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Review: Ash & Bramble (Prineas)

Don’t you hate it when you are sure a book is just about to get good–it just has to!–if only you read a few more chapters? If only you can get past this one boring part? So you keep reading, night after night, even though you fall asleep after only two paragraphs every single time? Even though you’ve only managed to read 92 pages in two weeks?

AUTHOR: Sarah Prineas
SERIES: none
PUBLICATION DATE: September 15, 2015
ISBN: 9780062337948
PAGES: 464
SOURCE: Edelweiss
GENRE: retelling (Cinderella and others)
SETTING: Godmother’s Fortress; Godmother’s City

SUMMARY: Her memory wiped, Pin wakes up in the Godmother’s Fortress. She’s a seamstress, destined to sew gowns for The Godmother’s princesses for all eternity. She’s a prisoner, and escape will be difficult. But she has a magical thimble. And she meets a boy, a shoemaker named Shoe. Together, Pin and Shoe attempt escape. Captured, Pin is thrust into a new life: that of a girl living as a servant to her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. A girl destined to meet a handsome prince and fall in love. But Pin doesn’t want that. She wants to live her own life, one that includes her shoemaker.

REVIEW: I abandoned this book during Part 2, but I did so reluctantly. The story is unique and intriguing. But it was so. incredibly. slow. Part I is 70 pages, but it felt like 700. There’s only so much going on at the Godmother’s Fortress. There’s only so much that happens during Pin and Shoe’s escape. So finally, I reached Part 2. The Cinderella story begins–yay! Except it drags along, too. And around page 100 (I have a rule that I have to get to p. 100 before I abandon), I am really, really skeptical as to whether I can finish this book.

I got as far as p. 126. Really, this should be so much better. I’m kind of sad I couldn’t make it. The story is really different and has to get better at some point; I’m just sure it must. But I don’t have any more patience. Maybe if Part 1 were 30 pages instead of 70. If Part 2 kicked into gear before it had also lumbered along for 50 more pages. I think I could have really liked this book. But I just can’t spend any more time on it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: My advice? Read the blurb and start with Part 2. I’m sure this book must get better–it’s such a cool premise. My journey ended on p. 126.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I have no plans to get it unless my students specifically request it.

READALIKES: Crewel (Albin)


  • Overall: did not finish
  • Creativity: 5/5–so unique!
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Engrossing: did not finish–took way too long to get going
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 3/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 1/5–first 126 pages should have been no more than maybe 50 pages

CONTENT: (only to p. 126)

  • Language: none (I searched the ebook; there is no profanity at all in the book)
  • Sexuality: mild kissing
  • Violence: moderate; woman attempts escape from Godmother’s Forest and is torn apart by thorns
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

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