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Home » Books » Children's » Fiction » Fairy Tales & Folklore » Single Title

Ash

By Malinda Lo

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Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 February 2010
In the world of ASH, fairies are an older race of people who walk the line between life and death, reality and magic. As orphaned Ash grows up, a servant in her stepmother's home, she begans to realise that her beloved mother, Elinor, was very much in tune with these underworld folk, and that she herself has the power to see them too. Against the sheer misery of her stepmother's cruelty, greed and ambition in preparing her two charmless daughters for presentation at court, and hopefully royal or aristocratic marriage, Ash befriends one of these fairies - a mysterious, handsome man-who grants her wishes and restores hope to Ash's existence, even though she knows there will be a price to pay. But most important of all, she also meets Kaisa, a huntress employed by the king, and it is Kaisa who truly awakens Ash's desires for both love and self-respect...ASH is a fairy tale about possibility and recognizing the opportunities for change. From the deepest grief comes the chance for transformation.

Promotional Information

A sensual and evocative re-telling of Cinderella.

About the Author

Malinda Lo was born in China and moved to the United States as a child. She was the managing editor of AfterEllen.com, with over half a million readers each month. In 2006, she was awarded the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for her writing about gender, race and sexuality.

Reviews

With beautiful, lyrical writing and a main character whose strength and capacity for love fueled my hope, I look back on this book as the one that kept me going, kept me dedicated to imagining the love stories I wanted to tell. * Tess Sharpe, author of Far From You, via Guardian Online * Beautifully written... this sensual and evocative novel is a sophisticated fairy-tale for older readers. * Booktrust * A book which will have teenagers entranced. * Carousel * A fascinating novel for mature teens. * School Librarian * This beautifully-written re-interpretation takes a different approach .... Full of magic and enchantment, this sensual and evocative novel is a sophisticated fairytale for older readers, in the tradition of Robin McKinley's Beauty * Booktrust * Evocative.. original.. atmospheric. * Waterstones Books Quarterly * This extremely good debut novel combines imaginative storytelling with skilled prose * Carousel * An evocative retelling of the classic Cinderella story that will thrill the reader ... an original, atmospheric exploration of the angst that comes with teenagers establishing their identity and discovering sensuality * Books Quarterly (Waterstones) * An egaging and absorbing reworking of the Cinderella fairy tale ... lush and sensuous ... a fascinating novel for mature teens * School Librarian * Deeply atmospheric ... the ending is bittersweet and just perfectly fresh and different * My Favourite Books *

EAN: 9780340988374
ISBN: 0340988371
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Dimensions: 19.8 x 16.6 x 2 centimetres (0.22 kg)
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4 review(s)
All Reviews
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J. on
 
There's something I love about retold fairy tales. I'm not sure why- I've been rather disappointed by more than a few in the past, but I keep coming back for more. They need to be bold retellings, retellings that are incredibly vibrant and put a whole new twist on the shenanigans. Ash doesn't particularly do that, but the world building itself is quite vibrant, and the lesbian romance does score points with me.

The story itself starts slow, and it wasn't until there was a passing line about two females kissing as part of a Yule celebration that it caught my attention. I read that line a couple of times, wondering if I'd misread it, but nope, it was there. After that, my attention was raised and after a quick search around on Google, I realised that yup, this was a lesbian love story. Whoo!

At the same time, there was a rather subdued romance with a male faerie. It's a curse from Ash's mother, who cursed him to fall in love with a human girl. Too bad it was her daughter. I can't help but feel as though this subplot was hastily put in place by Lo to appease her publishes or authors. It could have been done a smidge better, in my opinion, but it could have also been taken out completely and not really messed up the storyline. When Ash returns to Sidhean to 'repay her debt', it's never said what happens. We just cut to the following morning. I think this really dragged the story down.

