Cover Image: Beguiled

Beguiled

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Member Reviews

A big thanks to NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids for gifting me an eArc in exchange for an honest review.

I don't know why, going into this book it was going to be a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. But boy was I completely wrong. Though a good wrong, as I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.

Beguiled by Cyla Panin is YA fantasy novel that falls the downfall life of Ella, as she struggles to keep her life and tailoring business afloat. But her ship slowly starts to sink when her loom breaks down in the middle of an important order. Leaving Ella with the only option to see the woman of the water, to make a deal to fix her loom at the price of her blood. Ella quickly agrees, which quickly leads to her downfall.

I really liked this novel, as it was a fresh breath into the realm of fantasy. Which I much needed after binging about every fairy-tale retelling I could get my hands on. Though this book is not for the faint of heart.
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An immersive, original, dark, Celtic fantasy. I only have good words to say about this book. The world building was fantastic, the mythology was an amazing touch and the characters were perfect. I felt like I was living in this world. So good
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Beguiled wasn't as engaging as I'd hoped but I still had a good time within its pages.

On the streets of Scotland we meet our MC, a weaver trying to get her wares noticed using borrowed money. When things go awry and the loan comes due she turns to desperate measures of the otherworldly nature to turn things around. What follows is the story of how far one will go to not only survive but thrive. 

The author has created something I really enjoy in YA, she's written a story that has a "choose your own depth" quality. Readers looking for a thought provoking story will quickly see the themes of classism, perseverance, and gaslighting, from there you can fill out the stories depth. If you're looking for a lighter fair there's plenty of sparkling gowns, high society, and romance. The story works either way. 

Unfortunately, I never felt completely connected with this one. Despite having a deep love for Celtic lore and elements of my upbringing echoing the MC, I felt little connection to the story or characters. There's a deep desperation that comes with survival and while we're shown some of it through Ella's actions, I never felt it in the visceral way I wanted. 

All in all Beguiled wasn't a bad read, it simply left me wanting more. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the review copy.
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The premise for the book sounded really interesting, and I’m just disappointed with the actual delivery of it. Because there was, for me at least, no real suspense to what was going on in this world and that Callum was not who he claimed to be. Why? Because it basically spells it out for you within the first 100 pages, it was just so obvious there was this dark thing going on and that the main character was led into a trap. Which makes it so infuriating to read how blind she is for all of it, until like the last 50 pages or so. It was really frustrating and dull to read about, as when the truth was revealed it didn’t have the intended *shocking* effect on me. But like I said, not everything in this book was bad and the very end of the book was honestly quite fun and I loved the female friendship. I wish more of the book had that level of interesting relationships and actual high stakes. Not to mention something actually happening to the plot. But unfortunately it was too little, too late. But since I like the end and certain aspects of the book, I will be nice and give the book a 3 star.
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**I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own**

I enjoyed this book. There was some really good world-building and I loved the Celtic folklore. I don't anything about Celtic folklore, but this book has made me want to learn so much more. I also liked that Ella was a pretty independent female character. She was determined to make her way in a society that looked down on her because of her father's debt.

I will say, I did dislike the romance between Callum and Ella. I didn't that she fell so hard with him in what seemed like a pretty short period of time. I feel like she had some doubts about their relationship, but she still let it go far, and when the truth started coming out, she instantly regretted it. She definitely jumped in way too fast. I do wish the book would have been a bit longer with more detail added. I just think the events at the end of the book went way too fast.

