Most retellings of Cinderella go like this:
Cinderella has a cruel stepmother and two jealous stepsisters who abuse her like a maid. On the day of the prince’s ball, Cinderella is prohibited from attending. When her stepmother and stepsisters leave, Cinderella’s magical Godmother gives her a ballgown and a carriage, and sends her to the ball under one condition: she has to be home by midnight. Cinderella makes a grand entrance, where the prince instantly falls in love with her. At the stroke of midnight, Cinderella runs back to her home, leaving her slipper behind. Determined to find his mysterious princess, the prince tries on the slipper on every girl in the kingdom. When he finds that Cinderella is his true princess, he declares his love for her, and they live happily ever after.
My Language Arts and English teacher allowed me to borrow Ash and Bramble by Sarah, Prineas. I was drawn to the title, being that it seemed dark and sinister. But even before I read the first page, it was the synopsis that really drew me in.
Synopsis: Sarah Prineas
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.
★★ ★ 3.4 stars
Prineas’s plot for Ash and Bramble is an unforgettable retelling of Cinderella. The thought of Story being the antagonist, and the Godmother a slave to Story, has never crossed most minds. And to think that the Witch in every princess story is the hero in disguise is amazingly creative, and Sarah Prineas deserves applause.
The pros of the book: The love triangle is NOT the main part of the story. It’s more directed at the adventure and the characters, like Pin’s cleverness and courage, and Shoe’s dedication to helping “Pen” escape Story. This a book you can finish in about a few hours (if you’re a fast reader) as well, which is a plus if you want to kill unspent time.
The cons of the book: I was very fond of the beginning of the story, and felt much sadness for all of the Godmother’s slaves. But as I kept reading the story, the pacing was extremely slow. It felt like that you could skip a good chunk of the book and still be able to know what’s going on. Why do you ask? The plot line is based on the fairy tale of Cinderella, so it’s quite similar.
Despite its many flaws, you should give Ash and Bramble a chance, if you like a little bit of adventure and a little bit of romance.
‘Till the next book review, ~M