Briar Queen by Katherine Harbour – Review

Cover- Briar Queen

Published: June 2, 2015

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 368 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0



The dark, moody, and mystical fantasy begun in Thorn Jack, the first novel in the Night and Nothing series, continues in this bewitching follow up–an intriguing blend of Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alice in Wonderland, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream–in which Finn Sullivan discovers that her town, Fair Hollow, borders a dangerous otherworld .

Serafina Sullivan and her father left San Francisco to escape the painful memory of her older sister Lily Rose’s suicide. But soon after she arrived in bohemian Fair Hollow, New York, Finn discovered a terrifying secret connected to Lily Rose. The placid surface of this picture-perfect town concealed an eerie supernatural world–and at its center, the wealthy, beautiful, and terrifying Fata family.

Though the striking and mysterious Jack Fata tried to push Finn away to protect her, their attraction was too powerful to resist. To save him, Finn–a girl named for the angels and a brave Irish prince–banished a cabal of malevolent enemies to shadows, freeing him from their diabolical grip.

Now, the rhythm of life in Fair Hollow is beginning to feel a little closer to ordinary. But Finn knows better than to be lulled by this comfortable sense of normalcy. It’s just the calm before the storm. For soon, a chance encounter outside the magical Brambleberry Books will lead her down a rabbit hole, into a fairy world of secrets and legacies . . . straight towards the shocking truth about her sister’s death.

Lush and gorgeously written, featuring star-crossed lovers and the collision of the magical and the mundane, Briar Queen will appeal to the fans of Cassandra Clare’s bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely.

Briar Queen is a book that is exactly as dark and beautiful as you may guess just by glancing at the cover. Of course, I didn’t buy this because of the cover, but rather because I know how lovely Harbour’s first book, Thorn Jack was and I needed to continue on with the series.

The host of characters grows large as the book progresses and there are so many new faces around. Each is so lovingly described that it makes me ache to be able to transcribe what I envision in my mind onto paper. Alas, I’ll probably have to ask my brother to attempt one of these drawings for me. Just to show you what I mean when I speak of these elegant descriptions here is the description of Amaranthus Mockingbird. “A gossamer cloak billowed like an enormous butterfly around her lily-white gown. Hair the color of moonlight on pewter cascaded to her hips. She was crowned with a wreath of blackthorn and old roses, her lovely face marred by black spirals inked beneath pale eyes lined with red cochineal.” This was one of my favorites and each Fata is gothickly beautiful despite the danger they possess.

The story is nearly as beautiful as the haunting beings dwelling within the Ghostlands and quite good. There is a trend in these books of trying to kill the most powerful of the Fata and Seth Lot, madadh aillaid is the next target, a creature even more powerful than that snake Reiko. The story takes Jack, Finn and company into the Ghostlands, an otherworldly place inhabited by Fata of all shapes, sizes, and predilections. Events twist and turn and I was never quite sure what would happen next because through every doorway and train station there was a new danger and literally anything could happen. The ending, I thought, was almost expected because there seems to be a maximum level of happiness one can achieve in these books, but I’d say it’s setting up for the third book quite nicely. I’ve always been fond of the Wild Hunt after all.

 I enjoyed reading this book so much- it’s kind of like eating an ice cream sundae with all the toppings after a long day in the sun and heat. Katherine Harbour is an extremely talented writer and she weaves words so artistically. For those of you waiting on the third installment, never fear for Nettle King was released April 19! I’m now on a hunt to find stories featuring these dark fae creatures – I can’t ever get enough of these type stories!

2 thoughts on “Briar Queen by Katherine Harbour – Review

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