Book Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

AshPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: September 1 2009
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Page count: 264

My rating:

5 of 5 hearts

When Ash’s mother, full of fairy tales and knowledge of the old ways, dies, her father remarries a woman who brings two horrendous daughters to the household. Well, Ash is a Cinderella retelling, so that bit should be obvious. But this is a Cinderella retelling with lesbians and actual fairies. It’s so cool.

While Ash is different to your average Cinderella story, I would say that it’s inspired by the story, not an actual retelling as such. There’s a lot of liberty in the story – the Prince hardly figures in it at all. The love story is not between Ash and the Prince, but between Ash and the fairy Sidhean, who has claimed Ash as his own, and the King’s Huntress (for the title is always inherited by a female – no explanation why, which I appreciate: it’s just always been that way). It’s a rare love triangle – a f/f/m one. There’s absolutely no prejudice in this world against gay lovers, which is refreshing.

The writing was decent and clean but there was something about the amazing world – where, in the past, fairies freely dwelt among humans, but now the magic is dying and the time of the fairies is coming to an end – that pulled me in. I wanted more of the world, more of the magic, and even more of the generously retold in-world fairy tales designed to warn mortals of the perils of fairies.

That being said, Ash was particularly awesome at being wary of fairies, and questioned her pull to them all the time. I understood her compulsion to go with Sidhean – it was an escape from her life as a servant to someone who wanted her to having nothing – out of nothing but malice and spite. It was fairly predictable what would happen in the end. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

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About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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