Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ashen” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.53  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small
Kindle Edition
Published September 22nd 2020
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ashen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ashen

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  45 ratings  ·  23 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ashen
Tricia Mingerink
Why did I wait so long to read this book????

One thing you can always count on when picking up a book by H.L. Burke is that it will be quirky and fun and nothing at all like what you would expect. This loose retelling of Cinderella is no different!

It is Cinderella...except that the Cinderella has a loving foster mother taking care of her. The Cinderella character also has a very good reason for huddling near the ashes...she is always cold and needs the warmth much like a cold-blooded animal woul
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Although this Cinderella retelling twists them into something quite different, it retains most of the traditional elements of the story; the girl given a nick-name due to being covered in ashes, the cruel guardian, the "ball" attended in disguise, shoes of glass and the giant lava-dwelling fire octopus. OK, so that last one isn't usually part of the story but it really ought to be (hey, what story wouldn't be improved by including a giant lava-d
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars for an imaginative world populated by memorable characters, especially the mysterious heroine Lizbete with skin the color of ash and a constant need for warmth. Burke is so good at writing stories about scrappy young female protagonists, and this one is hard to put down! It's difficult to write a review without spoilers, but if you like magic, mystery, and romance, you must read this book! It's fun to see the Cinderella tropes reimagined, but mostly it's a journey of discovery for Lizb ...more
C.O. Bonham
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-met-the-author
Ashen by H.L. Burke is a very loose take on the Cinderella story. So when you're reading, and you think you know what's coming, you are only half right. Make that one sixteenth right.

Ashen goes far beyond it's fairy-tale roots. You could strip out all of the Cinderella elements and still be left with an original and highly engaging original fantasy. In fact, I suspect that that this story may have been conceived without any thoughts of Cinderella in mind.

Ashen tells the story of Lizbete, an Orp
Christina Morley
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ashen by indie author H.L. Burke is a unique coming-of-age fantasy story about a girl who is different from the people in her town. Her skin is the color of ash and her body is never warm enough. In fact, fire doesn't hurt her; it soothes her. Is she human and does she even want to know?

There's a young man that she loves, but she avoids touching him because her touch steals body heat from others. Usually, it's a curse, but the young man's sister suffers from fevers and her touch brings the girl
Corinne Morier
Me: Ugh, Cinderella retellings are SO overdone, I don't want to see another one in my entire li--

*sees this cover*

J.M. Hackman
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this Cinderella retelling -- a little snark, a sympathetic heroine (cause it's *Cinderella*), a swoony hero, lots of tension as the heroine's town starts to fall apart. There's also a really clever addition of the "glass slipper" element -- but I'm not going to say anything else 'cause #spoilers.
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
My favorite aspect of this story wasn’t even the fantasy twist to Cinderella (although I did find it interesting). My favorite aspect was that the main romance wasn’t an instant love, but one that formed from friendship. It formed a very realistic aspect to a fictional story.
I enjoyed the gist of the story, the romance, and the twist on the original. I felt that the story overall moved kind of slow though. I found myself trying to almost read ahead from where I was actually reading to try to ma
Kendra Ardnek
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh, Elin.
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story! There were small elements of Cinderella, but I wouldn’t call this a retelling. The characters were strong and the story was truly compelling. I have to say this is one of my new favorite stories.
Crystal Grant
May 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
A Cinderella retelling with a dark, gritty edge! This book turned out better than I expected. I empathized with Lizbete and her struggle to be a part of the community she cared so much about. At times it was infuriating to watch how she suffered at the hands of the townspeople. And the climax was much bigger than I anticipated.
All in all, this was a great story. I highly recommend it!
Janice Clark
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating story, borrowing many elements of the traditional Cinderella story but with its own unique twists and turns. I found it difficult to put the book down.
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This review appears at

First off, I absolutely LOVED Liz. Her condition of heat-stealing was so unique to me and so interesting that I was drawn right in to sympathizing with her and wanting to know as much as possible about what was going on.

