Ash - Malinda Lo

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Pages: 291
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publication Date: 3/4/2010
Rating: ****
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. (Goodreads)

Ash is a retelling of Cinderella with a twist - or two. Aisling, or Ash, is left orphaned and in the care of her not so fabulous stepmother and stuck up stepsisters. She tries to keep the warm memories of her childhood and parents alive through the fairy tales she grew up learning and reading. She keeps hopeful that one day a fairy will come and whisk her away from the miserable life she is in.

I really liked that even though it is a retelling of the classic, it is still unique and there are aspects of it that are definitely different. I love how Ms. Lo creates a beautiful fairy world and weaves the tales in and out along with Ash's own story. It was so easy for me to get lost in the world's that were created - Ash's world and the fairy world. I also like how in this story, there wasn't a predictable 'Prince Charming' to come riding in and save the day for Ash. Instead, the unexpected happens and Ash falls for the King's Huntress, while at the same time having a complex and mysterious relationship with the fairy, Sidhean.

The way Ms. Lo tells the story is beautiful and quite easy to get lost in, as I did. Ash felt like a mix of historical fiction, romance, and a fairy tale and I loved it! It was also full of emotion and mystery to boot. I would recommend this and I don't think you would be disappointed.

The only complaint I have is the ending. I wouldn't say it ended abruptly, but there is something about it I can't quite put my finger on. However, it didn't stop me from enjoying the story or feeling satisfied at the end.


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