Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review #14 Ash

By Malinda Lo
Publication date: September 1, 2009

My review:

Ash has always loved hearing fairy tales and after her mother's death and father's remarriage the fairy tales are what help her through the tough times. When her dad dies suddenly, Ash is forced to work as a servant for her cruel stepmother and stepsisters since her father left so much debt behind. Ash is miserable with missing her mother and father and longing for her old home until she meets Sidhean, a powerful fairy who is taken with her, and Kaisa, the King's Huntress. Sidhean represents everything Ash used to long for as she read her fairy tales but her relationship with Kaisa becomes more real to her. Now she must make a difficult choice between the real world and the fairy tale.

Ash is a retelling of Cinderella with a twist. The elements of the original are there with the cruel stepmother and stepsisters but Ash goes beyond that to examine what happens when someone relies too much on the fairy tale/fantasy. There are fairytales sprinkled throughout the narrative but these are not the sanitized Disney-type fairytales. They are somewhat dark tales used by parents to teach children about living safely and wisely. For Ash, these tales have always represented a connection with her mother and it is only after she meets Sidhean and other fairies that she realizes the truth behind the stories. The love that grows between Kaisa and Ash and the intense connection between Ash and Sidhean are at the heart of the novel. Both relationships help Ash as she grieves the loss of her parents and deals with the new reality of being a servant.

The novel is beautifully written. I loved the use of fairytales. It reminded me a lot of Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt, one of my favorite YA novels. The scenes with the fairies were fantastically creepy and the world in which Ash lives is well drawn. I liked the character of Ash and I could connect with her. Unfortunately I could not connect with Kaisa or Sidhean very well and had trouble buying into the romance aspects of the novel. I was a little disappointed by the way the novel ended also. I felt it was abrupt. There were some story threads that I had hoped to see tied up. However I still enjoyed Ash and I hope to see more novels from Malinda Lo. She is definitely a YA author to watch.


  1. Sounds really interesting. I have watched a lot of movie re-makes of books (Clueless and Emma, Truth About Cats and Dogs and Cyrano de bergerac for example) but never really read many books like that, I should give it a go

  2. I haven't heard of this book. I like the use of fairy tales as well. We have a lot of the same interests--Austen, Tudors, historical fiction, YA, etc, so this book sounds like something I'd like, too! Great review!

  3. Great review, different from my first thoughts when I saw this in Teaser Tuesday.

  4. I always love retellings of fairy tales, and I'm intrigued by the twist that this one takes. Thanks for the great review!


Reading Extensively is now an award free blog. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment. I enjoy receiving feedback! Due to increase in spam, I've enabled comment moderation. Sorry for any inconvenience!