Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a good YA Fantasy continuing the story of the Disney movie Brave. The book is set several years after the movie and we find Merida traveling the countryside learning new skills and the triplets languishing at home, unchanged and unmotivated. In fact, most of her family seems to be stuck, with little purpose or motivation to change things. Which is the problem.

On Christmas Eve Merida encounters two gods. One tasked with rooting out rot and stagnation, and intent on destroying DunBroch and everyone within it. 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. Merida immediately starts her quest, which is fraught with a multitude of complications, some from her family and some from external forces. Will she be able to convince her family to change a lifetime of complacency?

I loved this movie so I jumped at the chance to read this continuation of it. Merida is her usual capable self, although she is not immune from feeling complacent and aimless at times. Merida must re-learn what she thought she knew about her family members in order to find out what they need to jolt themselves out of their rut. Some are easy, while others will test Merida’s abilities and patience. One further complication is her growing feelings for the destructive god Feradach. She slowly learns more of his backstory and just how much his duties weigh on him. These feelings complicate Merida’s journey, although her family will always come first.

Despite plenty of action in the book, there were times when the story slowed down and the pace was uneven. The author’s ability to develop characters, even minor ones, however, helps pull the reader out of the slow parts. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book, even if you’re not a huge fan of the movie Brave. I recommend you read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Disney Publishing Worldwide and Disney Press. All opinions are my own.