Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

Title: Ash & Bramble
Author: Sarah Prineas
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

Wow, what an interesting idea. The entire premise of Ash & Bramble is quite a creative one, with the "princess" in the fairytale actually being forced into the role by the Godmother and the entity named "Story". One of the most interesting things was how Prineas subverts the idea of the wicked witch that appears in many fairytales, and the true role the witch plays. Unfortunately the premise is where the positivity ends, with there being one too many things that took away from my enjoyment of the novel.

The first thing that made me view the book negatively was the hideous instalove. I mean, it's really the textbook definition of instalove, with the characters basically staring at each other across a room and then talking to each other once or twice before deciding they love each other, and want to run away together. Later, a second love interest is added, and although I wouldn't completely call it a love triangle, the second guy was also tending towards instalove (although for a reason this time, so I suppose that can be forgiven somewhat).

The pacing really wasn't the best either. I think this was influenced a little by the dual point of view- you'd be at an interesting part in one POV, and all the momentum would be taken away by switching to the other one. But of course, there are a lot of books with multiple POVs where this doesn't happen, so it's kind of just the writing and plot themselves as well.

The other thing- the world building? Massive holes. I don't think I understand the magic system at all, starting with: why a thimble? There's sort of the sense of "oh it's all magic, nothing need be explained", which I guess is kind of fair enough. On the other hand, I'm a huge world building reader and NEED things to be explained.

All in all, the main good thing about this book was the fantastic premise. If you can overlook crappy romance, pacing and world building, it might (a small might here) be worth reading the book just to see the interesting ways Prineas twists the original fairytales.

It was okay
Overall: 4/10
Plot: 2/5
Romance: 1/5
Writing: 3/5
World Building: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 2/5