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  • Nikky Lee

Book Review: Daughter of the Beast by E. C. Greaves

Title: Daughter of the Beast (The Vyshivka Trilogy #1)

Author: E.C. Greaves

Publisher: self published

Page count: 374

Genre: Dark fantasy, grimdark, folklore

Rep: LGBTQ+

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(4.5/5)



Cover of Daughter of the Beast by E.C. Greaves

Blurb

When her sleepy village is raided by the Vulkari, the fearsome warrior women of the Ancient Wilds, only Zyntael Fairwinter is taken.


Claimed as a daughter by their infamous matriarch, Zyntael is trained to hunt, to fight, and to kill—all for a purpose, which remains ever out of her grasp.


In the company of their unruly young, she might find sisterhood. In their unique customs and beliefs, she might find beauty. And in the violence of their raids, she might even find glory.

But it is the reason for her capture that Zyntael truly seeks. It is a truth that must be earned from the very Spirits of the dead; a future paid for in the blood of those Zyntael once called her own. It is a purpose that promises the liberation of not just she, but of all the Ancient Wilds, from an evil far greater than any marauding warrior women.


Warrior or no, however, the Vulkari are not like other women. The Vulkari are monsters.

And sometimes, only the truly monstrous have what it takes to save the world.


Steeped in Slavic Myth, and appealing to adult and young adult readers alike, Daughter of the Beast is a rich and unique fantasy coming-of-age story. It is the first in an exciting debut trilogy by E. C. Greaves, which blends action and adventure, with themes of belonging, identity, destiny, and a girl's place in a harsh and uncaring world—built by men, and built for men.


Review of Daughter of the Beast

I’ve recently heard this book described as “grindark” and I have to say, this is one of my favourite descriptions ever! Myself, I’ve used the term “grimfae” and “grimlore” in my attempt to explain this story. To start, it’s full of fae. In fact, there isn’t a single human character in it, instead we’re met with a cast of various creatures from slavic folklore: Kikimora, Vulkari, Hobgoblins and more. 


Our main character is Zyntael Fairwinter, who is taken prisoner by Vulkari—dog/wolf like creatures—who raided her village and indoctrinated her into their warrior way of life. Over the course of the book, we follow Zyntael’s struggles as her childhood is irrevocably changed and she is forced into a fiercely adult world too soon. At the start of the book, Zyntael is ten years old, and while the writing cleverly echoes the simplicity and naivete of her character, there is an undercurrent of darkness running through it that blossoms and grows as Zyntael learns more of the world and fights for her place in it. So, while the opening pages might fool an unsuspecting reader that this book is a young YA read—possibly even Middle Grade—be assured it is not.


A particular highlight for me was seeing the sisterhood develop between Zyntael and her Vulkari sisters. From Zyntael’s fight to be respected (despite being outmatched in almost everyway) to gaining their trust, friendship and love is a wonderful (and my favourite) part of the story. And honestly, this is barely scratching the surface of the journey the characters undertake in this book (and it’s only the first in a trilogy!).


Overall, Daughter of the Beast is a brilliant story that whisks the reader to a place where brutality and beauty mix and features a fantastic array of folklore, world building and characters who stay with you long after you finish the final page.

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