Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
Save your money, don’t buy this book. Save your time, don’t read this book. I admit I was drawn in by a pretty cover and the plot teaser on the jacket cover made it seem too easy to guess the plot twist. I thought surely it cannot be that easy and simple, and it has a good review, I’ll give it a try. Sadly, the plot twist was easy to guess and there was no real shocking surprise on who Damsel really was and why she cannot remember anything before being “saved” from the dragon. The only surprising thing was how abusive Emory was to Damsel, and other girls, all at the age of 18 years old. This book was like reading and watching an abusive relationship, which made the lack of plot twist and underdeveloped characters even harder to read. Just save yourself and do not bother reading this, you time will be better spent reading another book.
Cast of Characters/Book Summary:
Prince/King Emory of Harding = conquered many things in life, including girls, must kill a dragon to become King after his father dies. Recognizes the smell of the dragon’s lair from the womb (biggest hint of what the Damsel is). Cruel to women and threatening/abusive to Ama/Damsel. His lack of intelligence that what he had to do to conquer his dragon is what his father had to do to his mother, because his mother was once a Damsel shows just how lacking in character development and unworthy of Ama/Damsel he is.
Fabiana = kitchen apprentice, Emory had bedded her prior to going hunting and hinted that he continues to bed her after he returns with Ama/Damsel. Tells the Queen Mother when Ama/Damsel injures her hand, against the wishes of Tillie. Warns Ama/Damsel to at least pretend to like Emory’s advances and more or face his wrath.
Pawlin = falconer, Emory would listen to him tell stories, tries to help Ama tame her pet lynx Sorrow, watches Ama for Emory
Maddie = hedge warder’s niece, Emory took her virginity, told Emory only place to pierce a dragon is in the soft skin under its arm.
Ama/Damsel = Emory “rescued” her from the dragon, doesn’t remember who she is, has moments of memory, struggles to stay warm, red hair, honey colored eyes that start to turn chestnut as the story goes on, is told she will marry Emory and that she has no family, because it is tradition that the Damsel marries the king who “saved ” her and bear him one son. Is named by Emory on their journey back to Harding. Treated poorly by Emory and Pawlin, they try to break her as they would a wild animal, frees her lynx so that it will not die, steals an eye, and questions what she is told but only fleetingly (greater character development could have made her a stronger character and the ending better).
Tillie = Ama/Damsel’s main lady in waiting, tends to her through out her stay in the castle.
Queen Mother = Emory’s mother, her eyes are coal now, but werre amber when she came to the castle. Tells Ama/Damsel she will die when Ama weds Emory and gets pregnant, because that is tradition. Encourages Ama/Damsel to accept her destiny is to be a vessel and carry a king’s son.
Allys = Tillie’s aunt, helped the Queen in her first few months at the castle, missing an eyes because she stole an eye to try for protection from a violent man in the castle (hinted to be either Emory or his father) whose eye she caught.