The Holy Terror's Reviews > Ash

Ash by Malinda Lo
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's review
Nov 27, 11

bookshelves: fairies, borrowed, fairy-tales, young-adult, fantasy
Recommended for: fans of fairy tales retold
Read from August 21 to 22, 2009

What starts out as a simple retelling of Cinderella turns into so much more, and the Prince is all but forgotten ...

If you know the story of Cinderella then you know most of the beginning of the book, but somewhere near the middle it starts to veer off on its own path. Ash has a fairy(godfather?) who watches over her named Sidhean (pronounced Sheen - I looked it up because it was driving me nuts!) In order to feel some sort of freedom from her stepmother and stepsisters, Ash takes every opportunity she has to escape into the Wood. She meets with Sidhean and they form a sort of friendship, but since Ash spends so much time out in the Wood she also happens upon the King's Huntress, Kaisa, a few times as well. Ash and Kaisa also develop a friendship and Ash becomes torn between two worlds and both seem forbidden to her.

I'm not sure how I feel about the way this story played out. It was written well enough and was an interesting retelling of an old tale, but I don't think I liked the way it ended. Throughout the book Ash reads and is told by various people many different fairy tales. She even remarks near the end of the book that all of the tales were meant to warn people of dangers in life and that there was always a moral to the story. I'm not sure that Ash really figured out the moral; it's almost like she realized a loophole instead.

I also felt bad for Sidhean, the Prince, and most of the men in the story as they were basically cast-off into the background. Even with Sidhean it felt like he was more of an experiment than an actual love-interest.

I've read stories with strong females before so I guess having a Huntress instead of a Hunter didn't translate to me, it sort of went over my head. I also didn't know the author was a lesbian until I read her bio on the last page, and perhaps knowing that before I read this could have clued me into the fact that this was a lesbian romance. I think that says something about Lo's ability to create believable relationships though, if I didn't even realize the two of them were supposedly falling in love.

I mostly enjoyed this novel and I'd probably read something else by her in the future. A lot of the reviews on here make me pretty sad though, especially the ones that say you shouldn't give this book to a teen to read because it's "sick," and "how dare she mess with a classic fairy-tale!" Ugh, really? The whole point of fairy-tale retellings is to make them feel new and different while still keeping some of the themes. If you want the "same old, same old" then just go read whichever "original" version is your favorite and stop reading retellings; you'll be doing everyone a favor.
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Reading Progress

08/21/2009 page 82
31.06% "Reminds me of the movie Ever After, but with fairies."
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Danette I agree. I enjoyed it right up until the end. Thanks for your review.

The Holy Terror No problem! : )

message 3: by Jan (new)

Jan I've heard great things about another book by her, The Huntress. But I'm not sure this one intrigues me enough.

And my favorite Cinderella retelling is totally the opposite, and kinda heavy on the cock&vag. And heavy on the awesomeness.

All the homophobic tinted reviews for this are really sad though.

The Holy Terror Yeah, this isn't the best book, it was kind of middling - but I didn't hate it. Her other book is actually a prequel to this one, so I'll probably check it out some time. And yes, the reviews are pretty sad. People suck.

Chechoui I was wondering how Sidhean was pronounced! Sheen...thanks.

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