kingdom-of-ash-and-briarsI really enjoyed the Kingdom of Ash and Briars by new author Hannah West. Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, is kidnapped and thrown into the water off the Forest of the Western Fringe.  All who touch this water either die or come out an elicromancer with a precious and powerful crystal and magical shapeshifting powers.  Saved from her kidnappers by the only other two elicromancers in the world, Bristal must decide between using her power to serve and protect the human race, or use it to gain everything she has ever wanted.  Though this book contains elements that build on Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, I found it very original and engaging.  I recommend to readers in grade seven and up.

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