Ash by Malinda Lo
About the Book
Definitely take a look at this for a map of Ash's world, blog posts, and more. Interviews and Reviews
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.
Every re-telling of faerie tales really has me looking at the stories in a different way, and I love how authors have created worlds and make the story their own. This is a stunning retelling of Cinderella that really makes me wish I bought the book rather than reading the ARC I snagged at Comic Con in 2009.
I really liked the world that Ash lives in where there is a struggle between the old ways of the greenwitch and the science of doctors, the existance of fairies and the reality of her situation. Ash lives in between these two worlds and seems to find a balance to give her the strength to survive. This pushed me forward to keep reading, captivated by her choices and reasons behind them.
The books starts out with the death of her mother, and we go along with some of the original elements of the story with the wicked stepmother and stepsisters. The item that helps her with her grief is a book of fairy tales that her father gives her. She begins frequent walks around the The Wood to visit her mother's grave and Ash finds herself caught up in her own tale, her treasured book almost as a guide at times. After the loss of her father, she is left alone with this makeshift family that treats her like anything but a member of it. Her situation is grave, and so she loses herself in stories and escapes outside so her heart can survive.
The book is split up into two parts, The Fairy and The Huntress. Ash is caught up in not only two worlds, but two possible romances. One is more of an obligation of a wish, but the other is a promise of finding her true self. They both add to the escapism that she needs to keep living, but the balance between the two is tricky and causes her more dilemmas with some of her choices and indecision. I rooted for Ash throughout the story and I knew that I didn't want her to come out of her situation as a prize on someone's arm, but able to give herself as one should.
Malinda Lo's writing is lush and magical, a perfect fit for such a story. It really transported me into a fantastical place and sometimes I had a sense that I could lose myself in her writing as Ash lost herself in the The Wood, the home of the fairies.
4 Stars-- Really liked it!