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Kingdom of Ash and Briars

(The Nissera Chronicles #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,814 ratings  ·  353 reviews
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 B ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 15th 2016 by Holiday House, Inc.
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Hannah West Hi! Kingdom of Ash and Briars is for ages 12 and up. Thank you for asking! :)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  1,814 ratings  ·  353 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook

History might be whittled down until all that remains are shining fables of fairy magic and curse-defying kisses.
This is the story of a kitchen maid, Bristal, and how she became the most important woman in all the kingdom.

Bristal finds out that she is an elicromancer - and that with that magic comes the ability to shapeshift, a responsibility to the kingdom and a healthy amount of danger.
"This lass will be nothing but a drowned corpse in a few hours."
A rogue elicromancer is threateni
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I really have no words. It just wasn’t for me 😕

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Welp! Well that was underwhelming. I have a feeling that I'm going to be in the minority on this book but this book was so boring.

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West is a mix of fairytale, contemporary mysticism, & boredom. A loose retelling of Sleeping Beauty with shades of Mulan. Without the diversity of Mulan all characters read as white. Tells the tale of Bristol an orphaned kitchen maid who discovers that she is actually one of the last of a breed of ancient magical immortal beings kn
An Advance Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes pulled from the ARC may be incorrect and may be subject to change.

Well! I wasn't expecting such a fun and adventurous read! And even though there are echoes of Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Emma and Cinderella, the story is still strong on its own. Loved the magical bits a lot and the slow burn romance was just too cute.

The writing is vivid and engaging! Right from the start I was invested in it. And I knew I was going to like it
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! Flawless world building, fascinating characters, an epic story, a swoony romance, and such a clever homage to several fairy tales. It's absolutely brilliant, and I want Hannah West's next book in my hands YESTERDAY. ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
KINGDOM OF ASH AND BRIARS is a breathtaking fantasy that draws inspiration from classic fairytales and breathes even more magic into them. I could not flip the pages fast enough and cannot wait to see what new adventure Hannah West has in store for us next!

Perfect for fans of fantasy, adventure, fairytales, strong female leads, and swoon-worthy romance.
Despite the gorgeous cover, promising beauties to come, once the cover was opened and pages were turned this whole book felt... rushed. As though the author had neatly laid out a plot and was determined to get from point A to point C at any cost, major events rushed up in a blur and years were lost in the span of a single page.

The heroine (whose name I have already forgotten) gains and masters her powers in the blink of an eye; the enemy is found and made over the same speck of time. We are told
Gray Cox
Hmmm, I don't know if I should give this three or four stars... :/ ...more
Eileen (BookCatPin)
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 beautifull
Brianna Silva
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
DNFing this almost 100 pages in. The setup is so cliché, I feel nothing for the characters, and - ick I hate being so negative - but the prose isn't creating vivid imagery in my mind, either.

Also, this is a magic-centered story, and I tend not to care for those. But that's my fault for not reading the synopsis more closely.

I skimmed through the rest of the book to see how the story plays out... and as far as I could see, it doesn't swerve in any directions that interest me. I have no regrets for
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
Read more of my reviews at!

Initial reaction:

DNF @ 55%

Fun fact: I LOVE fairytale retellings! I participate in a retelling challenge every year and actively seek them out because they're usually amazing. When I first saw Kingdom of Ash and Briars earlier this year I knew I had to have it and, when I had the opportunity to read an ARC, of course I said yes! With such an amazing lineup of tales, I expected nothing short of greatness!

Kingdom of Ash and Briars is about Bristal, a kitc
Katie Grace
Jul 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I tried, but... this book just didn't work for me. :/ ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have been ridiculously excited about KINGDOM OF ASH AND BRIARS since I first saw the cover months, so excited! And you know what? It completely lived up to that excitement and totally blew past all of my expectations! It was amazing!!! :D Gah!!!

I absolutely loved Bristal! She was such a wonderful main character, and it was a pleasure to get to see what was going on inside of her head. The story itself was magical, and just all-around wonderful! And all of the characters were freakin
Lindsey (Bring My Books)
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Really interesting way to spin and morph two really familiar fairy tales (Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty) into something new and interesting! The plot was compelling and the characters intriguing and (mostly) well drawn out - would definitely recommend this to people looking for fast paced fantasy or fairytale retellings!

The story is simple enough in theory: Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, finds out she has shape shifting powers. She also comes to realize that these powers mean she could becom
What a charming little book.

It was neat. A well thought out book coming to a tidy conclusion with no strings left flapping around.
It was creative in how she weaved Bristal into different fairy tales, making a mark on many other people's lives, while the story of Bristal's life was wholly her own.
It's strange (in my experience anyway,) to find a fantasy book that is so short and not in a series, but I think in this case it was a good idea to keep it to one book. It showed that West's eyes were
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am thoroughly impressed with this one! The plot was strong, writing was entrancing , the characters were AH-MAZING. And above all, it was a retelling that didn't read like a traditional retelling and that is something I can get behind!

