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Ash Paperback – October 5, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Described as "Cinderella…with a twist," Ash is in many ways the familiar fairy tale about a girl's move from comfort to despair to true love (with a little help from fairies and magic). Standard Cinderella images set up the story: after losing her mother and later her father, Ash is treated as a servant in the home of an unkind stepmother and two unfriendly stepsisters. She has ties to the fairy world, attends the royal ball in an enchanted dress, catches the eye of the prince, and finds love by the end of the story. However, while structural similarities exist, ideologically Lo's beautiful and dark tale takes the story to a new place. It is not about Ash being found and saved by a charming prince; instead, it is about her courtship with Kaisa, the King's huntress, a relationship that burgeons over time and is based on more than just initial attraction. Despite Ash's grief, oppressive guardianship, and dangerous flirtation with the fairy Sidhean, who promises to steal her away from her sadness, the protagonist finds her own salvation and chooses to live and love in the real world and on her own terms. Ash will appeal to readers looking for GLBTQ titles, but fans of romance, fantasy, and strong female protagonists will also embrace this fine debut novel.—Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA END --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A rich and darkly moving tale I couldn't put down. Malinda Lo is an exciting and welcome new voice in YA."―Meg Cabot, bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series
"Cinderella, gorgeously reimagined, captivating and winsome. After you've fallen into the storytelling world of Malinda Lo, the truth of love will transcend the romantic ideal of fairy tales."
―Julie Anne Peters, author of Keeping You a Secret and National Book Award Finalist Luna
" This lyrically retold Cinderella tale is not just a beautifully updated fable, but an ode to the transformative power of love."―Cassandra Clare, bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments series
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Top Customer Reviews
It was a bit surprising to find out that that the author was also the narrator. I mean, most of them just don't have the skills to narrate their own book. Sadly, this wasn't an exception. She wasn't bad, but it was dull. There was one moment when I was listening to it and my husband walked into the room, stayed a bit to listen to it (as he usually does to see if it's worth listening to while he's at work) and then gave me a disgusted look before walking out and saying that he'd fall asleep if he was forced to listen to any more of it.
...so I switched to the ebook version, and it was much better.
This was a much darker version of Cinderella, using the fae in lieu of the fairy godmother as an example. Also, there is supposed to be a sort of love triangle going on.
I loved the fantasy aspect of it, but the love story fell short. I wish there was a little... more to it. Anyway, I do not recommend the audio version but the story itself was pretty good.
The biggest problem is how little interaction Aisling and Kaisa have for the vast majority of the story. I just didn’t feel much in the way of chemistry between them until near the end. Their budding friendship as the Huntress taught Ash to ride was never elaborated upon - it just sort of happened. The only time they clicked as a couple for me was at the ball, when Kaisa saw Aisling in her enchanted finery for the first time and returned her love at last. It was only at that point that the book had me well and truly enthralled. The ending is beyond worth it. The poetry, the delicateness of the dance, the sense of unstoppable doom as Ash realizes what it is that she’s traded away - and the gorgeous solution to a problem which seemed intractable. If the entire book were like the final third, there would be no problem.
It’s definitely a solid first novel and worth reading, if you can make it through the sluggish beginning. My interest is piqued enough to pick up “Huntress” at some point in the near future. I can just barely see the shadow of greatness in the author - and know that she has it in her to do better in the future.
Even though it's a retelling of Cinderella, Ash is more a coming-of-age story than a sappy romance. Torn between the memories of her dead parents and the reality of her cruel stepmother, Aisling finds her escape in the woods she loves and the dangerous fairies that live there. Until she meets Kaisa, the King's huntress, Ash lives as an abused servant by day and a bewitched victim of fairy magic by night.
Now, if this was Twilight, Aisling would fall hopelessly in love with some abusive, mystical stalker who she is "inexplicably drawn to" (I swear, that's the exact wording they use for 90% publisher copies of the YA fantasy-romance dreck pumped out today like candy). But this atmospheric and eerie plot leads to a surprising conclusion -- much different than the classic Cinderella -- but ultimately much more convincing!
The romance in Ash is less purple prose or a storm of clichés and more poignant and touching -- based on friendship, respect and freedom, not an unhealthy attraction to danger. I couldn't put this one down, and I'm glad I didn't: the ending is utterly satisfying and sweet (spoiler: oh, and gay).
As for me, I really enjoy pointing Twilight-addled preteens towards such subversive literature. There's something deliciously ironic with the fact that a healthy, lesbian relationship in teen literature is more controversial than the dozens of abusive, incomprehensible, poorly written "novels" for teens pumped out each day.
Parents: skip Twilight and buy Ash. Unless you'd rather your girls identify with useless empty female protagonists who flirt with death rather than proactive, but gay, female protagonists who find nothing sexy about killing yourself for the sake of boys who equate violence with love.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this story. I think it's a great Cinderella retelling with a lesbian romance that fits right in with the original.Read more