Author: Malinda Lo
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Teen, Fantasy
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Ash is a re-telling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, except not as you’ve ever seen it before. Malinda Lo recreates the story in her own way. As a result, it barely reflects the traditional story. Aisling (nicknamed Ash) is the main character. After her mother dies, her father marries a woman with two daughters. Then Ash’s father dies and her stepmother puts her to work cleaning the house because she claims Ash’s father left her in debt, though that claim is questionable. That is where the similarities between the two stories end.
Malinda Lo creates an amazingly vivid and creative world in Ash. This is a magical place where there are fairies, though most people don’t believe in them anymore. Ash’s mother did, and therefore Ash does. She hopes that one day they will steal her away as they do in the stories she was told as a child, that they will kidnap her from the horrible life she is forced to lead.
The fact that this world was so incredible is part of the problem with Ash. This is by no means a long book. Therefore, there isn’t a lot of space to devote to the intricacies of developing a fantasy world. There is so much going on in this novel, and it’s so amazing. Yet the fact that Lo didn’t devote more time to detailing and explaining the world actually took away from the novel. It made things seem jumbled and difficult to understand at times.
The relationships in the novel are interesting. Though I had trouble sympathizing with Ash, I liked both of her love interests. Sidhean the fairy was intriguing; I would have loved to have learned more about him, and more about the fairies in general. Kaisa was also an endearing character. The fact that one of these relationships was same-sex was really unique and incredibly well-handled. In the book, it’s never an issue, which I loved. No explanation was required in this world that Malinda Lo created.
Ash was an enjoyable book that had a lot of potential. Though the story has its flaws, the re-telling is very unique and Malinda Lo is clearly a talented author. I look forward to seeing what she does next.