Published by HarperTeen on September 15, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, retelling, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
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.
Ash & Bramble is the perfect embodiment of everything I love about fairy tale retellings. It is a wildly imaginative take on not only the classic story of cinderella, but also on the fairy tale world in general. I love the dark atmosphere, and all of the moving parts to Ash & Bramble. There is a whole lot going on, but they all fit together in such a fascinating way. The reader is given just enough information to be tantalizingly confused. Not overwhelmingly so, just enough to make you want to get to the next page a little bit faster. And as with all of my favorite retellings, there is a wonderful mixture of classic fairy tale elements put into a wonderfully imagined world, and spun around and mixed up to show the authors creative take on it all.
I loved the main character Pin. I love how inquisitive, brave and independent she was. And I love that her bravery and spunk inspired Shoe to be braver. That is the kind of main character I love to see in stories. Her spirit was infectious, which I think is what scared the Godmother so much. (not that she would ever admit that.) There is a bit of a love triangle, for reasons that become very evident in the course of the story, but it didn’t feel like a traditional love triangle to me. (and no I can’t tell you why, because that would be a spoiler, just know it makes sense with the story and if you are not a big fan of love triangles, I do hope you will brave this one because I think you will like it.) Pin and Shoe are great, and I loved that the story was toldin phases; some of which they are together and some separate.
Ash & Bramble drops you into a pretty bleak world, where no one has any memories of their past, or their “before”. They are given a role and that is that. No questioning, no opposing their place. Insert Pin, who loves to ask Why and you have an issue. I am sure that there are some spoilery reviews out there for this one, and I can see why- it would certainly be easy to spoil. Especially since so many of my favorite things are spoilers, so I am going to try and keep this one short and sweet. Your takeaway should be this: If you you like Fairy Tale re-telling, Ash & Bramble is a must read for you. I so hope there will be another book. It is not completely clear from the ending if there will be, but I think there is so much more that can be done with Story. And I want so much more. I am totally in love with the idea of this world that Sarah has created. Ash & Bramble is one retelling that you do not want to miss.