I am writing a review of the book Damsel by Elana K Arnold because it was given honorable mention by the deciders of the Printz award.

“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 this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.
However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.”

I am confused as to why this book was given mention – the story is entertaining enough, and the writing isn’t terrible – but in general I didn’t find the story to be unique. The entire book I was able to see exactly what was going to happen – it wasn’t more than a mix of different fairytale tropes. The only difference to me was that it ended with the heroine breaking from these tropes and “finding her own”. This idea however is not new. I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading this book, really I enjoyed it, but, it isn’t extraordinary and if anyone can make a sound argument to me as to why it was given mention I would like to know!

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