Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West


Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West
Kingdom of Ash and Briars
by Hannah West
August 30, 2016
352 pages


Goodreads Summary:
Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince's band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.


 
Review

Kingdom of Ash and Briars is a must-read for fantasy fans. It is officially one of my favourite 2016 reads! The book meticulously blends fairy tales together while maintaining complete originality. What an imaginative story!

The world in Kingdom of Ash and Briars is intricate with legends and foretelling but also simple and easy to catch onto. I was surprised by the drawn-out timeline but it made perfect sense. This book had bits of various fairy tales mixed into new material. Ms. West beautifully weaves each element together to craft a compelling new story. So creative! I loved the moments where I was able to figure out which twist belonged to which fairy tale. Magic. Curses. Princesses. Soldiers. Matchmaker. I loved seeing how each was incorporated into the overall story- so refreshing and delightful because the parts came together so well.

The kingdoms lived mostly in peace until evil (re)surfaced and threatened destruction. The darkness lurking just behind the scene heightened the sense of foreboding in the story. I dreaded but needed to see what came next. Every move and decision the characters made impacted their chance of survival. The battle between humans and monsters (good vs. evil) had a likeness to The Lord of the Rings. While I loved it, it was no less miserable to witness. Oh the sacrifices... *sobs*

Bristal, our heroine, is so noble. As one of the few (three to be exact) elicromancers left in the world, she pledged herself to protecting the kingdoms. She played each of her roles admirably. I was very sad for her when the heavy chip on her shoulder jeopardized her chance at happiness. To find it but not be able to act on it. Pure torture for me. If anyone deserved to be happy, it was Bristal.

There are quite a number of characters in Kingdom of Ash and Briars and I loved each one of them. Each played a vital role in bringing out the story. Their relationships were even more crucial to tying in the twists. Rosamund, Elinor, Charles, Anthony, Nicolas, Tamarice and more- they complete the story.

With courage, danger, passion at every turn, Kingdom of Ash and Briars is one exquisite read. The creative story and brilliantly-executed fairy tale twists made Kingdom of Ash and Briars an unforgettable read.

4.5 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way.

10 comments:

  1. This sounds good! I am a big fantasy fan so I am going to have to give this a try. :D

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    1. I hope you love it! Definitely let me know :D

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  2. Oh nice! I started reading this one last week or two weeks ago, and felt a little bogged down by some of the pacing. So I set it aside and moved onto some other books. Though I don't think I'm getting rid of it completely yet. I only just got past the 50 page mark I believe, there was still so much newness going on for Bristal I was itching to get to the more fairy tale parts of it. Definitely going to try again at some point! Great review!

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    1. There was some set up for sure but it really picks up! Good that you're not putting it down permanently :)

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  3. wow, this sounds amazing! Now I really want to read it, even though my TBR is already miles long XD Wonderful review! <3 I'm so glad you loved this book.

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. I'm happy to add one more to that pile hehehe <3

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  4. This sounds fabulous - going to definitely get my hands on a copy of this! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. You're very welcome! I'd love to hear what you think :)

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  5. I don't read a lot of Fantasy, but I have this one and think I'm going to give it a definite try!! I've heard so many good things already about it, so I'm hoping I'll love it too!!

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    1. I'm really happy to hear that! Fingers crossed you'll love it.

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