Ash by Malinda LoWednesday, December 22, 2010
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: March 4th, 2010
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, re-reading 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 and romantic, Ash is an empowering retelling of Cinderella about choosing life and love over solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.
This book was definitely not your everyday fairy tale. Yes, there's a "Cinderella" (of sorts) and there's faeries (but not the kind you'd expect); the Prince needs a princess, the stepsister's are haughty, and the stepmother is dreadful, but Ash has her own way out; the King's Huntress.
In this indescribable twist of Cinderella comes Aisling (Ash), the orphaned daughter of a merchant and a greenwitch. She can tolerate her wicked stepmother and haughty stepsisters, so long as she can continue to sneak out to her mother's grave. It is only there that she can see the faerie Sidhean, and only he can grant her desires to escape for an hour or a night, to see Kaisa, the King's Huntress. As Ash grows to depend on her outings with Kaisa, Sidhean finds himself falling in love over the border between worlds.
Though I originally started this book a while ago, I got deterred by schoolwork and the like. It was only until I recently read reviews of the story claiming it to be an "eerie, yet fascinating retelling" of the well-known fable harboring "unforeseen twists in plot". I started reading it again. As Gina can contest to, I complained about the book... a lot. It was difficult to tell the plot at some points, and in others, I had no idea what was going on, but hey, look, a new character! The story itself was pretty good, but it was hard to get into it with all the back story and random flashbacks.
Writing Style: 4