Review – Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Title Damsel

Author Elana K. Arnold

Description from Amazon

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: When the king dies, his son the prince 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, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon or what horrors she faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome young man, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny of sitting on a throne beside him. It’s all like a dream, like something from a fairy tale.

As Ama follows Emory to the kingdom of Harding, however, she discovers that not all is as it seems. There is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows, and the greatest threats may not be behind her, but around her, now, and closing in.

Release Date October 2, 2018

Initial Thoughts

I’ve seen this book around on Instagram and GoodReads and I really like retellings so I thought I would give it a try. I found the audiobook on Scribd and I thought it was finally time to give it a listen. I haven’t read anything else by Elana K. Arnold but I saw a lot of hype for her newest novel, Red Hood.

Some Things I Liked

  • Nothing. I didn’t like anything about this book. This is a first and I’m quite surprised I finished it. Well, I don’t DNF books so I basically had to, but I came very close to not finishing.
  • No, I can think of one thing I like. I liked the cover. I think a cover this cool deserved a better book.

Some Things I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • Graphic subject matter. Sexual assault, animal cruelty, borderline slavery, are just some of the triggering subjects covered in this book. I thought the YA tag was incredibly inappropriate and I don’t enjoy books that include these subjects in just a great amount. I read for enjoyment, not for this.
  • The writing style and language. YARD. Seriously, what a terrible description of Emory’s junk. There were several words that I just hated throughout the story.
  • The plot. Most of the plot was just Ama held hostage by the awful Emory. News flash, that’s not a plot. Yes, Ama was trying to solve the mystery of who she was before she met Emory, but there was really no story. I couldn’t connect with any of it.
  • Side characters. I really hated all of the side characters. Ama was basically the only one who I didn’t actively root against but just barely.

Series Value

I didn’t connect with any of the characters and the plot was a disaster. I don’t think this book has very much series or sequel potential. Honestly, even if one was written, I wouldn’t read it.

Final Thoughts

This is my first one star rating. I absolutely hated this book. I thought it was tagged for a totally inappropriate age group. This is not something I’d give to a 14 to 17 year old to read as the subject matter is graphic, dark, and honestly horrifying. I would not recommend this book to anyone.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Disenchanted by Brianna Sugalski – if you enjoyed the idea of a retelling and a “damsel in distress” who is not what she seems, try this new release. I really enjoyed it.
  • Sea Witch by Sarah Henning – if you enjoyed the idea of a unique retelling and don’t miss a romance plot, try this duology by Sarah Henning.

5 thoughts on “Review – Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

  1. Oh gosh….. I have this in ebook but just reading the trigger warnings you put it’s being trashed. If you’re review is a indication of the book than it was seriously mislabeled. No, just no. I’m glad I read this before I started the book. Thank you for your honesty <3. I hope your next read is much more enjoyable. If you would like some suggestions I have a few that I know for certain dont contain the above triggers. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was my first truly negative review about a book but I just found the whole thing to be terribly inappropriate for the age description. And, for a retelling, it was incredibly dark.


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