September 8, 2015

Ash & Bramble Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book - and don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above!

Ash & Bramble
Author: Sarah Prineas
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover; eBook


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.
Ash & Bramble is a young adult fairy tale retelling of the story of Cinderella. Retellings have been incredibly popular lately in the YA genre, and I have to admit that I'm loving this trend. We all grew up hearing the stories of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and so many others who got to marry the prince and live happily ever after. I still love these timeless tales, and I can't seem to get enough of the alternate versions authors are creating for them. This novel was definitely not an exception either.

I honestly haven't read that many of the copious amount of fairy tale retellings that are out right now - especially any that are of the Cinderella story. I like to think that because of this fact, I had a fresh outlook while reading the book and wasn't constantly comparing it - consciously or not - to any others. That being said, I absolutely loved the author's twist on this famous story. The novel is told from alternating points of view - alternating between first person and third person - which is a bold choice in my opinion. I'm a strong believer that a book's point of view can make all the difference in the world - done properly, it can make the story go from good to amazing - or it can take it from great to not so good. The fact that the author chose to do alternating points of view is a good one that many others use - it lets us see the story from different characters perspectives and creates a more rounded novel. I'm a huge fan of the first person POV, as many of you know. It creates such a personal connection between the narrator and the reader - we get to see inside of them and learn their most personal thoughts and feelings. First person POV is the only writing style that allows for this kind of deep connection between the reader and the character. For this novel, the author chooses to write part of the book in the first person - from Pin's point of view. The other parts of the story are written in third person point of view, which is an odd choice (in my opinion) - but somehow it works with the way the story is written. Since Pin is the main character in the book, it's only fitting that we would get to experience her story from her perspective. For the other parts - when being told in the third person - we're able to get a glimpse of the entire scene in front of us, which includes other character's thoughts of Pin, how they interact with one another, and other helpful insights and observations. Although I think it was a bold choice and I was unsure of how it would turn out, the author manages to pull it off with seamless effort and a natural flow.

Pin's character is a fascinating one and a great female lead for the novel. She wakes up knowing nothing of herself or her past, all she know is what is happening to her now. Because Pin doesn't remember her life before coming to the Godmother's fortress, we're able to figure out who she is right alongside of her. I loved watching Pin's character discover things about herself she didn't know previously, as well as seeing her grow and change throughout the course of the book. Pin's an enigma that gets slowly revealed a little bit at a time. She's intelligent, strong willed, determined not to let anything or anyone break her, and she doesn't stand for all of the injustices that occur at the Godmother's fortress. She knows in her heart what is right and doesn't falter to fight for what she believes in. I really enjoyed watching her realize these qualities about herself and then using them in her situation - she has been taken from somewhere (she doesn't remember the Before) and has become a seamstress for the Godmother. One of her first realizations is that she doesn't remember who she is or what her life was like in the Before - which seems to be the case with several of the other workers inside the fortress. She does know one thing - she definitely wasn't a seamstress, as she is now. She's always getting punished for speaking up for herself and others, and for asking too many questions - which only shows us more of her innate personality.

The love interest in the book is known as the Shoemaker. He's incredibly handsome, and like the others, doesn't remember his life from Before. As soon as he sees Pin, he knows that she's different - special - and that things are going to be changing at the fortress. Soon neither of them can stand being inside the fortress walls any longer, so they escape together - only to be caught once again shortly after. The Shoemaker's story is mostly told in the third person POV, except what we get to learn about him from Pin's perspective. He's just as strong and determined as she is, along with being smart and (of course) handsome. He's not afraid to fight for what he believes in and often is punished harshly inside the fortress. 

An interesting twist happens when Pin and the Shoemaker are brought back to the fortress. Pin is given a new life - complete with beautiful gowns and a handsome prince. This new life is the one of fairy tales - ones that she had heard while being a seamstress in the fortress. It's exciting, mesmerizing, and easy to get lost inside of it. Pin is torn between this wonderful new life she's been given and the hard life she was living before it - the one with the Shoemaker. She has a decision to make, and it's not going to be an easy one. In the end, Pin decides that nobody gets to choose her life for her - it's going to be her decision alone. She trades one of her beautiful glass slippers for a sword and is determined to create a destiny that she wants instead. The character of Pin was a fascinating one and a perfect lead to this twist on a legendary tale. I loved watching her mature, grow, and figure out what she wants for her life - and then going after it.

The story was very well written and had a natural flow that picked up speed as it went on. By the time Pin and the Shoemaker decide to escape the fortress - things are happening incredibly fast and I was reading as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next. I was rooting for Pin and the Shoemaker (of course) and I really wanted to see how the story would unfold. Told with vivid imagery and detailed descriptions, I could easily close my eyes and see myself in Pin's world right alongside her throughout the story. The author's writing was almost hypnotic and I was able to slip inside of the world she created from the very beginning of the book. Overall, this was a greatly imagined retelling that had me in its grips from the very start. I very highly recommend it to fans of the current fairy tale retelling trend, as well as those who enjoy fantasy, awesome heroines, and stories that will sweep you off your feet.

Hi there! I'm Sarah Prineas, author of the Magic Thief series published in the US by HarperCollins and in 17 other languages around the world, and the Winterling trilogy. I live in rural Iowa with my mad scientist husband, two kids, and two cats. My next book is called Ash & Bramble, and it's a YA. 

Here's my website: and here's my book website (with games, wallpaper, and extras!): 

Thanks for reading! 

(10) winners will receive signed hardcovers of ASH & BRAMBLE and buttons - US Only!



  1. Ash and Bramble would be delightful and a real treasure. What a talented author whose books sound unique and very special. Thanks for this lovely feature and great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. I think this sounds like a fantastic fairytale retelling. Thanks for the info and chance to win!

  3. I've been looking forward to this one! Can't wait to read it. :D

  4. Beautiful cover and I am always game for a good retelling.

  5. Love the cover. Cinderella has been a favorite of mine forever so I will be happy to read this retelling.

  6. Thank you. This looks really good. I love fairytales.

  7. Great review! I've had this on my radar for a while but it doesn't seem popular. But you convinced me to read it sooner :)