Ash by Malinda Lo (September 1st 2009—Little Brown)
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Summary: “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.”
Review: Holy cow, Ash completely blew my mind. I went in not expecting anything and came out stunned, pleased, and wanting more.
The entire storyline is indeed a spin-off of Cinderella with some minor twist, Kaisa being the largest. The fairy godmother was Sidhean where each gift required a trade and Prince Charming opted out for the King’s huntress Kaisa. Minor twists that creates a whole new tale.
For the most matter I was sucked in to Ash’s life, her mother’s death, her father’s death, the cruelty of her stepmother, and her good fortune of Sidhean and Kaisa. Ash was a strong character as well as Kaisa. Readers can emphasize to Ash through the pain and misery just they did to Cinderella.
We come to read of her mother’s life prior to that of Ash’s birth—the curse that she struck. Complete surprise! Throughout the book I was confused on how he played a role in the book, where he came from, why he stuck so closely to Ash, so when the entire thing blossomed out I was a bit surprised. It was slightly odd though to me because you fell for the mother but ended up with the daughter which reminds me of Blue Bloods series. It just kind of grosses me out a tad.
I also would have liked to see the scene where Ash pays her dues to Sidhean. What was required? What had happened? The ending as well could have lead to a sequel—a possibility in the making perhaps?
Overall: Not really that much focused on the lesbian part, Ash could have been bisexual it seems. Still amazing based solely on the storyline.
I love the concept behind the cover. The rich purple of the title as well as the dark green of the grass. I would have liked to less green hues on the girl though, it just forces her to blend in with the background.
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