Published by HarperTeen on September 15th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Retelling, Young Adult
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When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…
The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.
Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.
Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.
Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.
**** Any quotations used are subject to change by final print – this review is based on the ARC ****
I think I need to let go of the fact that there’s a retelling out there I could love.
Ash & Bramble is a Cinderella retelling and the best thing I can say about it is that is worlds better than Cinder was for me. I’m not rating this high (it’s just ok for me) but I think if you’re someone that enjoys retellings, and likes a dark twist to them, you will probably love this book.
The story is told through two perspectives, and Pen’s is first person present tense which is my favorite, but then the other perspective changes to third person present tense, and it’s not done all that terribly, but it wasn’t my favorite way to read a story.
This book is about the wicked Godmother and the Story that controls more than a city’s worth of people. It starts out nice and dark (I have some quotes to follow) and I was so hopeful that this would be The One for me, but alas, the girl was meant to be some hardcore badass and I just found her tiring.
Looming over us is a fortress dark as a storm cloud; a clock set in its tallest square tower watches grimly over all. Around the courtyard is a high, bramble-covered wall. In the middle is a wooden post with chains and manacles hanging from it.
Maybe it is safer in this gray fortress to hide your essential self deep within, where no one else can see it.
Not quite enough food, not nearly enough sleep, a little exercise, and punishments now and then to keep us from getting too dull.
We cannot live long, I think, in service to the Godmother.
YES, GIVE ME MOAR! I love darkness in stories, they’re so much harder to pull off and are so much more intense than bubblegum filler – which has a time and place and can be just as satisfying, but typically I’m after dark and painful.
I’m totally normal, I swear.
There are feminist messages in here but I was never fully behind them – they were a bit too forced for me. Our main girl, Pen, makes it plain – over and over and over – that she will be the master of her own life and won’t be thrust into a relationship against her will. This is a message I would totally get behind if I didn’t find her so annoying more often than not.
I’m going to get into the things that brought me down so DO NOT READ them if you don’t want to be spoiled. I’ll keep it as vague as I can, but if you read it don’t get pissed at me if it gives something away – you’ve been warned.
These are in no particular order. (view spoiler)
Jeez, I have a long list of things that got on my nerves or didn’t make sense to me. I’m (hopefully) coming out of a wicked slump that’s lasted pretty much the entire year so far – ugh, and this book was readable enough for me to finish it, which is great.
I do think it’s a much better version for a retelling than the one I’d read in the past (cue my hate of Cinder) and I’m confident that it will be a hit for those that enjoy books like this. It’s clever, it’s different, it offers action, adventure, love, conflict, and at its heart it’s about being able to choose your own path.
As for me? I’m giving up on retellings.