Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Release Date: August 11, 2009
Number of Pages: 264
How I Got It: Free Hardcover at ALAN Workshop
Author's Website: www.malindalo.com
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.
I had heard this title quite a bit and was looking forward to reading it once I got it. This book has lyrical writing creating a fantasy world retelling of the Cinderella story. I enjoy reading retellings of Cinderella stories, the classic little-girl fantasy, and this one took it in a completely different direction. The story just flows with gorgeous detail and a real struggle between two worlds for Ash. I was pulled into the story because of the writing and the main character from the beginning, as I compared it to what I expected of a retelling. Following Ash's journey, and the two options she had to choose between, created a dynamic that kept me reading. I thought the LGBT aspect of the story was beautifully and subtly done. It was honest and true and realistic. When I heard Malinda Lo speak, she said that in the world she created it was completely accepted as a part of their society because it wasn't anything people thought twice about. That's why it's not made to be a big deal in the book. I felt bad for Ash for her circumstances in the beginning, but appreciated when she got out there and started making her own choices. Lo's lyrical fantasy world is calming and beautiful.
3.5 STARS for ASH
I also got an ARC of the prequel Huntress, releasing on April 5, 2011, and am looking forward to revisiting this world when I read that one.