I received a copy of Disenchanted by Brianna Sugalski as part of the Storytellers on Tour Blog Tour.
TRIGGER WARNING: murder, attempted rape
A Breton princess at the peak of the French Renaissance, Lilac lives prisoner in her parents’ castle after a wicked secret is revealed on the eve of her tenth birthday soirée. Years later, her coronation ceremony looms, and between the riotous townsfolk and scheming nobleman bent on snatching the throne, Lilac prepares for the worst… Until a mysterious letter arrives from The Witch of Lupine Grotto, detailing a curious offer to cure her darkness forever.
Lilac begrudgingly trades her coronet for a cloak and ventures into the forest Brocéliande in pursuit of the impious enchantress at the edge of town. With only the protection of an inherited dagger—and unsolicited help of the sardonic stranger who inserts himself on her quest—she must traverse Brocèliande and return in time to claim her rightful position as sovereign monarch.
This is the story of a cursed princess,
A crestfallen killer,
The town that wants them to burn,
And the witch that can save them both.
The book starts with a mysterious encounter, and a plot to assassinate Lilac, the princess. She’s poised to be coronated, but her dark secret doesn’t endear her to the people of her kingdom. She’s been confined to the castle since she was ten, and she’s understandably naive and sheltered. Lilac is stubborn and knows what she wants and doesn’t want, although women in the 1500s didn’t get much say in their own lives. Lilac isn’t any different, even if she is a princess. She’s a little irritating at times, behaving in a petty manner and throwing tantrums. At times, she was very slow to pick up on things that were painfully obvious to the reader, but she’s definitely brave. Lilac is a frustrating character, but she’s got her good points too. Garin, the other main character, is another one who is well-rounded.
“The Darkling world she’d been taught to fear was not what she’d expected at all. Frightening, by all means. But, even more so, it was spellbinding.”
The story is an interesting one, and I like the idea of a historical fantasy. There’s a wide range of fantasy elements, including vampires, shapeshifters, ogres, witches, faeries, warlocks, korrigans (dwarf-like creatures), and morgen (a type of vicious mermaid), but there were some aspects that were completely unique to the story. The story includes a bunch of action, inner conflict, and political maneuvering, and it was paced well. There’s little hints of romance throughout the second half of the book, and I think that it was just enough to accurately reflect the period in which the book was set.
“We all have demons, but we can’t hold onto them long enough for them to turn us into monsters.”
My only complaint was the number of spelling and grammatical errors. Each time I encountered one, it would take me out of the story briefly, and there were enough that it affected my rating.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 7
About the Author
With an education in Mass Communication—and an engrossment in the curious and bewitching—Brianna Sugalski is a writer and Blog Director for The Parliament House Press. Previously, she was a staff contributor for Lifestyle & Fashion online magazine, Sarah Scoop, and also served as Copy Editor and Editor-In-Chief at her school publications. All this time spent writing paid off; her Dark Fantasy YA novel, DISENCHANTED, was recently acquired for publication, and was released in March of 2020.
Brianna was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, but now travels every few years with her husband and two children. She admires a few luminaries of the Victorian Era; the romanticism of period literature has inspired her to twine vibrant settings of nature with fast-paced narratives that readers will hopefully enjoy.
Ultimately, she aspires to make her readers laugh, to challenge their perspectives and to help them discover the magical meaning of their own powers within.