I also bonded a little bit with her experience of her first pair of glasses. I remember well that feeling: putting on your first ever pair of glasses and having the world suddenly snap into focus. You really can’t sto
Kim  Gregory
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a Cinderella-type story. Lizbete is an orphan, living and working in a tavern with a woman that she calls Aunt. Lizbete has a huge secret - she steals heat from people and if she gets cold, she could die. She looks different from the other people in the town and that has made her an outcast and an object of ridicule - they call her the Ash Lizard. But not Brynar, the mayor's oldest son, he's loved her since they were children together and he can't understand why Lizbete won't let him tou ...more
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Ashen’s high fantasy sets it apart
Ashen ties itself to the Cinderella legend in its marketing materials, but don’t expect this story to be either a straight-up or flipped novel of that famous fairy tale. This offering is a fantasy novel with a strong heroine at its center, a more realistic setting, and a highly creative backstory. This novel drew me in on the strength of its originality, not on the similarities to Cinderella.

Lizbete is a girl who has lived in the same town all her life but has n
Isabelle D
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having enjoyed other books by this author before (as well as the samples of several others that are waiting in my to-read or to-buy lists), I was looking forward to reading this new one and I'm happy to say it exceeded my expectations. I'm not sure I would have noticed the subtle Cinderella references (probably only the obvious one near the end) if I hadn't seen this novel presented as a retelling, but that only makes the story better in my opinion.
I greatly enjoyed following Lizbete's adventure
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a sweet read.

Ever since I read Coiled I have enjoyed H.L.Burke’s fantasy romance stories. This unique and wonderful retelling of Cinderella is now a huge favorite of mine. The different characters and twists on ‘magic’ and creatures just added so much depth. I also liked how she slipped in key elements of the Cinderella story, for example the glass slippers. Totally unique and totally worth reading.
This was a clean romance with a friends to lover troupe. Unique magic, creatures and fantasy
Michelle Bruhn
A lovely twist on the Cinderella story, where 'Cinderella' has more than an evil step family keeping her isolated, the 'prince' is more interested in finding a cure for his ill little sister than in his birthright, and deep underground a monster lurks. Cinnamon roll romance, a bit of mystery, and a whole lot of bravery—I really enjoyed it! ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a unique Cinderella retelling and world building. There were several interesting twists. It was a sweet romance and had some mystery and adventure thrown in.

Sex: none, kissing
Violence: mild
Language: none
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Good writing. A very unique world. I don’t think I have ever read about a Cinderella and a cave monster before, but I enjoyed it. Took a star away only because sometimes the main character inner monologue was happening too often.
Amelia Nichole Defield
H. L. Burke does it again! A unique fantasy world with a great plot and characters with growth. I should have read this book sooner! If you enjoyed SpiceBringer, you'll love Ashen!

I received a free copy in return for my honest opinion.
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sweet story

Very creative version of a Cinderella story. It's great that Liz had the love and care of her adoptive aunt and a couple friends. Sad that the rest of the village was not kind to her. Very sweet how everything worked out in the end.
Grace Bridges
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 02021
I really enjoyed this one. It has some great surprising twists that are not what anyone might expect from a Cinderella retelling. Yet it keeps that fairytale feel throughout. A great read!
Eileen  Copeland
rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2021
rated it liked it
Feb 23, 2021
rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2020
rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2021
Sophia Hansen
rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2021
rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2021
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Met By Midnight
  • Dust (Heirs of Neverland, #1)
  • Gone Wishing: A Steel City Genie Short Novella
  • Prince of Shadow and Ash (The Mercenary and the Mage, #1)
  • Kingdom of Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast (The Kingdom Tales #1)
  • There's No Such Thing As Monsters (Gaslamp Faeries Series #1)
  • Pipe of Wings (Dragon School #15)
  • Ascendant Light (Dragon School #20)
  • Ancient Allies (Dragon School #14)
  • Dragon Piper (Dragon School #16)
  • Dust of Death (Dragon School #17)
  • Troubled War (Dragon School #18)
  • Starie Night (Dragon School #19)
  • Bright Hopes (Dragon School #11)
  • Mark of Loyalty (Dragon School #12)
  • Cut to the Heart (The Arcane Market Adventures #1)
See similar books…
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, o

Related Articles

Summer is perfect for plenty of things: mojitos, sleeping with the window fan on, and sprawling out with a hot romance novel (in a heavily...
50 likes · 3 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »