Recently I found myself stumbling upon the book Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas. Having read the description, I was instantly in love, thinking “this is right up my alley!” Then I started to read. Right up my alley… maybe three years ago. The dark, twisting tale of the Fairy Godmother actually being evil has so much potential. Sadly, that was all this book had.
This book would’ve made a great trilogy; when the author tried to cram all of the information into one book, the result was confusing, to say the least. There were nearly no character arcs, nor was there any development for the main character Penelope (or Pin). She’s there, and she exists. She doesn’t really seem affected by all of the crazy stuff happening around her, in a character building, personality altering way. The first good 100 pages, we barely know Pin or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress in the first place. It really makes it hard to relate to her and like her if we don’t know anything about her.
I think that overall if there were a prequel to this book, we would’ve gotten a better idea of the world in which the characters live. If we knew Pin, the whole memory loss thing had the potential to bring lots of feels. I know I would’ve cried if my favorite character just lost all her memories, that is if I actually knew enough about her first to care. (I have cried when my favorite character lost their memories—in the Legend trilogy. Marie Lu really knows how to bring the waterworks, but that’s a story for a different review.)
Onto the fact of the instant love triangle. I mean, come on! She knows Shoe for a whole of two days and suddenly he’s in love with her? And can we take a moment to acknowledge that for a good ¾ of the book his name is Shoe, and then, out of nowhere, the author just decides to sometimes call him Owen… so now we’ve got two completely different names for the same person! I understand he doesn’t have a name—whatever. But if I suddenly don’t remember my name, Shoe would be the last thing on my mind, considering it’s not an actual name. Besides his name, though, I’ll have to say that Shoe was the reason I finished the book. His character is the easiest to come to know and love. I’ll even admit I felt a little worried for him towards the end.
Another thing that infuriates me is that Pin (Pen, whoever!) did not even try to bring back her memories. The author brushes off the idea of Pin knowing her past and her mom (all things that would help us understand the book better) seemingly just because she’s too lazy to make it up. I’m not sure, but I do know there was not enough explanation of who Pin’s mother was and why she was important. I like where she was coming from with the idea of the story, but honestly, I was just confused. Was the Fairy Godmother the real antagonist or was it the story? Also, why was the Godmother serving the story? All Pin used was a thimble to destroy the story. A thimble which the godmother had an almost exact replica of…
Although I have found some major issues in this book (in my opinion), this is a good book if lack of detail and explanation doesn’t bug you. Maybe kids ages 10-13 will find it appealing. I’m not sure why it was classified as young adult. I rate it two out of five stars.