This is a lovely story, with beautiful imagery. One I'll be keeping for sure.
Haider on
 
In the world of ASH, fairies are an older race of people who walk the line between life and death, reality and magic. As orphaned Ash grows up, a servant in her stepmother's home, she begans to realise that her beloved mother, Elinor was very much in tune with these underworld folk, and that she herself has the power to see them too. Against the sheer misery of her stepmother's cruelty, greed and ambition in preparing her two charmless daughters for presentation at court, and hopefully Royal or aristocratic marriage, Ash befriends one of these fairies-a mysterious, handsome man-who grants her wishes and restores hope to Ash's existence, even though she knows there will be a price to pay. But most important of all, she also meets Kaisa, a huntress employed by the king, and it is Kaisa who truly awakens Ash's desires for both love and self-respect...Ash escapes a life with her grim and self-serving stepmother and finds her beloved one...ASH is a fairy tale about possibility and recognizing the opportunities for change. From the deepest grief comes the chance for transformation.

rhh65h
Heidy on
 
I finished this book last night and as soon as I did I thought "WTF?"...

Aisling "Ash" is definitely not your stereotypical Cinderella. Sure the usual things happen e.g. her mother dies when Ash is only really young, then her dad goes off and marries a complete stranger who's a really nasty piece of work, before he suddenly just dies. No real surprises there, though her father death did sound really awful & quite painful...

The two stepsisters Ana & Clara aren't particularly ugly in this story and though you might feel like strangling spoilt/bratty Ana every once in a while, you might surprise yourself by feeling a little pity for them both. With a mother like theirs pushing them towards a loveless marriage match for the sake of securing a title and fortune, you end up sympathizing them for their lot in life... though not TOO much.

Instead of a fairy godmother, there is seriously hot but distant fairy Sidhean (gives the Winter Prince Ash from Iron King a run for his money in frostiness). Sidhean, of the long white hair & blue eyes, has taken an interest in Ash's well being since she was a child and strikes up a strange/complicated friendship with her but it seems that Ash might be more than just the usual passing fancy to the ice cold fairy of legend. Striking bargains with the fey is a dangerous thing to do but is the promise of Sidhean's help worth risking everything Ash has grown to love in the human world?

Also there is Kaisa, the King's Huntress who seems like one of the boys but is also something apart... A woman who is independent, strong and commanding as well caring and gentle, who wins the admiration of Ash... and perhaps something more. Through a series of chance meetings, shared conversation and laughter, Kaisa and Ash also form a friendship. As Ash's story progresses her bond with Kaisa becomes stronger but will it be enough to save Ash from her promised fate and the lure of Fairie?

While I applaud Malinda Lo for her new twist to an old fairy tale and making Ash go where no Cinderella has gone before, I found the story lacking something more. There was no real spark, it seemed that the characters were just going through the paces and just plodding along to a conclusion which I saw coming. Also the climax was somewhat disappointingly anti-climatic... On the up-side I enjoyed the brief fairy yarns a character would tell from time to time. I always did like a dark themed fairy tale and it was enjoyable to read a couple of new ones I hadn't heard of before.

It wasn't a bad read but it wasn't an exceptionally great read either. Also, if you're not a particularly open-minded person you might want to give this book a miss.
Larissa on
 
After Aisling's mother died her father remarried, soon after her father died also. All alone in the world Aisling was left to be raised by her stepmother, a woman who insisted she work of the debts left behind by her father. So Ash, the daughter of a gentleman, was forced to become a servant to her stepmother and her two stepsisters.

If this story sounds familiar so far then it should, for Ash is a re-imagining of Cinderella. But where Cinderella is rescued by a fairy-godmother and a handsome prince, Ash is indebted to a hansom faery and has to learn to save herself. Here love takes on many forms and for Ash love is found in the woods, a special place to Ash and her true love, but who is the one she truly loves?

Ash's world is a mixture of new customs and old traditions steeped in an ancient land full of stories and enchantment. You have never heard the story of Cinderella told like this before, where a heroine must fight to save herself and to be with the one she loves, where inner strength is found through confidence, belief and love. Ash is a story full of magic and a fairytale full of fairy tales.

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