YA fantasy fairytale
With her parents both gone, Ash finds herself a servant in the house of her ruthless stepmother and there seems no hope of finding happiness again.
But Ash is unaware of her mother’s legacy, and that it will lead her to a magical place. A place where love, identity and belonging are all waiting…
From the beginning, I knew that Ash was a retelling of the classical fairytale Cinderella. I was however, completely unaware of the twist that makes Malinda Lo’s Debut novel so unique. When I finally caught onto the direction the book was heading I think my initial thoughts were, ‘Oh my…’ followed by, ‘That’s different’ to just simply ‘…wow’. All I can say is that this book totally blew me away.
Beautifully written, Malinda Lo instantly captivates her readers with her lyrical prose, vivid imagery and atmospheric detail. She creates a fantastical fairy world that completely grips your imagination from page one. With exciting characters of all kinds, this book is so much more than a simple re-telling. Not only does it explore Ash’s world and life in great detail but it reveals the how, what and why behind her choices - particularly in how she deals with her unexpected attraction towards the king’s huntress.
However on that note, while I must admit that I do prefer the classic version where Cinderella falls for the Prince, I would really hate to see this novel become labelled as just ‘the lesbian version’ as this story has so much more to offer. Written in a depth of magic and back story, Malinda Lo’s ‘Ash’ explores the themes of first love, friendship and sexuality. It is also a truly an amazing tale of romance, adventure and growing up.
Therefore I thought ‘Ash’ was a stunning debut novel and I think it will appeal to any older teen or above who is willing to keep an open mind. A beautiful but slow paced read, it is the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day. Completely different to anything I’ve ever read, this is an author whose books everyone should try at least once.