Overall, I think this book was pretty good. If you like retellings and Celtic folklore, then you will definitely enjoy this book!
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This was not what I expected at all. I really liked the Celtic folklore elements of the book as well as the heroine. The romance fell flat for me but I am glad that it didn't completely overtake the plot. Overall it was a solid read.
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When someone alerts to me to a story in which the main character is a textile artist, especially if the crafted work takes on unique magical properties, I jump at the chance to read, so I was grateful to get my hands on an early review copy of this one.
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Panin draws on fabulous folklore that's a little less often tread than we sometimes see in YA. I loved that the lore felt familiar, and yet, not quite. A magical device that costs the user more than they anticipated when they bargained for it, given by a granter of wishes, but one readers might not have previously encountered, and one whose existence takes on more interesting layers as the story progresses. Unfolding much like The Picture of Dorian Gray, we see our heroine make her bargain in hopes of getting her heart's desire, only to fuel her greed and ambition until she's dug herself a heck of hole to climb out of. I loved that in this way, the heroine had lots of agency within the story, creating her own downfall before she could fight her way back to a place of hope and stability.
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The textiles and weaving and clothing weren't as central to the story/as detailed as I'd anticipated, but for many readers, this will be an asset as the story doesn't slow down for lengthy descriptions or employ specialized terminology that might give a reader pause. It's also a tightly focused story, with only a few characters to follow and a few locations for the action, creating an interesting sense of claustrophobia as tension mounts and we sense that something's about to go terribly wrong. A good fit for readers who enjoy a blend of folklore with a hint of light horror and a thematic look at the impact of wealth disparity in an undefined other-time/other-place community.
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In this story, we follow Ella, a weaver who is down on her luck. She only has one customer she sells to and when she runs out of money, her way to make money breaks, and she has no other choice but to ask the Bean-Nighe for a wish. Of course, there is a price, but Ella is willing to do anything to get her loom fixed. 

Ella was pretty unlikeable, and while normally that doesn't make a difference in whether I like a character or not, I really didn't like Ella. I just couldn't connect with her and while the evidence of who the bad guy is, is literally right in front of her face she is oblivious to all the red flags, and there are a lot of them.  Although I did really enjoy it when she began standing up for herself, and when it described how Ella made her creations. 

I did think the Bean-Nighe and the folklore aspect was super interesting and wish we would have gotten more about her. 

The ending was pretty good as well, I liked that while some things were resolved it wasn't really a happy ending. It was fitting for how the rest of the story went.
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As a lover of folklore and myths, Beguiled intrigued me right from the start. I had never read any Scottish folklore, and really enjoyed a first glimpse at the Bean-Nighe. 

The main character, Ella, was not entirely likeable in my opinion, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying her journey. A young, desperate weaver who sacrificed too much and was quite obsessed with being seen as more than useful by Callum. 

I enjoyed the ending, although it wasn’t necessarily a happy ending, things were wrapped up beautifully and we weren’t left with any big plot questions.
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Thank you NetGalley and TBR and Beyond Tours for the chance to read and review this book! I will post my review closer to the 27th of August.
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This tale begins as one tale and ends as another in this fantasy that is reminiscent of Rumpelstiltskin, with undertones of Irish and Greek myths. Sometimes slow, this story has resolution that is not entirely happy, with a not entirely lovable main character.
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Beguiled was filled with magic and enchantments but ultimately this one just wasn't for me. At first I really enjoyed Ella's character and her determination to make something of herself but throughout the book her character started to annoy me with how much she wanted to be a Player and what she was willing to do to become one. I also had a hard time connecting with any of the other characters which made the story hard to enjoy. I really did enjoy the magic of the silks and how detailed the author went into the descriptions of the dresses. I also liked the folkiness of the Bean Nighe and how much of a role she played in the story, I honestly wish she had been a part of the story more! I think others will really love this silky magical tale of learning who you are and the consequences of greed.
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It happened again. I picked up BEGUILED by Cyla Panin, sure I’d just read for a half hour, but when I next looked up, it was hours later. And I still couldn’t put this book down. As with her first book (STALKING SHADOWS—another must-read), Panin’s lyrical writing mesmerized me, but she also gets me with her main character’s, Ella, raw emotions and needs, the relationships, place details, and wonderful storytelling. I don’t want to give too much away. Ella, a weaver, has dreams and ambitions—to own her own shop, but she still owes her father’s debts. When her loom breaks, she asks the Bean-Nighe to fix her loom, gladly giving a drop of her blood every time she weaves. Now, her weavings are beyond anything she ever imagined, opening doors to a possible new life, making her dream of her own shop just that much closer. But….

