Title: A Curse Of Ash And Iron
Author: Christine Norris
Publication Date: May 21, 2015
I received a copy of the book from YA Bound Book Tours for an honest review.
Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.
When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn’t believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.
Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.
First of all I want to say that Curiosity Quills Press’ (the publisher) book covers are always so gorgeous!
I am a lover of steampunk fantasy but a steampunk fairytale retelling was something which sounded really different and intriguing and I just had to read it! I’m so glad that I was not disappointed or misled by the synopsis, the book delivered on its premise and more.
This mix of historical fiction with the steampunk world and magical elements centered around a Cinderella retelling. The main character , Ellie’s life has changed for the worst since her stepmother came into her life after the untimely death of her mom. When her dad’s health also start to deteriorate, Ellie soon suspects there is a curse involved and sets about to break it along with the help of her newly re-united friend, Ben.
I loved that we got to see and experience through both Ellie and Ben’s eyes the events taking place. I love Ben’s character, his absolute creative genius and his eagerness to help out Ellie even though he doesn’t really believe in magic.
Ellie is strong willed and I like that she goes all out to save her dad even at the risk of being captured or worst! She is not afraid to get here hands dirty and she is level headed enough to take advice even though it might go against what she normally would believe. I found her to be a very convincing Cinderella (with a twist, of course).
So, the characters were interesting, quirky and far from boring. I cared about them and wanted to get to know them. The pacing was slow in some parts but the story itself was interesting and engaging enough to offset that in my opinion. I found myself really rooting for Ellie and hoping all would turn out ok.
Overall, a fairly good retelling and the steampunk and magical elements , though subtle, elevated it to one with its own unique twist.
Lovers of steampunk fantasies and fairytale retellings should definitely check this out!