Damsel by Elana K. Arnold


The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.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 t...

Details Damsel

Release DateOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherBalzer + Bray
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, New Adult, Dragons

Reviews Damsel

  • Emily May
    Secrets, like memories, do not disappear just because they are buried by snow or time or distance. What an ugly, awful little book. I thought it was pretty awesome, too, but then I’m a fan of Arnold’s dark twisted feminist stories that most other people seem to hate.It looks like Arnold is continuing her trend of writing horrible, depressing books that leave me in a constant state of anxiety while reading. What Girls Are Made Of ripped my hea...
  • Tatiana
    4.5 starsOh boy, this novel is going to get so many 1-star reviews! This is what happens when a book like this is marketed as YA. Are there going to be any teens that would read and like it? I doubt it. This is a novel created for lovers of literary fantasy and ugly ancient fairy tales. It is written in a simple language, it does not have a lot of characters or drama. It is quiet and dreamlike. It might get a Printz nod (I hope) from librarians (...
  • Melanie
    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. “For Emory to take his father’s place as king, he must do as his father had done, and his father before him. He must conquer a dragon and rescue a damsel, and take that maiden as his bride.” I get what this book was trying to do, I really do, and I appreciate it, but I just don’t personally think it was well done. This is a play on the “damsel in the tower, ...
  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
    When I first heard about this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I saw it hailed as a dark fairytale retelling, but I’ve been promised that many times by other stories that delivered on the “retelling” while leaving aside any hints of the “dark” aspect. Damsel, on the other hand, is exactly what it promises—an incredibly dark fantasy story that pulls no punches. “That is the way of being a woman, to carve away at herself, to fit her...
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2.5 stars. Are you REALLY angry about how men treat women, dismissively and as sex objects? If so, read on. If not, your mileage may vary with this allegorical fantasy about a prince, a damsel and a dragon.Prince Emory is on a quest, a traditional rite of passage: He is traveling to the gray lands to conquer a dragon, and bring back a beautiful young damsel to be his wife, as his father and forefathers have done before him. The novel goes into so...
  • Jeff Zentner
    Elana Arnold is a master of writing the struggles of young women and the violence they endure. DAMSEL is a story that feels both modern and ancient, a harrowing and compelling gothic fairytale of a young woman passing through fire to reclaim herself. It reads like a pre-Grimm-Brothers fairytale, before they were sanitized bedtime stories, when they went to the darkest reaches of the human heart to bear witness of who we really are. You will not b...
  • Sabrina The Trash Queen
    That end was just what I need it.Die fucker, bye you pissed of shit, you will not be missed.This is the sort of book that is going to get a lot of 1 stars rating our none at all.Is hard to give a rating for this one, being that involves so many triggers.But overall, a very interesting story. The writing is solid. Very short. “One should not make a pet out of a wild beast” TW: violence of all types; animal harm and self harm.——————...
  • Jackie
    This book is fucking terrible. “Damsel” tells the story of a prince off to slay a dragon and rescue a girl who he will take home to be his queen. When she awakes she has no memory of her rescue, her family or her very name and is left at the mercy of the prince who takes her back to his kingdom and mother, but things are not as they seem and she soon finds herself struggling to come to terms with her present while hunting for the answers in h...
  • Amy
    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Okay, this is going to be one of those books with very polarizing reviews. You’re either going to love it, hate it, or be in the middle (like me) where you like the writing and message, but you’re also shaking your head going, WTF?Firstly, here are the trigger warnings: Sexual assault/rape, mental and physical abuse, harm to animals, suicide and self harm (it’s dis...
  • Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
    ↠ 3.5 starsI received a copy in exchange for a honest review. This is going to be such a divisive book; looking down the ratings my friends have given it on Goodreads, there is such a variation between 4 stars and 2 stars. It is a dark, provocative and slightly terrible novel, but it doesn’t promise to be anything different. It is a book about the treatment of women in a world dominated by men, and it is depressing.Before I go on, I want to s...
  • Vicky Who Reads