You’ll have to read BEGUILED for yourself—it’s so worth.
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Thank you NetGalley, Amulet Books & Abrams Kids for the ARC.

This was quite an enchanting novel with elements of Celtic Folklore weaved throughout it. Beguiled may be positioned as a YA fantasy novel but I can see many of my fiber arts friends loving this story simply for the focus on weaving.

I found this to be an excellent thought provoking story about what we'll pay in exchange for our dreams. 

We follow the story of Ella who is living in what most consider poverty after her Father passes and is trying to elevate her status by following in his footsteps as a weaver of beautiful fabrics. She's past due with rent and her sole possession, her Father's loom has broken. She makes a deal with the Bean-nighe, a mythical goddess in Celtic folklore who fixes the loom and enchants her fabric. From there we're carried through the story of what Ella does with the fabrics. There are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing right up until the end!
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Wishes and curses and gods. Oh my!
Callum was infuriatingly mysterious, and I mean that in the best way. So twisty and evasive!
My reason for taking away a star is that the set-up felt waaaaay too long. The MC, Ella, spends many a chapter giving us a sense of her life and history, before finally getting down to the magic. I'm impatient.
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This is such an enchanting and immersive story with deep roots in Celtic folklore. It’s one that folklore enthusiasts will really enjoy. 
Beguiled focuses on the myth of the Bean-nighe, a female spirit in Scottish folklore which is generally seen as an omen and messenger of death. She’s also known as the washerwoman or laundress. I adore Celtic folklore so this story really spoke to my soul. It’s lovely to see Scottish folklore getting more exposure in fantasy books.

The main protagonist Ella is a seamstress who is trying to get ahead in life. She makes a deal with the Bean-nighe and gives a drop of her blood, not realising she will need to pay the debt back. She’s forced to come to terms with the consequences of a decision made purely from desire and longing. The whole subject of ethics and morals is really examined here. 

The prose is stunning and the world building is incredibly magical. Cyla knows how to tell a captivating story. It was difficult not to love Ella because you couldn’t help but want her to succeed and to cease struggling. She was quite determined though, so there’s also a sense of quiet strength about her. 

Thank you so much to the publisher and Cyla for my free arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Just like Ella could never abandoned one of her bolt creations because she needed to know what it would look like in the end, I was compelled to turn each enchanting page of Beguiled by Cyla Panin. This book is heavy on the heart and beautifully told by one of my new favorite authors in YA Fantasy fiction!

Cyla Panin’s storytelling is captivating and after reading Beguiled, her books will forever be added to my auto-buy author list! There’s something so simple and, well...beguiling...about the way she sets up a story that it’s impossible to not turn the page and find out what happens next…almost like when you think a story couldn’t get any better, it pulls the seat right out from under you. 

Ella is a 17-year-old weaver whose entire livelihood depends on her loom. She is filled with hopes and dreams of opening her own shop, but finds herself struggling, unable to dig herself out of the debt she throws herself in to secure her future. She, like everyone, has heard about the old washerwoman spirit called the Bean-Nighe who will grant any one wish—for a price.
 
Ella is desperate, so she asks the Bean-Nighe to fix her loom. And it works. The loom is fixed, and she's creating 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. Her bolts of silk mesmerize a young, wealthy, and mysterious gentleman named Callum and finds herself in his elite social circle. 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.
  
Beguiled is heavily character driven and readers will enjoy spending time with Ella. It’s hard not to love her and sympathize with her because she is so relatable. I’ve seen some of my own struggles reflected back at me while reading: of all the mistakes I’ve made, the hardships and moments of “it couldn’t possibly get any worse,” and the endurance to fight for what you want and what you deserve--to truly understand our worthiness for a happy life and what exactly will make us happy.

