Beguiled

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Beguiled
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
14+
Release Date
August 23, 2022
ISBN
978-1419752674
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A dark and enthralling story about a young woman who makes a deal with a spirit to try and gain her independence—and the twisted price she has to pay for it
Ella is a 17-year-old weaver whose entire livelihood depends on her loom. She dreams of opening her own shop, but when her father died in debtor’s prison, she had to support herself by taking whatever clients she could get. In order to buy her supplies she goes into debt of her own, and when her loom breaks, Ella realizes she needs more help than a repairperson can give her. She, like everyone, has heard about the old washerwoman spirit called the Bean-Nighe who will grant any one wish—for a price.
 
But Ella is desperate, so she asks the Bean-Nighe to fix her loom. And it works. The loom is fixed, and she creates beautiful pieces she could have never imagined before. All she has to do is feed the loom a drop of blood each time she weaves—a small price to pay for such magnificent silks. And when she brings two bolts to a rich client, she meets a mysterious young man named Callum and bargains for an invitation to his exclusive party. At that party, he's so mesmerized by her talent, he offers Ella a place to live and patronage for her art. It seems like Ella's fortune is finally turning for the better . . . until she begins to notice the loom taking more from her than she offered.
  
As she becomes entangled in the lives of the city’s rich, swept into Callum's allure, and trapped by the Bean-Nighe’s magic, Ella must figure out a way to secure her future while she still has a future at all.

Editor review

1 review
intriguing YA fantasy
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
BEGUILED is an intriguing YA fantasy about magic, power, and desire. Ella lost her father a few years earlier due to his debts, and she is close to following in his footsteps. The man from whom she borrows is asking for repayment in one way or another, and she feels out of options. The stories of the Bean-Nighe at the river are looking better and better - what price would she pay for a wish?

After her loom breaks, ruining any chance of hope, Ella is out of options and decides to make a wish with the Bean-Nighe to have it fixed. All the Bean-Nighe asks in return is a drop of blood when she weaves. Returning home, it all seems too good to be true, especially when the fabric she weaves is more stunning than anything she ever could have imagined - with unexpected side effects. As her fabrics get her noticed by the wealthy Callum and open the world to her, Ella begins to realize that the true price of the Bean-Nighe is much more than she ever could have anticipated on several levels.

What I loved: This is a story that grows darker as Ella becomes more steeped amongst the wealthy and the magic of her loom. At its heart, it is a story of hunger and desire for something more. Themes around wealth disparity, want, bargains, mistruths, and the games we play make this a thought-provoking read. Ella lives in poverty, desiring to make things by hand, but her path into security is through the benevolence of those around her. She is willing to work herself to the bone to achieve what she wants, and her new benefactor places her value on her products.

Ella is a compelling character, who hungers for more, but is faced with a society who discards her for the very reason she has to work. Her value is tied into her product plus luck in selling it. As the loom exacts its price while creating a magical product, Ella is enchanted by the possibilities of what it can bring. Ella is somewhat isolated amidst the glitz and glamor, particularly considering that they seem incapable of accepting someone of the working class.

The story unfolds in an intriguing way, becoming darker as Ella moves forward. While the reader can see some things coming, the way Ella reacted to it all was a great twist, and the ending became something different. The mythology and magic of the story was enchanting, and just enough knowledge woven throughout to help the reader understand.

Final verdict: BEGUILED is a magical YA fantasy about power, want, and poverty with compelling characters and surprising twists. Recommend for fans of GILDED, WISHTRESS, and THE WISH GRANTER.
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