I...liked it? Actually, I did like it a fair bit. I guess I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't like it even more.
The good stuff:
- The writing is quite beautiful. I felt like I could get lost just in Lo's descriptions of the forest. I loved the city and the castle and how it was painted for me in my head. I just really enjoyed the setting, all around.
- I liked Ash. She has character and backbone, while remaining (for the most part) classy. She has more depth than a lot of teen protagonists, but it's fairly subtle.
- I don't particularly care if the main couple is M/F, M/M, F/F, or something else), but sometimes I just get really TIRED that 99% of all mainstream media is heterosexual, and this applies to both A) the lack of any gay main couples, and B) the fact that Man and Woman can never be "just friends". In media, if they're the main characters, they MUST BE TOGETHER. They are DESTINED to fall in love and fuck and probably have BABIEEEZZZZZ. No platonic friendships for YOU. And it just gets very tiring after a while. So this is a nice find, and packaged in pretty, fairy-talesy writing, too.
The not-so-good stuff:
- Being a retelling of Cinderella, there was the mean ole stepmother, which was fine, but the fairy-elf dude as the fairy godmother, which was also a part of the "conflict" part of the book, felt really forced. Sidhean, dude, you're really not that important in the grand scheme of things, stop pretending like you're going to muck things up. All in all, the "fantasy" part felt more like padding than anything. I thought Stepmom alone was more than sufficient as the conflict.
- Kaisa is kind of boring. I guess in fairy tales, it's okay to have a mysterious prince...ss type character for the heroine to fall in love with at the end, since not all characters in fairy tales really need to be all that well-rounded, but since this is a novel on top of being a fairy tale, some more substance for Kaisa would've definitely been a plus.
Finally, I really wish Goodreads had some sort of....bigotry filter for reviews. When reading reviews here, I pretty much only read the one-star reviews, since I find those to be the most interesting and most helpful (even if it's a book I like) and really don't care about the five-stars, because, "I loved this book!" isn't particularly brain-stimulating. (Nothing wrong with 5-star reviews, mind you.)
The problem with books like Ash, of course, is that the average rating is definitely lower than it should be, because of the slew of "OMFG, GAYS? In MY teenage fiction? ONE STAR!" reviews, which are utterly..."uninsightful" isn't a word? Well, it should be, because that's what they are. There are no commentaries on readers' problems with the narrative, or character development, or anything actual dealing with literary devices in the one-stars, it's all "GAY! ONE STAR!"
Though, seriously, the reviews that essentially say "I read through the whole book and finally at the very end, I was all, 'WTF, they're Lesbians? Where were all the neon warning signs so that I could've remained safe?!"
Seriously? Seeeeeeriously? I thought it was fairly obvious what it was going for just by reading the excerpt on the back cover of the book. Change all of Kaisa's "she"s to "he"s, and just about anyone would assume that the book is a romance focusing on Ash and "that Kaisa guy".(less)
**spoiler alert** I read this once quite a while ago and recently found it again, so I decided to give it a whirl.
While it was actually a pretty fun,...more**spoiler alert** I read this once quite a while ago and recently found it again, so I decided to give it a whirl.
While it was actually a pretty fun, short read, I have issues with the ending. It's extremely rushed and feels like a cop-out. The vampire spends a lot of the book reeking of rot and being mushroom-colored and overall feeling like, well, something of an evil adversary, but Althea is suddenly able to make short work of him in a couple of very quick pages at the very end, making his whole role feel unsatisfying. And despite spending so much time inside of Althea's head, seeing how inadequate she always felt, how much she loved popularity, how she justified to herself her making sacrifices of her schoolmates, the follow-up to banishing the vampire felt equally unsatisfying. Oh, she eventually moves on (and away)? That's it? Yeah, okay. What a quick, painless, and boring way to wrap everything up. I wanted to see more of what happened to her; did she finally think giving it all up was worth it? Did she regret it? What?