Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.
Bristal, a sixteen-year-old kitchen maid, finds herself in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she has magic in her blood. She's descended from an ancient line of immortal sorcerers called elicromancers—a race that has all but died out in her world, but only two remain in Nissera after a bloody civil war. Bristal joins their ranks without knowing that one of them has a dark secret . . .
Tamarice is plotting a quest to overthrow the realm's nobility and take charge herself. Together, Bristal and Brack must guard the three kingdoms of Nissera against Tamarice's black elicromancy. There are princesses to protect, royal alliances to forge, and fierce monsters to battle—all with the hope of preserving peace.
With clever homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a fast-paced, exciting, and wholly original debut. The Nissera Chronicles begin here and continue with Fields of Fire, a short story set against the events of Kingdom of Ash and Briars, and Realm of Ruins, a gripping companion novel.
"One of the best books I've ever read."—C.J. Redwine, New York Times best-selling author of The Shadow Queen
"A world both terrifying and wonderful."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
Hannah West's debut novel, Kingdom of Ash and Briars, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and was named one of their Best Teen Books of the Year. Inspired by fairy tale castles and snowy winter days, Hannah began writing the book as a college junior studying abroad in France. She lives in Texas with her husband, Vince, and their rambunctious blue heeler. Visit her on Twitter @hannahwestya.
Read an Excerpt
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 the curious: here is the light and the dark of it. Here is my story.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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 become an elicromancer, "gifted beings that are destined to guide the kingdoms of men to prosperity and peace, to come to their aid when disaster or war threatens." She trains with the only two elicromancers left in the world, and shenanigans ensue. Ultimately, it becomes Bristal's responsibility to, well, you know, save the world. But really, the book is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. Betrayal, heartbreak, death, secret identities, magic, love, disguises, shape-shifting ... you name it, this book has it. It's all plotted together incredibly well, and I love how the fairy tales merged and split and the moments that they became familiar to you (like when Bristal hid away with Rosie in the forest, scenes that were all very reminiscent of the Sleeping Beauty film). I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book, and felt a kinship to Bristal throughout. I loved her relationships with the other characters in the story, and even though I've talked to a few people who didn't really ship the thing, I totally shipped the thing. It's definitely slow burn, but beyond worth it. (Just to put it out there, in some ways I was kind of reminded of another fantasy book, Fire by Kristin Cashore.) Bristal's relationships with the two girls (the matchmaker to Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, and the guardian to Sleeping Beauty's fairies) were especially fun to read, and I loved watching those plotlines come together.
But truthfully, it's more like Kingdom of Meh and More Meh. Exactly like Sleeping Beauty's face. She is not pleased. DNF at 32% Guys and gals, you don't understand how excited I was for this book. Not only did it have a ridiculously beautiful cover, it promised me a Sleeping Beauty retelling - and not just a Sleeping Beauty retelling, it also promised to take elements from other folklore and fairytale novels including Mulan. MULAN, KIDS. Mulan, Rapuzel, and Sleeping Beauty are my ultimate Disney Princesses, so imagine all the squealing I did when I discovered that two would be in this book. I stalked Amazon and Barnes and Noble every day to see if this would go down in price and what day was the actual day it would be released (there were three different days that each website would tell me and it turned out to be, like, none of them.) It was a really power in restraint not to buy it, and because I saw a few negative reviews, I finally had a stern talking to myself and decided to wait for the library. Thank gosh for that mind-conversation, though, because I ended up struggling through this no matter how pretty the cover was. I tried soooo hard with this book. I really did. I got 114 pages in, which usually my limit is two chapters in and I'm done if I'm not feeling it. However, no matter what I did, I just couldn't get into this book. It fell so flat to me. I didn't care about the plot. I didn't care about the characters. I felt nothing for the main character, and we hadn't even met the love interest yet. But seriously, how do you go 114 pages in a smaller book (like only 300 pages) and NOT meet the love interest yet? It just seemed really boring to me. What made me even more upset is there was honestly nothing really wrong with it. Hannah West has a nice writing style, and her concept was amazing. She really did flesh out the whole concept nicely, and I love anything fairytale. So far, she did a very interesting take on the Sleeping Beauty tale. But it was just boring, meh, and I just couldn't get into it, and it's a real shame. So much for one of my most excited books of 2016. Check out more of my thoughts: https://bookprincessreviews.wordpress.com/