Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash is a retelling of Cinderella. After her father’s unexpected death, Ash is at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Because of her father’s debts, her stepmother puts her to work as housemaid. Her only joy comes from rereading the fairy tales that her mother once told her of. In her dreams, someday the faeries will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

Then one day she meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, and her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing faerie tales, Ash and Kaisa form a friendship. They continually find excuses to see one another and eventually Kaisa teaches Ash to hunt. Though their friendship is delicate, it reawakens in Ash feelings that have long been dormant.... her capacity to love-and her desire to live. But when Sidhean claims Ash for his own, she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

My first impression of this book was woah... Ash is in love with another woman!?! But after my initial shock (I tend to not read book descriptions and just jump right in - my fault really) wore off, I was sucked into a world that was very unique and refreshing.

Now I must confess, there were some things I really didn’t enjoy about this story. For one, I was confused about Sidhean’s role in all this... I mean yes, I was thinking faerie godmother, pretty dress, ball... and yea, it did have to do with that, but he was obviously much more than that since he coveted Ash for himself. Then there was Ash’s relationship with Kaisa. I enjoyed how it slowly grew into more than just a friendship. My only complaint with it was that at no point did you truly feel Ash’s need for either Kaisa or Sidhean. I had mixed emotions about them (and maybe that’s what Ms. Lo was going for) I’m not sure, but I felt just as confused as Ash did. Not to mention, the stepmother, the prince, the stepsisters and all... it was just a bit overwhelming for me.

With that said, my favorite parts were Ash’s retelling of the folk faerie tales. I loved reading them and to me these were the most vivid and colorful parts of the book. Ms. Lo has a knack for details - I basically felt as if I were traipsing through the forest after midnight. The descriptions were so detailed that you could almost feel the grass at your feet and the dew in the air... it was lovely really. I also have to give it major kudos for its uniqueness.

All in all, although not a favorite, I would still recommend this to anyone who likes a new version of this classic fairytale.


Tales of Whimsy said...

Best review I have read of this book yet.

Veens said...

I actually like the sound of this one!

Beth F said...

Nicely balanced review. I will likely read this, just not soon (too many other things in the queue!)

Jessica said...

Great review! I've seen this cover around but this is the first I've stopped to read a review of this book. I'm undecided about this one, but it does sound unique!

Michelle said...

You and I are on the same page with this book. I'd not really known so much about what the true plot was so I was thrown off by the lesbianism. Not in a bad way, just wasn't expecting it in a Cinderella retelling. Like you, I thought the fairy portion was the most vivid part of the story and would have liked to have seen more of that.

In the end it was a so so read for me mainly because there was just so much going on.

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I'm a sucker for any re-telling of classic fairy tales... I'll give it a shot! Thanks for the review though, I wouldn't have expected Cinderella to fall for a girl either so it's nice that it won't be a shock now.

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