Ash, by Malinda Lo
“With her heart hammering in her throat, Ash asked, ‘Will you do me the honor of dancing with me?’”
What if Cinderella fell in love with a fairy and drifted away from life? Trying to escape from her evil stepmother in this retold Cinderella story, the main character, Ash, just wants to see her mother again. But seeing her mother means never seeing the earth again, and Ash is faced with a life-changing choice. Because there’s no coming back from the fairy world.
Ash, by Malinda Lo, is a story of growing up, finding yourself, and making a choice, between fairy tales and true love. Between a dark and dangerous fairy, and life. This book is about a young girl growing up through sadness and misery, and how at night she dreams of another world. Ash is fantasy, perfect for fairy tale lovers, or anyone who wants a fresh look at the Cinderella story.
The book reads like a fairytale, modern yet classic. Ash isn’t a life changing book, and parts are slow, but the writing is always lyrical and detailed. In Ash, love doesn’t solve all problems. It’s Ash herself who must make decisions, and find the answers.
This story is beautifully told, with fairies and huntresses. There is a love triangle, but for Ash it’s more of a choice of how she wants to live her life (or if she wants to live it at all) then a cliché.
There are a lot of other Cinderella retellings, and Ash may not be the best. Ella Enchanted is funnier than Ash, and Cinder is more action packed. But Ash is authentic, and feels real. The characters leap off the page, and Ash ties in original elements while still retaining what makes Cinderella Cinderella.
The romance was amazing, well written and not fluffy at all. This book was the opposite of cheesy. I admit I only read it for the LGBT fantasy, but the way Ash is written is proselike, and the very definition of a fairy tale. Plus the huntress is way better than Prince Charming.
Rating: 4/5, one of the better fantasy books I’ve read.
Pros: Awesome huntress; smart, brave heroine, well written, unique retelling with brilliant touches, a bi character. Also Ash’s relationship with Sidhean builds well
Cons: A little slow in the middle, sad parent death
If you liked: Cinder, Of Fire and Stars, Magonia, Adaptation