Publisher: DPW / Disney Press
Publication date: May 3rd, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
What if you had one year to save everything you loved?
ONE PRINCESS. Merida of DunBroch needs a change. She loves her family—jovial King Fergus, proper Queen Elinor, the mischievous triplets— and her peaceful kingdom. But she’s frustrated by its sluggishness; each day, the same. Merida longs for adventure, purpose, challenge – maybe even, someday, love.
TWO GODS. But the fiery Princess never expects her disquiet to manifest by way of Feradach, an uncanny supernatural being tasked with rooting out rot and stagnation, who appears in DunBroch on Christmas Eve with the intent to demolish the realm – and everyone within. Only the intervention of the Cailleach, an ancient entity of creation, gives Merida a shred of hope: convince her family to change within the year – or suffer the eternal consequences.
THREE VOYAGES. Under the watchful eyes of the gods, Merida leads a series of epic journeys to kingdoms near and far in an attempt to inspire revolution within her family. But in her efforts to save those she loves from ruin, has Merida lost sight of the Clan member grown most stagnant of all – herself?
FOUR SEASONS TO SAVE DUNBROCH – OR SEE IT DESTROYED, FOREVER.
r e v i e w
'Bravely' by Maggie Stiefvater might just be the sleeper hit of the year for me. I certainly loved the original Disney film and its fiery princess, but as this was my first full Steifvater novel.. I wasn't prepared for the depths I was about to slip into.
It isn't that the story starts off slowly per se, so much as.. it seems innocuous enough at the beginning. The time spent setting up focuses on the connection to the original tale as well as a sort of.. update as to where things stand now. We're given ample time to reacquaint ourselves with the family and their way of life.. to get used to the mostly content.. if somewhat lackadaisical existence they've meted out for themselves. Our princess however, is restless as ever.
When the threat makes itself apparent, it comes softly.. on hushed steps muffled by the gauzy cocoon of winter.. and that's really the elegance of the story. Throughout, as motives and histories are revealed, each revelation is delivered with precision.. yet it doesn't boom. It simply falls delicately into place like the snow.
As the story progresses, the pace definitely increases as well. Time is running out for Merida to accomplish her task and the beat of the writing is an undercurrent driving us along like the pounding of a heart struggling not to fail.
Ultimately, I became deeply invested in the characters Stiefvater brought to life. Not just Merida and her family, who are at once both flawed and wonderfully wholesome.. but also in Feradach and the machinations of the Cailleach.
I love that the author doesn't shy away from tragedy. This story is equal parts hope and dread.. misfortune and blessing. The balance constantly trying to right itself, which is actually perfect for the tale it has to tell.