    5 starsTW: rape, self-harm, abuse, animal abuse, graphic violence, bestialityThis is not a book for everyone, but it was the book for me.I can feel all the people cringing away from this book, and know that you don't have to read it, and no one will fault you for not reading it. I can feel all the DNFs coming this way, as it's a very graphic book marketed towards the YA audience, and DNFing is a completely valid thing to do.As you can see by the ...
  • Billie
    This is not the Prince-rescues-Princess-from-Dragon book you expect, but it may very well be the book that you—or someone you know—needs.Embrace your Sorrow.Free your Fury.Be the Dragon.
  • Hollis
    Guuuuys I think my reading mojo is baaack. Because while I could hardly tear myself away from my last read, I was pretty much incapable of putting this down. DAMSEL consumed me.“All kings, for as far back as our memory goes, are made the same way. The prince must venture alone away from Harding. He must find the dragon. He must conquer the dragon, and free the damsel from captivity. When he returns home with his prize, he has proven himself wor...
  • Allison C
    This was a very dark book, and went the opposite way that I expected altogether. The “twist” wasn’t even a twist, and the entire book is stuffed with so much disgusting content that it became repulsive. It is also very dark, and the supposed good ending is dark in its own way. The messages that are portrayed in this book are horrible, as the King’s mother simply tells the damsel that even if you’re suffering, it’s simply the way it’...
  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight This is quite a unique, feminist fairy tale! First- let me just put out a trigger warning for... Idk, literally everything? Perhaps I should have made more note of this as I was reading, but I didn't, so just... lots of awful junk goes down, but if you are able to read it, it does lead to a story that will make you as furious about our m...
  • Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
    2.5 starsTWs for sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, animal mutilationI have so many thoughts about this book and not all of them good. There's a lot of sexism written into the story, and the women are treated as vessels for childbirth and objects of men. While, it's easy to see that the author purposefully included this as a social commentary on our real world, it was painfully uncomfortable to read at times, and some scenes felt un...
  • Jennifer
    I am at a lost of words on what I just read. I think I'm mostly at a lost on what I read.
  • Lorraine
    I am going to keep spoiler free. I enjoyed this book but so think that YA is not the best description. It is dark, but also enchanting. I could not put it down.The only reason it's a 4 not a 5 is that the big finale I assumed by page 50. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the book and got on really well with Arnold's writing. Would recommend
  • Madison
    A deeply dark and twisted fairytale reimagining, Damsel takes all the usual fairytale gender roles and dials them up to eleven, creating a shockingly reflective story about the worst of gender roles and subjugation. From the cover and synopsis of Damsel I expected a sweet and adventurous novel about a girl who didn’t fit the damsel mould, who was brave and fought and showed the world how awesome strong girls can be. I expected a celebration of ...
  • Serene Tintaglia
    "She was seeing it the way it really was; she was seeing its true red heart aflame and alive. It was her lover, her mate, her first home and her last. It was her own heart made large, and she loved it. She loved the orange-red fuzz of its curve; she loved the roil and the boil of its skin; she loved the explosive jets of liquid flame; she loved the quiet dance of whorls and swirls; she loved its glitter and its shine; she loved its movement and i...
  • Kate
    ARC provided by Edelweiss.I don't remember the last time I was so indecisive about rating a story. My initial reaction was quite a negative one and some of those initial reservations are still here with me at the end of the book. On the other hand, when I look at the bigger point I think the author was trying to make - I have to admit it's quite brilliant. So now onto the details - The prince is set to slay the dragon and save the damsel. Prince ...
  • Minni Mouse
    Admittedly, I skimmed this book in an hour. On the other hand, it was boring and senseless and one star is being generous.This reminds me of the tone behind Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge in its attempted creativity and dark themes...(view spoiler)[but all I got from this book was Emory is like a little Joffrey from Game of Thrones and he climbed up a castle wall for a few chapters before stabbing a dragon in the armpit with his sword and wi...
  • hannah ✧/ᐠ-ꞈ-ᐟ\ (on hiatus)
    Tentative rating: 3.5 stars This is how he likes me best... when I am in need of rescue. So the author wrote this in the cover reveal for Damsel, and I think it sums up the book quite nicely: Damsel is about waking up female in a man’s world. It’s about power, and abuses of power by powerful men. It’s about secrets. It's about pride, and anger, and action. I put my anger into this book, and I surprised myself with what my anger and I crea...