A review by annebennett1957
Damsel by Elana K. Arnold


This fantasy novel is like a mash-up of fairy tale and #MeTooMovement. Emery is an abusive, awful person in the beautiful robes of a king. He attempts to rape Ama. He manipulates her mentally, and threatens her get his own way. Ama is isolated and lonely. She doesn't understand what is happening to her and she fights back as best she can. When she discovers the ovens in the deep basements of the castle where glass is blown into bowls and the all-knowing eyes, she finds an outlet for her creativity and warmth for her ever-cold bones. Finally, Ama has enough insight to challenge Emery's claim on her.

When my children were little I used to read a cute and funny picture book to them, The Paper Bag Princess. In this story the princess is supposed to be wowed by the Prince, who is a real dud. Eventually, this princess decides she can do much better on her own and tells him off. I kept thinking about this funny book while I read this very unfunny novel by Alana K. Arnold. Ama clearly needed to get to the point where she told off Emery and went her own way but could she do it?