Published by HarperTeen on September 15, 2015
Genres: Classic Retelling, Fantasy & Magic, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
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.
~ I don’t normally quote from arcs, but this book had me from page one. And it was this quote that reeled me in and made me sit cross-legged on the floor, waiting for the teacher to read me a fairytale:
Your stories make the fire burn brighter; your stories push back the darkness.
Swoon. It reminded me of the instalove I had with The Night Circus, which is the book bible upon which I swear, so you know I’m serious.
~ I am a huge fan of fairytales, and often like retellings. But I can be picky, especially if nothing new is done with them. This book surprised and delighted me, even if it shows the dark underbelly of the sweatshop like atmosphere that fuels the Godmother’s magic (bippity, boppity, my ass!).
~ We meet main character Pin (although she is nameless when first we meet), waking up, naked and without memory. She is put to work as a seamstress, making those lovely, flawless gowns that Cinderella just loves to wear to the ball.
~ I thought it would be hard to connect to a character who has no memory (this is sometimes a problem, as some authors equate memory loss with loss of any real personality), but our Pin has some quirks. She’s got this troublemaker streak, and a flirty streak, and a huge kickass streak.
~ Pin is pretty bad ass, from the beginning. She manages to get people to help her, from scared but enchanted Shoemaker, to the awesome Jacks of All Trades, Pin can really rally the troops.
~ But escape is only part of the story, because it becomes clear that Pin, now Penelope, is a threat to the Godmother, and to all free-willed individuals.
~ Instead of trying to get rid of Pin by making her a servant, the Godmother instead casts Pin as the lead in her very own Cinderella tale, complete with a handsome Prince. But while her head may have forgotten Shoemaker and Godmother’s indentured servants, her heart certainly hasn’t.
~ There were so many little moments that made me happy while reading this book- lots of little fairytale lore sprinkled throughout, plus a twist on other familiar fairytales, and the fact that Pin was so freaking capable. I loved that, she was the bad ass leader, not waiting for the Shoemaker or the Prince to save her, she saved pretty much everyone.
~ I also loved that Shoemaker was completely okay with, and loved, that Pin was so strong. Even the Prince admired that. What a nice change!
~ Usually, this would be where I would point out the flaw in the story… but honestly, I loved it all!
Pin- more than just a seamstress!
Shoemaker- a handsome young man, who has no memories before coming to work for Godmother.
Godmother/ Lady Faye- working hard (and quite evilly) to make Story magic happen.
Overseer- a snakelike lady who watches over the Seamstresses.
Marya- another young seamstress, tries to escape before Pin.
The Jacks of All Trade- a bunch of awesome men who make all the other things necessary for Godmother’s magic.
Huntsman- the Queen’s main tracker. Jip and Jess are the dog-man creatures that assist him.
Stepmama- Stepmother to Penelope, mother to:
Dulcet- stepsister with a lovely voice and
Precious- quite the talented stylist.
Anna- maid to Lady Penelope.
Naffers and Missus Naffers- kooky shoemakers (reminded me a wee bit of Miracle Max and his wife).
Spanner- cheeky tavern boy, flirts with Shoe, and has an ear to the ground.
Prince Cornelius- velvety voiced and quite attached to Lady Penelope. Goes by Cor, because seriously, Cornelius is a terrible name.
Templeton- a badassed warrior woman.
Zel- Templeton’s silent lady, who is an escaped Rapunzel.
Spinner- bad assed Spinster, in charge of spinning straw into gold.
Too many to choose from! The opening of the book was pure magic, but I think one of my favorite scenes was the one in which Shoe decided that it didn’t matter if Pin remembered him, or loved him, but that helping her was the only thing that mattered.
Stop the Clock:
Ash & Bramble is definitely going on my all time favorite reads of 2015 list! I loved the characters, the voice of the novel, and was impressed by the author’s twist on fairytales. I can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend this too, and I’ll be pre-ordering and gifting this one to my nieces, because they should read about characters like Pin.
Ash & Bramble gets a Midnight Book rating of: