Author: Malinda Lo
Published: September 2009
Source: the library
Synopsis from goodreads.com:In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.
I'm generally a fan of Cinderella retellings ( Ella Enchanted and Just Ella are at the top of my list), and this one deserves to be up there with the best of them. There a lot of traditional elements, and just as many non traditional ones. It all adds up to one great book.
I really don't want to say too much because I think that the best way to enjoy this is to discover the similarities and differences on your own. I am going to say that the Evil Stepmother is indeed evil, and sometimes I really just wanted someone to hurt her. I liked Ash. She was impulsive and reckless at times, unsure and shy in others, which balanced out nicely.
One thing that I noticed was absent from the book was character description. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, just different. I got a hair color here, an age there, maybe some height thrown in, but never the whole picture at the same time. It was interesting, and sometimes a little annoying, but most of the time it didn't really affect anything.
I really liked this book and thought that it was beautifully written. The story telling was gorgeous, as was the story. It was similar enough to Cinderella that you could see the parallels, but different enough that it was entirely its own story.
Overall: 49/50 A+
Title/Cover: 5/5 The cover is beautiful, and the title works well.
Hooked: early on.
Recommend to: Fans of fairytale retellings.