Ash by Malinda Lo
Publication Date/Version: September 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Age Group: 15 and up
Pushed into indentured servitude for her stepmother in the City to pay off her father's debts, Ash is consumed with grief. She misses her family and her happy life at the edge of the Wood where old magic used to linger in the air like fairy breath. Her only joy comes from the brief, stolen walks in the woods with the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean. Ash's single, unspoken hope is that someday he might steal her away, as fairies are said to do.
But on the day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, from Kaisa she learns the art of the hunt, how to ride and track. Their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, but it grows and changes, and with it, Ash reawakens her capacity for love - and her desire to live.
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.
I received Ash by Malinda Lo from ReaderViews for review.
Ash starts out strong and never fades. The beginning is intriguing and I was instantly drawn in by the old fairy magic and tales. Each fairy story really added something to the book, and they helped to create a feeling of magic. The setting was gorgeous and added a lot to the storyline. The atmosphere overall was lovely, and seemed like the perfect setting for unusual happenings.
Although a retelling of Cinderella, Ash strayed far enough away from the original plot line that it didn't feel like a complete copy with only new names and places. This story truly developed into something unique; I rarely remembered that this was a retelling. Ash was a good character, and I enjoyed learning about her mother and father. It was enjoyable to read about her step family's exquisite lifestyle, even though I was always hoping that neither of her stepsisters would find a husband. Kaisa was an interesting character, and I wished we could have learned more about her. It would have been really great if a few chapters had been told from Kaisa's point of view so we could get an idea of how she felt about all of the happenings.
Sidhean, unfortunately, didn't do much for me. It was a though we were told he was handsome and had a romantic relationship with Ash, but I myself never really saw it. I didn't feel much of a connection between the two and was somewhat disappointed.
Malinda Lo has created a wonderfully lyrical piece of literature, and she is sure to gain many new followers. I look forward to reading more of her work.
Overall: Ash was composed of beautiful prose, and an even better setting.
My Advice: Definitely pick up a copy at your local book store. This is a book you'll want to have on hand so you can reread it again and again.
Cover: The cover is interesting. It doesn't quite do it for me, however. I like the title font and color, but all of the black is too dull for my tastes. Maybe a finished copy would be prettier...