Eva Mitnick's Reviews > Ash

Ash by Malinda Lo
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Mar 09, 10

bookshelves: fantasy, ya
Read in February, 2010

What I liked about Ash was, above all, the love between Ash and Kaisa. Lesbian relationships are incredibly rare in fantasy, even for adults, although gay love between men is relatively common (I'm thinking Sherwood Smith's Inda books, as one example). Ash and Kaisa's love feels both inevitable and absolutely right, and far superior to a magical life spent with chilly, translucent fairy folk. Kaisa is brave, competent, dresses in warm and comfortable clothes, and won't wear a mask at a masked ball; no wonder Ash falls in love. This is a lovely romance that will take any reader's breath away.

I was a wee bit disappointed with Ash, however. It could be blamed on my reading while in bed with the flu, but I think it has more to do with a rather standard plot and a serviceable yet far uninspired writing style. Yes, this is a riff on the classic Cinderella story, but that is no excuse to use cliches, such as the stepmother's face darkening with anger or Sidhean's skin being pale as snow. There is a stiffness to the writing that kept me from being immersed entirely in the plot. Many of the characters are similarly stiff; in particular, the stepmother and stepsisters never become three-dimensional people but remain fairy-tale types, and are thus uninteresting.
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