Full review to come soon!!
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of retellings. I loved The Restless Girls, Circe, Uprooted and I was so sure I would love Kingdom of Ash and Briars as well. I mean.. Look at the cover! Isn’t it gorgeous?!!! ❤

Now.. My take on Kingdom of Ash and Briars is a bit complicated. I mean, the book was fast pacing, we got a strong female lead and I loved the writing style. But yet after finishing, I am not satisfied. It just feels incomplete.. I don’t know why! I just liked this book, when it had the full potential of b
Sadie Hartmann
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this advanced reading copy from a website hosting a YA book giveaway. Very exciting! It took me awhile to finish due to May being the craziest month ever for me.
This book is told in Acts. Act 1 was *amazing* I couldn't ask for anything more from a YA fantasy. Strong world building, jumped right into the action, likable protagonist, interesting magic system.
Act 2 was not as good in comparison. The author introduced two storylines that were based on Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I didn't
Whitley Birks
Aug 04, 2016 marked it as dnf
I'm just really not feeling this book. Mostly because of the villain. She's so hammy, and any attempts to make her 'grey' or give reason for her villitude are just clunky at best. Plus, carrying on about her amazing sexy looks while she's villaining is just...not my bag. The fantasy aspects and plot are nothing to write home about, and Bristal sacrifices having a personality for being an observer, so there's just really nothing holding me in this book. ...more
Loved it. RTC
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elisa The-Bookie-Monster
DNF. Sounded interesting but I just couldn’t get into it. I usually give books 100 pages but I made it 150 and I just can’t do it. Maybe I’ll revisit in the future.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. It was new and I like how there were so many references to other fairytales. :)

Review to come!
Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
You can find this review and others on my blog shades of paper

“She is clever, Bristal. But I hope you’re wise.”

It’s been a while since I finished this book and I still don’t know how I truly think about it. The thing is, I overall enjoyed a lot the story and everything, but I was in the middle of a reading slump, and sometimes I wasn’t really in the mood or was simply a bit bored, and I’m pretty sure this was one of the most important reasons why I ended up not loving this book.

May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an absolutely fantastic read. It was the perfect combination of a fairy tale retelling and a epic fantasy. It was full of magic and adventure.

I'm not sure if I would call this a fairy tale retelling but it definitely had aspects of that. It is almost a love letter to the classic fairy tales that we know and love. It pulled from so many different stories similar to Once Upon a Time or Into the Woods. It rewrites those stories in an interesting way and intertwines them in a complex and c
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sent-to-me
MY FULL REVIEW IS ON MY BLOG! Check it out at, thanks! :)

I gave this book 4 stars, because though I flashed through the whole last 2/3 of the book, it was not without its flaws. I thought the magic system was created well and the imagery associated with the magic was so vivid. I like how elicromancers can all do some sort of basic magic like materializing and healing, but have an affinity for one specific special power. The allusions made to all the diffe
May 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
I liked this book for a while, but I never really loved it. It started out okay, but chapter after chapter went by and it felt like nothing ever happened. It was all exposition and dialogue with no action or tension. I got bored.

I can't sit and read a book all the way through anymore (unless it's a REALLY intriguing book), so after putting it down and coming back later or the next day, I had forgotten a lot of what I had already read. And with this book that is a problem because there are so ma
Hannah West
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Here we go! Happy birthday, little book!
Alexandra Mack
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didn't know that this book was supposed to be a collection of fairy tale retellings until I read the synopsis again when preparing to write this review, and this basically sums up my experience with the novel. It tried to do far too many things at once, and while some story arcs went well, some were confusing and felt unfinished. 

We start with Bristal, as she finds out that she has powers. She becomes an apprentice of Tamarice and Brack, who teach her what it is to be an elicromancer. Then the
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic
*Rating* 3.5-4


"History might be whittled down until all that remains are shining fables of fairy magic and curse-defying kisses. War might go unmentioned in the polished children’s tales of the two girls with rose petal lips and hair of spun gold, the girls whom I was tasked with making queens.

The coming generations may forget that the price of the peace they will enjoy was paid in blood.

But for the historians, the truth-seekers and
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Hannah West is the author of young adult novels includingThe Nissera Chronicles and The Bitterwine Oath. She's always loved writing about magic and fairytales, but her time studying abroad in Orléans, France inspired her to finally write and publish a fantasy novel. She's a freelance writer living in Texas with her husband and their rambunctious rescue dogs. ...more

Other books in the series

The Nissera Chronicles (3 books)
  • Realm of Ruins (The Nissera Chronicles, #2)
  • Palace of Silver (The Nissera Chronicles #3)

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