own description below, and then compare and contrast. That sounds very “middle school book report”, but it’s the best way I can think of to sort my muddled opinions into a coherent post.
Briar Pryce lives in the Poisoned Apple, a fairy-tale version of NYC, with her three roommates. There’s Alice, who didn’t play into this book too much; Cade, her long-time crush that she sort of accidentally be-spelled, causing no end of drama; and Jacqui , her best-friend-turned cat. Briar has an unusual gift: she can enchant roses to change people’s emotions. She’s roped into helping recover a kidnapped boyfriend to a royal, in exchange for a reversal in the whole “my best friend is now a cat” issue. There’s also Antoine, a knight sent with Briar to help her in her quest.
It was much more straightforward storytelling, with less quippiness than I expected, given the description. I still enjoyed it, but I do wish the blurb had been worded differently so that I went into it without expectations of a certain comedic type.
I really liked Antoine. He had a great sense of humor underneath his serious demeanor, and he tried really, really hard to protect and aid Briar, even though at times she really was a brat to him. Of course he ended up having a crush on her, which resulted in a rather annoying love triangle, what with the whole Cade situation (by the way, Cade was incredibly one dimensional. He might as well have been a block of wood). Antoine also adapted to strange situations quickly and kept the story moving at a good pace.
I loved Briar’s magical ability! It was incredibly unique, and the uses the author put it to were incredibly creative. I didn’t love Briar all that much as a character, but she had her moments. Her need to finish a crossword puzzle before she died made me giggle. I’m curious about why her power was so different than any others in the magical kingdom. I’m guessing that will be explored more in the next installment.
The adventure was fun, if a bit predictable, the writing was solid, and it was well set-up for a sequel. All in all, it was pretty darn enjoyable, but expect a YA fantasy, as opposed to a fairy tale satire.