Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy

A prince. A ball. 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.

This is so not Walt Disney's Cinderella retold.  It was so much more than that, and just...other.  This has got to be one of the most, if not the most, unique Cindrella retelling I've ever read.  I was so completely intrigued and engrossed by this telling of the story, that I had a terrible time putting it down.

Pin comes to herself in a stone fortress, remembering nothing and thinking of herself as Nothing, until she is pushed into a chair and told she is a seamstress.  From the moment she awakens to this fate, I fell in love with this character.  You knew from the very beginning that despite her circumstances, despite the fact that she is supposed to do what she is told, sit still, be a seamstress and nothing more, she is a strong character.  She's not content with her circumstances, and doesn't intend to withstand them for long.  She begins plotting her escape almost immediately, and she brings the Shoemaker into it with her.  I loved Shoe!

Shoe was a character that I also loved immediately.  He is brave, even when he doesn't want to be, honorable and selfless.  Though he is unremarkable in his place in this story, he becomes something extraordinary, all on his own.

This is a difficult review to write because giving away even the smallest thing might ruin it for anyone who hasn't read the story.  So I'll just say this.  This author did an amazing job re-imagining a much-told and much-loved tale.  It was so unique, that I was left breathless.  To see this story from a new, different, and unimaginable place was extremely interesting and entrancing.  The romance was perfect and exactly how it should be.  The writing was beautiful, at times poetic, at times suspenseful, and at times a little eerie.  I absolutely adored this book, its characters, and the new perspective.  Amazing.

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