Genres: YA; Fairy-tale retelling
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
"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. "
Despite the amazing premise (An evil Godmother? Fairy Tale characters can't control their fate? Um, yes!) Ash & Bramble ultimately fell flat for me.
Part of that had to do with the main characters, Pin and Shoe. No, those are not their real names. Yes, that is what they go by for the majority of the novel. Pin, the Seamstress, and Shoe, the Shoemaker (Clever, right?) are imprisoned in the Godmother's fortress with no memories of their prior lives. At first I thought I would LOVE these characters. But it didn't take long for me to realize something was off. The story is told by both Pin and Shoe, but their points of view didn't feel like they could be reconciled with each other. Pin was portrayed differently when Shoe narrated and vice versa, and it wasn't just because they had differing views of themselves. To add to that, their roles were completely reversed about a quarter into the book. Pin went from daring to boring and Shoe went from being a coward to Mr. Important-Person-Who-Saves-The-Day.
The transition made no sense, and there was almost zero character development in between.
But I digress.
What really bothered me were the insane levels of INSTA-LOVE. Now, this is a Cinderella retelling after all...
NEVERTHELESS. I was disappointed.
Basically, even though the characters are fighting against what's been predestined for them, I never felt that Pin was deciding her own fate. She felt an inexplicable draw toward the prince she was fated to be with. That's what this story is about--fighting that destiny--but then she also felt this weird draw towards Shoe, whom she didn't even know. But of course, he wasn't who she was destined to be with, so he must be the one she should be with. I don't even know if I'm making sense anymore, but the point is this: their relationship didn't make sense.
The story was slow to get started and did lag in places but, despite my tendency to DNF books, Ash & Bramble did keep me reading. It wasn't a bad novel; it was such a unique attempt. I loved the writing by itself, and the idea that drove the story, but in the end I just wasn't captivated.
Content: I don't remember any swearing. There is kissing. Violence is minimal, as I recall, but the story is a tad dark.
Have you read Ash & Bramble? What did you think? What's your opinion on Insta-love?