I loved the feeling I got when Ella started weaving a new bolt of fabric: ethereal. Like each bolt told it’s own story and as a writer, it transported me into imagining the type of person who could wear such a piece of fabric. The description of Ella’s weaving process is enchanting. It really inspired me and made me think about how much I love writing and creating stories that paint a picture in a reader’s imagination!

Wonderful Things to Expect While Reading:
💕 Lavish descriptions of the world and setting
💕 A strong and determined female heroine
💕 An unexpected love
💕 Ballrooms, dancing, and beautiful dresses
💕 Steam level: 🌶 (Fade to Black)
💕 Gods & Fae
💕 A deliciously deceptive villain
💕 Fairytale Reimagined
💕 Cautionary Tale

Thank you to NetGalley and Amulet Books for granting me a DRC of Beguiled in exchange for an honest review!

My Favorite Quotes While Reading:
"I want to wrap my influence around this city like a scarlet ribbon and squeeze."

"That was part of the thrill--picturing something beautiful in my mind and challenging my hands to make it. sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't quite. But trying was the good part."

"Did the sun mind sharing the sky with the moon? Did they ever spar over who could shine brighter? Or maybe both the sun and the moon worried about the stars outdazzling them. The ones on this bolt of cloth certainly would."

"It's you. Be yourself. You've swirled up my thoughts, Ella. And even when they stop spinning, they come back to you. Always you and the beautiful things you make."

"I wanted to capture his words as if they were flowers, to dry and keep in an old box and look at whenever I was sad."

"People get addicted to owning and tasting beautiful things."

"I was more than a bolt of silk."
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Beguiled is an intricate YA fantasy rich in mystery, Celtic folklore, and looming secrets. The heroine, Ella, was likable and drew me into the world of Beguiled. While the beginning of the novel moved slowly, after certain events it picked up quickly and I couldn't help but turn each page to figure out the end of the story.  While certain aspects of the book I found predictable, I still enjoyed them nonetheless and had a fantastic time in this world. I would recommend this book to people who love stories and worlds like Addie LaRue by V.E Schwab or Celtic folklore. A really gorgeous novel by Cyla Panin full of beautiful prose and magical world-building. 

Thank you to Abrams Kids and Netgalley for the advanced reader copy of this book.
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While this book started slow, and I was wondering if it stay that way, the plot really picked up and I was sucked into the world of magical materials and the curse that was then brought upon our main character. I did start making some predictions, and one of them was correct, but I did not anticipate what I learned about the Bean-Nighe! That alone added so much excitement to the story in my opinion.
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Beguiled is a YA fantasy novel by Cyla Panin about weaver Ella. Rich in celtic folklore, this story chronicles what happens when Ella's loom breaks and she has no choice but to ask the fabled Bean-nighe for help or risk losing the future she's always dreamed of. The Bean-nighe fixes Ella loom and enchants the fabric she creates with it for the simple price of a drop of blood each time Ella uses the loom. 

When Ella sells her fabric the rich and alluring she meets Callum who draws her into his world of luxury and Ella can finally see the path to getting what she's always wanted. But the loom is taking a much deeper toll on her than she realized. What really is a single drop of blood? 

Beguiled is an enchanting tale that drew me in the second I read the description. The exposition of the book was a tad slow for my liking, but it was necessary to set up the world building which is vast and well-structured. 

The story had many twists and turns that kept you guessing about what you knew and didn't know until the pages left everything bare. 

The characters were likeable. Ella is a strong, independent young woman who will do mostly anything to get the future she desires. She does have her own flaws, however, which help to propel the novel forward. 

Overall, I enjoyed Beguiled and would recommend it to anyone who wants to read an enchanting tale of Celtic myth. 


A huge thank you to Abrams Kids and Netgalley for supplying me with an advanced reader copy of this book. All opinions in this review are my own.
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