Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli is a fairytale of horrors. Emeline Lark has always known the tales of the Edgewood, but she’s always thought they were just that: tales.

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

From Goodreads:

No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her.

But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.

When she learns her grandfather disappeared from his nursing home, leaving only a milky orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. After searching for him almost everywhere, Emeline finally succumbs to the call of Edgewood, entering the forest she has spent years trying to escape.

Emeline finds herself in the court of the fabled Wood King himself.

She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom.

Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of a life she has worked so hard to forget.

With the help of a handsome and brooding tithe collector, a surly blacksmith, and a lost childhood friend, Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.

“The forest takes what it likes and never apologizes.”

Kirsten Ciccarelli has crafted a beautifully dark world within Edgewood. This story clearly pulls from the common folklore of fae but has its own twists and lore within it. I can greatly appreciate the skill it takes to do this. Emeline is driven by her own desires, but also the need to understand herself. This inherent conflict created a plot that drove the action in the story in a way I did not expect.

I really enjoyed reading about Emeline. Her mindset and desires felt realistic to me, even within this dark story. Even the way she compartmentalized so much of her life was tangible and real to me. However, I don’t necessarily think her thought processes were at the same level as most 19-year-olds. The decisions she was making around work and such felt closer to someone in their early to mid-twenties than 19. I know this often happens to books to keep them within the YA genre, and I almost wish this one had been allowed to be an adult book.

“The steepest sacrifices make the strongest tithes.”

With that in mind, the romance also landed flat for me. This isn’t often something I wish for, but in this instance, I would have liked more passion and more connection from our love interest and main character. The twist was truly surprising but landed sourly with me as I never felt any connection between the two characters. I think allowing this book to be an adult book, rather than YA, would have given it the extra “spice” it needed.

“Let down your walls before I break them.”

Despite my qualms with the disconnect of the romance and the age of the characters, this book was incredibly enjoyable. The pacing was well done, and the world-building was amazing. You could sense the danger everyone was in as the story progressed. This is my first book from Ciccarelli, and I am looking forward to reading more from her.

“You should be far away from here, Emeline Lark. Somewhere safe.”

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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