Author: Elana K. Arnold
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)
When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court. However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.
Damsel starts like a new chapter in a book where the plot never changes. The prince heads off to defeat a dragon, returns with a damsel he rescued from the tower, marries her, becomes king, has a son, and when the son is old enough, he heads off to defeat a dragon. This is how it is, again and again. Now, it's Emory's turn to defeat the dragon. And so he returns with his damsel, Ama, who remembers nothing of her life before. This is a dark feminist tale, an exploration of rape culture. It's harsh and occasionally graphic, bound to be disturbing and triggering to some. It's the story of a young woman who had something taken from her, whose inner fire is slowly burning out, and how she brings it to life once more. This is all about the pain and fear that so many young women are subjected to by men, both those they know and complete strangers. The fear that they will be beaten or raped if they don't listen, if they don't do what men want, if they don't just stay quiet and sit in an empty room. It's also about the fire inside those young women, the power they hide and the power they set free. This is one of those hard, discussion-starting books that not everyone will want to read because of the abuse and rape scenes.
In terms of whether or not I enjoyed it, not really, but how can you like a book about abuse and rape and young women perpetually forced into situations without their consent? I found the twist to be rather obvious, but I figured what it was after reading the summary. I was curious as to how it would all play out.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)