Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater was a fun continuation of Disney’s Brave. Merida must save her kingdom by making sure they change.

All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.

From Goodreads:

What if you had one year to save everything you loved?
ONE PRINCESS. Merida of DunBroch needs a change. She loves her family—jovial King Fergus, proper Queen Elinor, the mischievous triplets— and her peaceful kingdom. But she’s frustrated by its sluggishness; each day, the same. Merida longs for adventure, purpose, challenge – maybe even, someday, love.
TWO GODS. But the fiery Princess never expects her disquiet to manifest by way of Feradach, an uncanny supernatural being tasked with rooting out rot and stagnation, who appears in DunBroch on Christmas Eve with the intent to demolish the realm – and everyone within. Only the intervention of the Cailleach, an ancient entity of creation, gives Merida a shred of hope: convince her family to change within the year – or suffer the eternal consequences.
THREE VOYAGES. Under the watchful eyes of the gods, Merida leads a series of epic journeys to kingdoms near and far in an attempt to inspire revolution within her family. But in her efforts to save those she loves from ruin, has Merida lost sight of the Clan member grown most stagnant of all – herself?

“She didn’t know that Feradach – and disaster – was approaching. But the Cailleach knew. The wily old goddess. She also knew that DunBroch had earned Feradach’s ruin. But the Cailleach was old, and she was biased, and she had a stake in the Clan DunBroch.
So she cheated.
This is that story. “

Characters: 8 | Atmosphere: 9 | Writing: 7 | Plot: 8 | Intrigue: 9 | Logic: 9 | Enjoyment: 9
total: 8.57

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bravely takes place after Brave, with Merida recently returning from her adventures across the kingdom. However, Merida doesn’t know that no one takes her kingdom seriously until she is placed between the Cailleach and Feradach. The two gods have been somewhat at ends with each other for centuries, and Merida suddenly finds herself making a deal with them. If she manages to change the kingdom and everyone within, Feradach won’t destroy them. Yet, Merida may change a bit more than she expects with the way this tale ends.

“Some storms make a lot of noise but move no rooftops.”

I am a Brave superfan. Merida’s story made me cry in theatres and I find myself watching the movie once a year. I’ve also reread the Raven Cycle several times, loving the way Stiefvater writes magic and deep, dark places. Needless to say, my expectations were incredibly high for this add-on to my favorite Disney story, from an author I enjoy reading. Yet, I seemed to have forgotten that Stiefvater somewhat struggles with keeping her femme main characters as interesting as her male counterparts. With such a larger-than-life character as Merida, I would think it difficult to make her less interesting, but it was managed here.

“You don’t get to be king by staying small, he liked to say. “

The pacing here was a bit odd, focusing on the more boring bits for longer than the more interesting ones. As the author has written mythology-based stories before, I was a bit surprised by the somewhat lack of magic this writing had for me. This was by no means a bad book, there were just some pacing issues as well as character development that made it clear that it’s been a while since the author has written outside of her usual realm of storytelling.

“I am not cruel, Merida. I am nature.”

Did I dislike this book? Not at all. The ending is what makes me want to make this a 5 star read and throw my CAWPILE rating away. The book made me tear up more than once, and I was invested in the story. This book was truly a joy to read and if you are someone who loves the movie, I think you’ll enjoy this continuation of Merida’s story- especially if you wanted a bit more of the triplets than you got in the original movie.

“It hadn’t occurred to Merida that she might not like her family changing.”

Thank you to Disney Press and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Read more reviews here.