Book Review: Juniper & Thorn

Posted November 1, 2022 by geograph in fantasy, review, YA / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Juniper & ThornJuniper & Thorn by Ava Reid
Published by HarperCollins on June 21, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy, Fiction / Fantasy / Gaslamp
Pages: 320
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Netgalley

From highly acclaimed, bestselling author Ava Reid comes a gothic horror retelling of The Juniper Tree, set in another time and place within the world of The Wolf and the Woodsman, where a young witch seeks to discover her identity and escape the domination of her abusive wizard father, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackson and Catherynne M. Valente.

A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites. 

Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.

Unfortunately I am just super super sick of fairytale retellings after I took a class about them last semester! Which I didn’t actually expect, I thought that I would gain a greater appreciation for them and finally be able to enjoy them. But actually I hate them forever (except for THE GOOSE GIRL series by Shannon Hale) and I should stop picking them up. Also, I found this way gorier than I wanted to expected it to be. I was Just Not In The Mood for the dark places this book goes, including domestic violence and child sex abuse. I’m giving this book three stars, with the note that a lot of people loved it! I just was not one of them.

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