Title: Ash & Bramble
Author: Sarah Prineas
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
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 like 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 might just be the most surprising book that I've read in 2015. As many of you might have discerned, I very much judge books by their covers. I almost didn't read Ash & Bramble because there is just so much awful about it. I'm not a fan of white covers, and everything going on... Just. No.
I've found myself getting slightly weary of fairy tale retellings, but Ash & Bramble is done is such a way that it is satisfactory and leaves me not minding more if it comes along. All of the characters are likable, and the story is just different enough from others that I've read that I don't mind going on the journey with Pin and Shoe. The secondary characters are just as good, and there honestly wasn't much to not like about the book.
Pin, the female lead, has a sassy, spunky personality and knows that she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. When she was trapped in the Godmother's fortress, she did not look for rescue and devised her own escape. As she was trying to put it all into motion, she comes in touch with Shoe, who she decides to drag along for the ride. There was no instant falling in love with the two of them, and neither are looking for a Happily Ever After. The prince, Cor, comes along later in the story (he's important, but not a POV), and he does want a HEA with Pin. But have no worries - Ash & Bramble's love triangle isn't annoying. Pin mostly just refuses to participate, and Shoe just wants her to be safe and happy.
There are quite a few secondary characters that really need their own stories. I've become a huge fan of stand-alones, but Ash & Bramble could definitely use a few spin-offs. I would love to see the Huntsman, Dulcet, and other storybreakers each in their own books. I mean, Ash & Bramble wrapped up nicely, but it wouldn't be like getting blood from a turnip to churn out some more adventures in that world.
The only thing I didn't like about Ash & Bramble is how it seemed forced at times when it came to Pin being independent and able to save herself or choose whoever she wanted. I mean, I can get that the first time without it being so repeatative. I will admit that there are people that have to be beaten over the head with that idea, but I think it coming up in almost every chapter was a bit excessive.
If you're like me and a sucker for fairy tale retellings, Ash & Bramble is not an old and tired spin. I enjoyed my time in reading it, and again, I hope Prineas has more in store for us.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.