Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

36260155Title: Damsel

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Pub Date: October 2018

My Rating: ★★★★☆

View on Goodreads

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

Damsel is a brilliantly reimagined traditional fairy tale story of brave price who rescues a damsel in distress, over and over again. Behind the usual tropes of the fairy tale, we get layers of dark and uncomfortable truths, that if you are willing you can not even notice. Which is the beauty of this book, that gives you the story that disguises as a simple fairy tale, but is nothing but a fairy tale.

We start with a grey land where Prince Emory travels on his faithful horse to kill a dragon and rescue a damsel. After that, he will become a king, and the damsel will become his wife, queen and a vessel for Emory’s heir. Emory comes home victorious, having defeated the dragon and rescuing Ama, not only from the dragon but also from wild animals. He’s such an amazing prince, willing to risk his life to rescue his future wife… Ama is a girl without past, without any memories. She only has Emory in her life, that was so kind to her.

Don’t be mistaken, this is an ugly and dark story, full of sexism, abuse and harassment that at each step is treated as if nothing happened, as if it’s normal, ‘boys will be boys’, the girl is exaggerating and anyway she should be happy that someone is interested in her. All the usual bullshit we know from the real world. The story is really strong and is not for faint-hearted. It was hard to go through it at times, the emotional turmoil it was causing me was intense.

 

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