Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kingdom of Ash and Briars (The Nissera Chronicles)” as Want to Read:
Kingdom of Ash and Briars (The Nissera Chronicles)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Kingdom of Ash and Briars (The Nissera Chronicles #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  702 Ratings  ·  174 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.
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Kingdom of Ash and Briars, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Hannah West Hi! Kingdom of Ash and Briars is for ages 12 and up. Thank you for asking! :)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
This is a YA retelling of ''The Sleeping Beauty''.

It’s an okay story. I liked the heroine, the writing, the fast-pacing.

But did I actually enjoy the retelling factor? Not quite. To be honest, I had no idea prior to starting this book that it would be a retelling. Obviously, my mind must have been elsewhere because the title is a gigantic clue.

It’s not that great of a retelling, if that’s what you’re looking for. Bristal, the heroine, is Rosie’s – Sleeping Beauty’s – protector. And that was origi
Cait • A Page with a View
Bristal starts out the story as a poor orphan, but then discovers she's one of the ancient, immortal elicromancers and can shapeshift. Throughout the course of the story she becomes a fairy godmother to both the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty characters and helps them get their princes/the end of their traditional storyline. Bristal shifts into a guy's appearance and joins the soldiers of Prince Anthony, which is where the Mulan story comes in. (I loved how there were so many princes in this sto ...more
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 being
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
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.
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.
Arielle Walker
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... :/
Claire Legrand
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. A pitch-perfect fantasy for fans of Sabriel, Graceling, and The Hero and the Crown. More thoughts to come.
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
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
Katie Grace
Jul 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I tried, but... this book just didn't work for me. :/
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
rebecca ɤ
Mar 23, 2016 marked it as to-read
this sounds so good omg i need to keep my eye on this
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-release, bea-16
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!!
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 b
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
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
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.
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.

I’ve been eye
Rating: 3.5/5

I had prepared a review yesterday in my mind and now I've forgotten it, but I think the gist of it was I found the story surprisingly enjoyable, particularly after a clunky start. The set up was a bit contrived and I was strongly against it, so much so that I wanted to DNF, but the temptation of the romance was too much and I'm really glad I stuck with it because the writing and story became smoother as the author settled into the fairy tales.

I am happy for the most part regarding t
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!
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
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
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This was not my cup of tea. I thought it was okay. It was fast paced and I liked the interesting twist, but I feel as if it didn't quite live up to it's concept. It was a good idea and a fun read that my daughter did enjoy, but I just could not get into it. There were a few confusing parts and it lacked in a few others. I liked that this was a different retelling, but it just wasn't for me.
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather (The Sassy Book Geek)
Originally Posted On The Sassy Book Geek

**** Huge thank you to Holiday House for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

Let me just say….wow I did not expect to love this book as much as I did! It’s magical, wonderful, amazing, and an all around fantastic debut novel! “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” is definitely one of my favorite reads in 2016 too because it is PERFECT for any fan of fantasy (which I am) and it blends four fairy tales together seamlessly and therefore is perfec
Cassie C
Nov 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Review to come!

Update 12/21/16:

See more reviews on my blog Novels and Necklaces

Kingdom of Ash and Briars is an interesting retelling of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and even a bit of Mulan, and will appeal to many readers. As a whole, the story is fast-paced and an exciting adventure. The characters are intriguing and you have this urge to read more to learn about the characters and see where the story is going. There were some things that I found just okay about the book, but it was fun read fi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Vassa in the Night
  • Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)
  • Fate of Flames (Effigies, #1)
  • Iron Cast
  • The Queen of Blood  (The Queens of Renthia, #1)
  • The Wooden Prince (Out of Abaton #1)
  • Spindle (A Thousand Nights, #2)
  • Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1)
  • Hunted
  • Poison's Kiss (Poison's Kiss, #1)
  • The Graces (The Graces, #1)
  • Reign the Earth (The Elementae, #1)
  • The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)
  • Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge
  • The Dragon's Price (Transference, #1)
  • Bound by Blood and Sand (Bound by Blood and Sand #1)
  • Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)
  • Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)
Hannah West is the author of Kingdom of Ash and Briars and its companion, Realm of Ruins. 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 and vegetarian living in Texas with her husband and their rambunctious blue heeler.
More about Hannah West

Other books in the series

The Nissera Chronicles (2 books)
  • Realm of Ruins (The Nissera Chronicles)

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Gold-Son
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Trail of Dead (Scarlett Bernard, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Regulars
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Childhood's End
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Mirror
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates)
    $5.67 $2.99
  • Raven's Peak (World on Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Swords and Deviltry (Lankhmar, 1)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dracula [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Thickety: A Path Begins
    $6.24 $1.99
  • Stinger
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost Voices
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Extracted (Extracted Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Haven (Rain Wild Chronicles, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Isle of Blood and Stone
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Spirit Hunters
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Haven (War of the Princes, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Brilliance (Brilliance Saga, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Act Two (Cirque des Immortels, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Better World (Brilliance Saga, #2)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Written in Fire (Brilliance Saga, #3)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Final Act (Cirque des Immortels, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Secret of the Sirens (The Companions Quartet, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Siren
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ocean of Storms
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (Shannara, #1-3)
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Artful
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Chains of Command (Frontlines, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Angles of Attack (Frontlines, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Lines of Departure (Frontlines, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga #2)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Into the Dim
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Kull: Exile of Atlantis
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Fury (Blur Trilogy #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Gears of War  Aspho Fields
    $11.99 $1.99
  • City
    $7.99 $1.99
  • You Suck (A Love Story, #2)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Chocolate Touch
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Storm (Elemental, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mama Day
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Infinite
    $5.99 $2.49
  • Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Mermaid's Sister
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Space Between Heartbeats (Betwixt #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Boundary Born (Boundary Magic, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Kissed by Darkness (Sunwalker Saga, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Marked (Supernatural Prison, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Blood Kissed (Lizzie Grace, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Celia and the Fairies
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Best Served Cold (First Law World, #4)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Last One
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Genesis
    $11.99 $1.99
  • To Honor You Call Us (Man of War, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hunter's Trail (Scarlett Bernard, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Wool: The Graphic Novel
    $7.99 $2.99
  • And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Ticker
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard (Barsk, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Concealed (Lakewood, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99