Damsel by Elana K. Arnold: Book Review

damsel by elana k arnold cover

Damsel was a dark, fascinating read that demanded my attention and was extremely hard to put down. It takes place in a kingdom where a prince becomes a king by rescuing a damsel from a dragon and taking her home to become his queen.

Every action taken and word spoken by the characters in this is packed with meaning. It’s one of those stories where all is certainly not as it seems, and you begin to pick up on this right from the beginning – but it keeps you hooked trying to find out what exactly *is* going on.

The only reason I gave this four stars rather than five is that I was left quite confused by what exactly did happen at the end of the book (let’s just say when the damsel’s rescue is, er, explained – though not well. I still can’t figure out how someone doing…that…caused…that.)

There was definitely some disturbing content in this book, so readers beware – content warning for sexual assault, violence, animal abuse, and even bestiality. Damsel is not for the faint of heart; but if you can handle these things, it’s an amazing read! – Anne ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


I cannot remember the last time I read an entire book in one day – I did this very thing with Damsel.

This book is pretty good. I didn’t totally know what I was getting into when I purchased it (I actually randomly chose it from my TBR list and realized that it might help inspire some sections of the draft I’m currently working on), but I knew I wanted to read it.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous (and creepy) and caught my eye.

A lot of the language in this book is poetic, which tends to attract me. It is also very visceral and painful and its darkness invites strong emotions. At times, these are all great things and an experience I’m looking for.

Obviously, I couldn’t put this book down – so I spent my whole Sunday devouring it. It’s a page-turner and the pacing seems pretty good. While this book is fairy tale-esque (and that leans toward being quite black and white and sometimes filled with flat characters), I did brace for that going in and liked it pretty well. I thought Ama was a very interesting character.

I don’t want to give any spoilers in my review, so I will just say this: the prose style is amazing. The world is well constructed and feels real and sucked me in. The dialogue is generally well done.

I also correctly suspected a major reveal about fifty pages into the book. (Not sure if that’s good or bad!) The author is skilled at leaving clues for the reader, scattered throughout the entire novel like radiant gems.

While I recommend this book, I will say that if you cannot handle dark topics then you might want to research the trigger/content warnings for this book before reading it. – Jake ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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