Novella Review: The Ghost of Briardale (Five Magic Spindles)

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About the Book:

Awaken the Magic!

Emma, a good-hearted midwife, rushes to warn a neighbor about the hired gunman headed to his ranch but can’t prevent the catastrophe in store for his daughter.

Palli, the prophesied daughter of a king, is fated to rescue her people from the destruction called forth by a vengeful priest.

Roselee, a ghost with a faulty memory, flits through the halls of an insane asylum in search of the mortal boy who can help her save the day. {{This is the one I’m reviewing!!}}

Arabella, a living spirit trapped in her own comatose body, helplessly watches from the realm of dreams as her usurping cousin plots to destroy her once and for all.

Tanza, a tomb raider on a distant planet, struggles to make a living and doesn’t need a long-lost prince to complicate her difficult life.

One way or another, these beauties have no intention of sleeping away their problems.

My Review:

I’ve been reading Fictionally, by Grace for some time now, and on her blog, she announced that she was chosen as a winner for the Five Magic Spindles contest, which was really exciting! And when she announced that she was looking for someone to beta/advanced review for her, of course I said yes!!

I was only required to review The Ghost of Briardale by Grace Mullins, so I wanted to write a post only about it, but a complete review of the entire book may come later.

The Ghost of Briardale is set in an asylum, with flashbacks to a time 500 years ago when the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ part alternating to the ‘present’ where the ‘curse’ is being ‘reversed’. Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure about reading a story set in an asylum, period, but it ended up to be very well done and not shady/scary at all, which I appreciated.

Grace (living up to her name) has a really graceful way with the pen, and is able to paint descriptions of characters, places, and everything so beautifully and vibrantly! She wrote so incredibly descriptively and compactly (as in, a lot of plot, description, dialogue etc packed in very few words) that her ‘short story’ didn’t even seem to be that short! While I was getting ready to write this post, had a slight shock to see that it was technically a novella…

I like how finding a ‘True Hero’ was emphasized in the book and that people don’t act as they seem they would (which is ultra-cliche, but it still really true!).

Also…that evil fairy/queen/person…WAS. SO. EVIL. And I loved it!!!

I also enjoyed the main character, a ghost girl, who ended up to be different than I had expected!

Also…Slavering Swamp Beast –> adorable puppy….?! My heart’s melting. :3

As I’m writing this, I feel pressured to give it a positive review, because of all the stellar reviews that it has gotten already, but by being completely honest with myself,  I can’t say it’s now part of my GoodReads ‘favorites’ shelf.

Why?

Well…the setting didn’t completely agree with me. While I was pleasantly surprised at how non-violent/shady the asylum ended up to be, I still wouldn’t off-key say to my mom “Oh yeah, I’m now reading this book where they’re in an asylum”nor would I give the synopsis to either of my younger brothers (not that I would with any other book, but this one I wouldn’t give the plot).

Also because I have a hard time reading fantasy. Because I am a very ‘give me the facts’ person, I can’t wrap my head around fantasy very well and thus can’t easily love fantasy. It’s especially hard because the original setting wasn’t a fantasyfied land, then transitioned it to being magical, which was even harder for me to think about. This is just a personal reason, though, so I won’t particularly take off any points for this.

Quotes:

“I’ll need you to make your daring escape now, if you don’t mind, then follow me quickly.”

It was an intimidating structure, especially since it was . . . upside down? Panic almost seized Franz at this sight, but then he realized that it was he who was the wrong-side up.

“Maybe . . .” Roselee whispered even as the three Guardians […] stared at her with earnest dismay, “. . . maybe there’s more to being a hero than saving kingdoms and things. Maybe a True Hero needs a true heart . . .”

To be sure, they hadn’t much hope left. But sometimes a final, desperate hope is all that’s really needed . . .

RockandMinerals4Him Rating:

8/10

Final Remarks:

(Because Grace getting a blogpost all to herself equals me talking on and on about how good she is, right?) I really enjoyed getting an ARC of The Five Magic Spindles to read…it was a joy reading Grace’s debut work! And also, shoutout to Grace for running such a great blog that made me want to read it!

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itssimplygrace.blogspot.com

 

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4 thoughts on “Novella Review: The Ghost of Briardale (Five Magic Spindles)

  1. Great review! I haven’t heard of this book before, but I’ll definitely have to keep it in mind! I will agree with you though; I have a difficult time reading fantasy as well because it is just so hard for me to get past the way my factual brain works.
    Thanks for sharing at the Grace + Lace Linkup!

    Like

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