Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Sarah Prineas
Fairy tales don’t just happen, they are made. The Godmother’s fortress houses hundreds of slaves to create whatever she needs to complete the perfect story: dresses, candles, gingerbread, even glass slippers. With no memories, the slaves serve day in and day out. But a seamstress, Pin, begins to wonder about her life before the fortress and endless hours of stitching. With the help of Shoe, the shoemaker, she escapes the fortress. But the Godmother tracks her down, erases her memories again, and forces Pin into a fairy tale of her own. While the Godmother promises a happy ending, Pin knows there is no happiness in an ending she didn’t choose. With the help of Shoe, her own Prince Charming, and several other rebels, Pin is able to defeat the Godmother and allow everyone to create their own happily ever afters.
Ash and Bramble is an inspired retelling of Cinderella. The story also alludes to several different fairy tales. The reimagining of classic characters like the Fairy Godmother and the Wicked Witch is refreshing and interesting. The narrative switches back and forth between Pin’s first person narration and Shoe’s third person perspective, which can be jarring. While the characters are based on solid ideas, they tend to be described in a one-dimensional way. The new ideas in the story are brilliant but aren’t explored as much as they could be. The story is often interesting but not engaging. Overall it was an enjoyable read, but fairly forgettable.
*Contains mild violence.