Review: Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

Ash & Bramble
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.

Oh my gosh, I can't stop thinking about this book. Not because it was flawless and the best book I've ever read - that's not true - but because it takes fairytale retellings and turns them on their head in a way reminiscent of Cinder, just without the sci-fi. In Ash & Bramble, the fairytale is the dark force our protagonist is running from - the story that has been decided for her, and that makes for a fantastic read.

I nearly gave up on Ash & Bramble near the beginning. The start was brilliant and had me hooked, but the run away sequence and Pin waking up as Penelope slowed the pace down and I nearly gave up at that point. I pushed through though, because I so desperately wanted to love this book and thankfully Prineas didn't let me down. The pace doesn't pick up massively until later in the book, but the storyline itself built up so I was interested again, then I was hooked again, then I had to go to sleep because I was at work at 6am and couldn't stop thinking about this book until I got home. It was brilliant - it just crept up on me.

Now I'm not saying that the book was perfect, flawless  or any of those things. It was lacking in some areas and there were some things which I didn't find necessary. The love triangle? I get why it was there, but it seemed not needed. I knew what the only outcome could be. Also things that annoyed me throughout the book, like why didn't Pin just restore her own memories instead of being torn between Cor and Shoe, that would have resolved the situation pretty quickly. I also feel like the end felt a little rushed which I didn't appreciate after all the time waiting for action to happen.

That being said, Ash & Bramble was still a brilliant book, and I am so torn because I don't know what to rate it. I'm going middle of the range. This was an engaging, interesting, gripping read which had it's flaws but still stands out to me as a book in the YA-fantasy-fairytale subgenre. If you like books that turn a genre on it's head, read this. It's great.

Book released 15th September 2015 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

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