This week the random number generator picked book #89 from the list, Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West!
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.
I have absolutely zero recollection of this book. It very much sounds like my cup of tea, and the blurbs compare the style to Kristin Cashore, Robin McKinley, Garth Nix and Naomi Novik, all of whom are favourites of mine, so I can definitely see why I bought it, but other than that I have no idea where I heard about it or when I picked it up! I’m intrigued to see how the blend of fairy tales and other sources works, and I’m hopeful that it will manage to swerve the traditional YA tropes as I’m a little bit burned out on some of them – but this sounds like a unique take.
I’ve not seen anyone talking about this book, I don’t think, so I’d love to know if you’ve read it or if it’s on your TBR!