Title: Ash & Bramble
Author: Sarah Prineas
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Retelling, Young Adult
the 3 out of 5 stars
A glass slipper left behind at the stroke of midnight.
The tale is told and retold, twisted and tweaked, snipped and stretched, as it leads to happily ever after.
But it is not the true Story.
A dark fortress.
A past forgotten.
A life of servitude.
No one has ever broken free of the Godmother’s terrible stone prison until a girl named Pin attempts a breathless, daring escape. But she discovers that what seems to be freedom is a prison of another kind, one that entangles her in a story that leads to a prince, a kiss, and a clock striking midnight. To unravel herself from this new life, Pin must choose between a prince and another—the one who helped her before and who would give his life for her. Torn, the only thing for her to do is trade in the glass slipper for a sword and find her own destiny.
I enjoyed this book because it has a very interesting approach to fairy tales. There are so many retellings these days that it’s kinda getting old. There’s only so many ways you can twist the story before things start getting repetitive. Or dull. Or maybe I need to start reading a different genre for a change (even though I love retellings!!). Lol.
Fairy tales usually tell the story of a poor, unfortunate girl who gets the happy ending she deserves through magic. In Ash and Bramble, a different point of view is presented. What if there is something more sinister behind the scenes? What if someone is orchestrating these happy endings, and people get hurt in the process? What if people, including the heroine, get forced into roles and have to act them out, with no say in the matter? What if Cinderella’s lovable fairy godmother wasn’t as good and nice as she seemed?
Quite interesting, right? That’s what kept me reading until the end, even though there were several times I was starting to get bored or frustrated.
For one, I disliked how the two main characters used different point of views to tell their side of the story. One minute you’re with Pin, our heroine, walking through corridors and making a nuisance of herself, all while using the first person narrative. Then, just as things get interesting, you suddenly find yourself reading things in the third person, because you’ve switched to Shoe’s (the hero, duh) view of the events. It was confusing the first time, and disconcerting most of the time. And frustrating all the time, because usually whatever is happening to Shoe is boring. It didn’t add to the anticipation of finding out what happens to Pin, it just made me sigh and put the book down and find something else to do.
Another thing I didn’t like, and it’s probably just me being nitpicky, is that I just can’t accept (or imagine) Cinderella in a red dress. Not to mention the description of the dress reminds me of Katniss, the original girl on fire. X’D
At the hem is the faintest hint of ashy gray, but the rest is flowing silk the color of living flame. I burn against the shadowed walls of the dressing room. I turn and the skirt swirls with vermilion and gold and the brilliant crimson of glowing embers. The air shimmers around me as if with the heat of fire.
See what I mean?
All in all, the premise is interesting, but I found the execution lacking. The evil behind the mysterious Story wasn’t explained properly enough for me, and I don’t really like the main characters enough to continue reading this series. I thought the descriptions of things were written quite well, and there’ll probably be more about Story in the next book, but that’s not enough for me to continue, especially when I have a TBR list that’s as high as Mt. Everest. Haha.