Ashley “Ash” Prince hates using magic, but that doesn’t stop her mother from forcing lessons on her. She resists except when it helps her stepbrother, Charlie.
Charlie is sick and none of the doctors knows why. When Ash has a witch dream, she is determined to find the elusive and rare Ghost Orchid—a flower that could be the key to saving him. Her mother begs her not to go because not only did Ash’s dream reveal a way to heal her brother, it also hinted at her death. But when her brother gets worse, she refuses to sit around and let him die. In a race against time, Ash and a boy she met in a coffee shop go in search of the Ghost Orchid.
Only someone doesn’t want her to find it. Family secrets are revealed and Ash has to decide whom to trust—the mother that raised her, or the boy barely knows.
So I have to admit, I was a bit dense when it came to this particular novella. This happens from time to time, but as I read it, I couldn’t figure out how it was a reimagined version of Cinderella. This is actually a good thing, because it’s far too common for it to be overly obvious in books and I’m a bit fan of a book that can make you think.
The author has created a smart, fun and entertaining novella about a young girl, Ash who is desperate to find a cure to save her little stepbrother from death’s door. What made it hard for me to understand the exact Cinderella tie-in comes from the fact that while Ash is heroine of the story, in a way, she’s not the Cinderella character in this book. Both she and her stepbrother, Charlie fill aspects of the character, Cinderella, without either fully embodying her in an obvious way. That’s what makes it such a smart and interesting read. The fairy tale aspects of the tale are represented extremely well and I could see their influence throughout the story. But what’s best about this story is the fact there’s no glass slipper and though the ending is a happier one than the alternative, it’s not the traditional happily ever after that’s so heavily represented in these type of tales.
If I had to name something to critique, I think it would have to be the need for more detail in the story. There were a few moments, where the story line jumps ahead to the next scene and it felt like I was missing something. Had this been a full novel, the jumps wouldn’t have been so obvious and would have worked really well to keep the pacing fast and easy for the reader. But since it’s a novella, it actually had me looking backwards in case I had accidentally tapped or swiped at my reader and skipped a page. The positive side to this is that the author does make it a point to fill in the needed blanks, you just don’t get the entire picture at the same time as Ash. I suppose it’s a stylistic choice and that’s perfectly okay.
This story is not just for those who enjoy these kind of twisted fairy tales. This is the type of novella that can be enjoyed by a wide range of readers and still leaving you wanting more. So I hope you’ll give this one a chance. It’s a great start to what may be an interesting young adult series of novellas.
Reviewer’s note: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Pick up your copy on Amazon: Ash & The Prince by Katie Doyle