What role would you want to play in your favorite fairy tales?
Is it the brave hero who saves the day?
Is it the princess who learns to save herself?
Is it the fairy godmother who grants your every desire?
Is it the redeemable villain?
Or the lovable sidekick?
What if you could be whoever you wanted to be?
Bristal from Kingdom of Ash and Briars gets to do exactly that because she happens to be a shape shifter!
If given the chance to choose your own role who would you play?
Hannah West is here today to talk more about this, but first lets take a look at her book!
Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West
Published by HOLIDAY HOUSE Incorporated on August 30th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, General, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Buy the Book • Goodreads
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 Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince's band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.
Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.
I think there’s a little bit of every role in all of us. Part of me adores princessy things and loves to imagine what it would be like to live in a palace and wear intricate dresses. Another part of me would rather be tough and sensible and not bother with the frills. With certain friends I’m the sarcastic comedian. With others I feel like a sage old fairy godmother. We contradict ourselves and contain multitudes!
What fascinates me about Bristal’s ability to shapeshift and work behind the scenes is that she gets to explore so many roles: the soldier, the sidekick, the sultry courtier, the kind fairy. I began writing this story before I had really grown up and gotten a good sense of who I was, and maybe that’s why Bristal has a hard time figuring that out too in the midst of wearing disguise after disguise.
But as for my part, deep down I’ve always most wanted to be the hero. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is my favorite story of all time, and I remember watching Aragorn calmly waiting for battle and wondering if I could ever be that valiant. And as much as I love the love triangle in The Hunger Games, what stuck with me most about those books was Katniss’ selflessness and bravery. In fact, when I’m tempted to cry and really don’t want to, I literally ask myself what Katniss would do. The tears just go away!
The stories that affect me most seem to be about people who are not already heros but have to grow into the role and be refined by fire. Content little hobbits traversing Middle Earth, a quiet young woman finding the courage to speak up, children unlearning selfish ways and learning to stand for something they believe in instead. It may sound nerdy but that’s what I want for my own life story – to be a hero in the making, however long it takes.
But I’m not above wishing for some magical fairy powers. I think that’s why exploring the story of the fairy godmother in the context of her being the heroine was so fun. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have been redefined time and time again, but no one seemed to be asking “who is she? What does she do with her miraculous powers besides bestow glass slippers on oppressed beauties or hide a cursed princess from an evil enchantress?”
I definitely experienced some wish fulfillment while writing this story. I got to step inside several of these archetypal fairy tale roles with just one narrator!
So, what role would you choose?
Make sure to head over to Dark Faerie Tales Corn Maze today with Zoraida Cordova, author of Labyrinth Lost!