Review: Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Bravely

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Disney Press

Published: May 3, 2022

Pages: 384

Format: NetGalley e-ARC, thanks to Disney Press!

Goodreads Blurb

“Merida goes on an all-new, life-changing adventure in this original YA novel set several years after the close of Brave!

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?


My Review

I don’t know what is going on but there have been so many angsty forbidden romances lately! Haha! I went into this completely blind and didn’t know what to expect. I was actually surprised to realize this had a romance in it, which I wasn’t expecting, for some odd reason.

This takes place a few years after Brave, the movie. Merida is kind of stuck and stagnant. The whole castle is and that’s the issue that needs to be resolved. She doesn’t know what she wants from life but keeps traveling around. Like most gods, here they come to cause some chaos.

This book is hard for me to review. I wanted to love it but I found myself really trying to push through and not DNF. The plot is so slow and takes forever to go anywhere. We take half the book to hit the first of 3 places. Then the next two places are so fast especially, the last. They spend a couple of pages there when it was chapters for the previous. I wanted to spend the most time there because it was the most fascinating!

My favorite part about this book was the romance. I am not going to say more because I don’t want to give too many things away. It’s just such a slow build and then becomes quite angsty. I think this was the most mature part of this book. The writing felt very, very young. Considering this was supposed to take place in her teens if felt younger. I was really disappointed with Merida’s overall character arch too. I’m also not going to delve into that either for spoiler reasons. I will say, there are some contradictory things to the movie. In the movie, she and her mom finally understood each other. This kind of blurs that and I feel it isn’t true to the original story.

Overall, I did like this but I didn’t love it. Even though the plot was slow it was a decently fast read. I’m glad I stuck with it because I did enjoy the romance but there are a lot of things lacking here. This definitely reads for a much younger audience, so keep that in mind. The last third of the book is very rushed and feels a bit unfinished.

Thank you to Dinsey Press and Netgalley for a copy of this book to review.

19 thoughts on “Review: Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. It stinks that you didn’t enjoy it more. :/ I couldn’t tell from the cover whether this would be YA or MG, and it sounds from your post like the story has elements of both too? That’s confusing. I’ve got this one on my reading list, but I feel like my expectations are different now that I’ve read your review. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I was really excited for it and maybe that had something to do with it. Yeah, I would think it’s more YA than MG. I really hope you have a different experience because I’ve seen a lot of people that really enjoyed it. I, personally, was let down by Merida’s aspect of the book.


    • It’s okay! I think I just felt too disappointed with Merida’s actual “change” and it felt kind of like the easy way out? I’m so glad you enjoyed it though! So many have and I’m probably in the minority!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Leslie! This is the second one I’ve seen for the book and it’s convinced me that this probably won’t be for me. If the plot is gonna be slow-paced I have to at least connect with the characters enough to want to keep reading but this doesn’t like it would give me that. At least you gave it a try and finished it as well! I’ll be content with wondering about what happens to Merida after Brave ends. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha!! I can give you the cliff notes if you want! Lol. It’s not that great, which was kind of annoying! I expect more of her. Yes, so glad I was able to finish!!


  3. I had the same issue with the movie… I wanted to love it but just didn’t. I loved Merida and her fiery spirit but I just didn’t like the plot of the movie. I was kind of hoping the book would be the character I loved but a better plot, but its sounding like it fell a bit short too?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually had issue with the character, herself! Her personal growth in the book is … not great and kind of revoles around a guy. I also didn’t love how her mom and her didn’t really get along well and that was the whole point of the movie!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, I would recommend leaving it that way! hahaha. I totally had high hopes because I loved the movie. It kinda goes back on some of the stuff between her & her mom, which was not the point of the movie.

      Liked by 1 person

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