Briarheart, by Mercedes Lackey

calculatedliterature's review against another edition

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I definitely was hoping to love this book and I was not disappointed! It was such a sweet, heartwarming story. Maybe a little younger than YA, which is where I found it at Barnes&Noble, but I ended up loving it so that’s alright.

Things I loved:
-Wholesome without being cliche. I loved all of the escapades she went out without being afraid of an unhappy ending. She didn’t always succeed, she made mistakes, but overall, I could count on Miri to be a good person and to have fun adventures.

-Completely rejects the chosen one trope. Miri is only a hero by choice, and even then she’s not always a hero. No one is forcing her to do anything and fate definitely does not play a part in the book.

-The ending! It was just so cute and fun, I seriously didn’t see it coming.

Things I didn’t like:
- I wish the Companions had more defined personalities, and honestly, I feel that way about most of the characters. They all have veerrrry similar rhetoric when talking. No one’s shy, no one’s short-tempered, etc. They’re all just normal, courtly people/animals. It didn’t ruin the novel or anything, but I wish the author could have distinguished between characters. It was very plot based and not at all character based.

-The mysteries aren’t all wrapped up. I’m pretty sure this is a standalone book (?) but I had so many questions at the end that i wished would’ve been answered.

books_over_everything's review against another edition

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Initial Thoughts
I was super excited to read this book. I haven’t read many Sleeping Beauty retellings so I was looking forward to this one.

Some Things I Liked
Fae and retellings. I won’t lie, I’m a big fan of Fae characters and lore. I loved the way they were woven into this retelling.
Found family vibes. I also really liked this element. Aurora’s Companions were more than just a team, along with Brianna, they became a family.

Some Things I Wasn’t Crazy About
No romance. Miri was a bit young for romance but I wished there had been some romance in this story.
Read like middle grade, not YA. The MC and the story read very young. I think this would be a perfect book for an advanced MG reader or a young YA reader.
The story didn’t make a ton of sense. The story starts with an attack from a Dark Fae and then that’s never fully explained. The chain of events didn’t really feel like they made sense.

Series Value
I’m not sure if this is going to become a series. If it does, I’d only be interested in continuing if the characters were a bit older.

Final Thoughts
This book was not what I was expecting. It read much younger than I thought it would and the story’s holes made it harder to enjoy.


jennderqueer's review against another edition

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A solid 3.75 - this is a sleeping beauty retelling that gives Aurora a protective older sibling. Drags in the middle but it's good overall.

narjarules's review

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Short adventures keeps pacing active. Great for middle school and older.

araleith's review against another edition

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This was the oddest lowest stakes book. I felt like nothing really happened.

mythtaken_id's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


daisymama's review against another edition

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Engaging middle-grade reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, and i enjoyed listening to it. Polly Lee’s variety of voices was wonderful, and although the beginning of the story is rooted in the familiar tale, the adventures in this book are a fully different narrative… which was refreshing, though I would have liked there to be more to the story.

Unfortunately, although this story kept me interested, by the end it was lacking satisfactory explanation of many of the mysteries that had been established, both major and minor. (Why were the dark fae interested in Aurora to begin with? What were the origins of Miri’s father? Presumably, the goblins freaked out because they were protecting Miri’s grandmother, but I felt cheated out of finding that out for sure. And what was up with the glowing statue from the dragon?) in general, I was really wishing for more with the dark fae other than the vague general threat that they exist. Also, our protagonists were always able to keep pressing forward… they had setbacks, but nothing that really ever made them change course, and an unexpected change of course would have been a welcome addition to this imaginative but fairly predictable storyline.

mallorypen's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


This was a fun, fast retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story … kind of. More like a prequel that solved the complications of Aurora being spirited away to the cottage until her 16th birthday.

Miriam was a fun character that gave me Lady Knight Alannah vibes, but in the Percy Jackson-coded way of she cannot take the L. Like a Mary Sue, but as a badass who is naturally gifted with magic as she is with a sword, who is kind and wise and strong all at the same time, etc etc. I did appreciate her hotheadedness about making decisions she knew her stepfather wouldn’t like, and overall I was cheering her on.

The fun elements of the story definitely included the idea of the Ling animals; the horses who could never have a bit in their mouths; and the idea that, while rare, lady knights already existed.

The plot holes that made me rate this lower overall included the mystery of who Miri’s grandmother is; the importance of Aurora (though that was kind of answered by the trolls); and the importance of the fortune-telling people (who were definitely coded as Romani/Travelers, and there was a hint of ick about their gift of the two horses being essentially a sales pitch for selling four more horses); and who the Dark Fae was who got the trolls to kidnap Aurora.

Overall, it felt like the book was meant to be the first in a series with all the unanswered questions. That said, I don’t think I’d be running to find the sequel to see how the story continues if such a thing exists.

moxiemissy's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark inspiring mysterious tense slow-paced


nessie_5's review against another edition

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What I like about BRIARHEART is the description of well, everything. And the writing style. I also liked the main character.

in conclusion, this is the book you read while listening to kingdom dance from tangled.