Book Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash CoverBook: Ash by Malinda Lo

Published September 2009 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|264 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: none

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling

What It’s About: 

Cinderella retold

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies 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.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

What I Thought:

I really liked Ash!  This is the third book I’ve read by Lo, and it’s my favorite of the 3 I’ve read.  It makes me want to read Huntress (a book, also by Lo, set in the same world as this one) even more…and I kind of wish I had read Ash before Huntress, but at least there’s re-reading, right?

Anyway, I love this re-telling of Cinderella, and there was something about the overall story that reminded me of the remake of Cinderella that came out a few months ago.  There are some differences of course- the main one being the romance, which is much more obvious in the movie.  For me, I got the sense that the relationship between Ash and Kaisa was just beginning, and it’s more towards the subtle side and I loved that in this world, no one cared, which I think is so awesome.  Ash is much more than a lesbian re-telling of Cinderella- it’s a very vivid and rich fantasy world.

It makes me wish there were another book set in this world, that’s how much I like it.  I liked Ash as a character and Sidhean was an interesting and unexpected take on the Fairy Godmother.  I liked it, though, and it fit in with this world so well.  I also liked Gwen, a servant, and she was so nice to Ash.  I feel like she and Ash would be good friends.  And I was surprised by Clara, one of Ash’s step-sisters, who seemed like she was the kinder of the two sisters.  At the very least, I think she has it in her, unlike her mother or sister.

My Rating: 

4 stars.  I liked Ash so much!  It’s one of my favorite fairy tale re-tellings, and it makes me want to read more about the original Cinderella story and how it’s different in different areas of the world.  It’s such a great re-telling of Cinderella, and I recommend it to everyone.

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