Ash & Bramble
"A delightful deconstruction of society’s fairy tale myth, wrapped in an exquisite, spellbinding adventure. A must-read for teens who yearn to forge their very own story." —Rae Carson, author of the bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy
The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.
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.
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.
As Pin tries to fight her arranged path, she finds that a sword is a much better fit for her than a glass slipper, and that the boy who she escaped with is still searching for her, and won’t stop until he rescues her—if Pin doesn’t rescue herself first.
A young woman awakens in the Godmother's fortress and, like her fellow slaves, remembers nothing about her life from "the Before." She befriends Shoe, a shoemaker who names her Pin, since she is forced to work as a seamstress. Pin knows she doesn't belong at the fortress, and a magic thimble gives her hope that she and Shoe can escape. When their plan goes awry, Pin winds up living in the Godmother's city with no memories of the fortress, Shoe, or her feelings for him. Now she is known as Lady Penelope, aka Pen, and she feels inexplicably drawn to Prince Cornelius. Shoe helps Pen and Cor realize that the narrative force of Story itself is trying to control their fates, and the three join a group of rebels trying to stop it. All of the characters exhibit real complexity, particularly Pen, whose magical abilities help empower her to become a leader. Prineas (the Magic Thief series) handily incorporates numerous twists on fairy-tale conventions, including a fairy godmother villainess and same-sex romances for Rapunzel and the frog prince, in this feminist reimagining of the Cinderella story. Ages 13 up.
'Ash & Bramble' was a very unique twist on fairytales and retellings, themselves. The plot and the world was dark, thick, and drew you into the action. I often times felt I was trailing along right behind the characters. The one problem I had with the story was the love story development. Both love stories (Shoe and Pin's in the very beginning, and ALL of Cor and Pen's) seemed very rushed into, leaving me a little left behind in understanding the character's emotions. I did end up loving how Prineas tied up the love story, very well done. I also absolutely adored Shoe's character. He was so flawed, so human, that he made me see the beauty in simply being. Overall, I loved 'Ash & Bramble.' Definitely one of the most original, unique stories I've ever read!