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Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash (edition 2010)

by Malinda Lo

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1,1491457,104 (3.6)97
Authors:Malinda Lo
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Ash by Malinda Lo

  1. 20
    The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Another old story (this time, the Greek myth of Persephone) retold as a romance between two young women.
  2. 10
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Kerian)
  3. 00
    Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: Both Cinderella reimaginings with similar atmospheres, although Ash is more fairy-ish and Phoenix and Ashes is about magicians and WWI.
  4. 00
    Silver Kiss by Naomi Clark (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Deftly told fantasy narrative (in this case dealing with werewolves), in which a lesbian relationship is done right.

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» See also 97 mentions

English (144)  German (1)  All languages (145)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Oh, Ash, you were so close to being the lesbian Cinderella retelling this world deserves but the stilted, uncomfortable dialogue between Ash and Kaisa just killed it all for me. If you're writing a F/F retelling of a fairytale, I feel like the protagonist should have a touch more chemistry with her love interest. Ash had better dialogue with Sidhean by far.
( )
  glitzandshadows | Oct 12, 2015 |
"Ash" is a young-adult revision of the classic Cinderella tale with many, many differences. Aisling (known predominantly as Ash), is still reeling from the loss of her mother, when her father returns home from a trip into town announcing he is to be married. With him he brings Lady Isobel, whom has two daughters; Ana and Clara. At first, the family settles as comfortably as possible, but soon after the ceremony, Ash's father falls ill, dies a couple weeks later. The relationship changes quickly between Ash and her step-mother, where Lady Isobel requires her to work, for apparently Ash's father left her in great debt. The only comfort Aisling has is the Great Wood and her collection of fairy tales. She struggles through abuse, the loss of two parents, independence, and the confusion of love. Her happily ever after is not typical of classic fairy-tales, for she falls in love with the King's huntress, Kaisa, and not the prince. But also proves her own self-worth, not relying on anybody else to fix her problems. ( )
  candyceutter | Oct 7, 2015 |
Ash by Malinda Lo is a YA alternate retelling of Cinderella. After the death of her mother, her father leaves for the nearby city on business. Things are forever changed when he returns with a wife and two step daughters.

That's the extent of the similarities Ash's story shares with the fairytale. Ash had a healthy childhood with loving parents, and a mother who taught her self confidence and the local lore. Her mother was a witch and was aware of the faeries who inhabit the forests.

Ash watches from the sidelines as her step-mother and step-sisters burn through her inheritance and and try to rise up the ranks. It's suggested that the step-mother might be a black widow, a detail that makes her actions all the more understandable and sinister.

But what makes Ash something truly special is Lo's world building. Through the stories the king's huntress tells we learn about the kingdom, it's history, mythology, and magic. Better yet, Ash is given an alternative from the typical happily ever after ending that's tied to the perfect dress and dancing with a prince.

Ash finds love and a way to escape her oppressive home life through her friendship with the huntress. Rather than turning Ash's sexual awakening into a source of angst or melodrama, Lo gives her the confidence and brains to make this work for her. ( )
1 vote pussreboots | Sep 22, 2015 |
This is a re-telling of Cinderella where Cinderella ends up falling in love with the King's Huntress instead of the Prince. It was a good book, but I wasn't too crazy about it.
( )
  DanielleMD | Jun 20, 2015 |
With the death of her parents, Ash is left to the cruel care of her stepmother, a woman only concerned with what labour Ash can provide while she tries to groom her eldest daughter to an advantageous marriage

Ash finds what comfort she can from the old ways and fairy tales of her childhood, walking the hidden pathways of the wood where the fae reside; considering possibly abduction by fairies only to be a release from her current life

Until she meets Kasia, the king’s huntress – and is given someone else to find and a reason to keep living. But is she already in too deep with the fae? And even without them, can she, a lowly servant, be with the king’s huntress?

I wanted to like this book. I actually tried really hard to like this book. I sat down and argued with myself about this book. I tried to talk myself into liking this book. I desperately tried to convince myself I liked my book. I even tried lying to myself and insisted I liked this book

But I didn’t

The problem is I have trouble putting my finger on exactly why I didn’t enjoy it.

The writing of the book is elaborate and very thematic. It feels like an old fashioned fairy tale, it has the same sense of time and place and setting, the same slight surreal elements. And previous books I have praised for a similar attempt when done well. But a voice at the back of my head does counter that it’s kind of long winded and overly ornate

The book is also a very slow burn, it takes a long time to set the theme, to let us get to know the world and Ash’s circumstances and how she got to where she was. We saw her history

It was deep and nuanced and meaningful and really built Ash as a character. And boring, yes, sorry, kinda boring. There’s comes a point when a character can poignantly visit her mother’s grave in the woods in the middle of the night when you kind of want to just stamp “mummy issues” and press the fast forward button. And, yes, again I do cringe because I can pull back and say how well it was done, how well chosen the writing, how much this did fully bring to life Ash’s grief and loss and her despair without her having to be melodramatic. Little things like the favourite stories she had being of people who got lost in the land of the fairies never to return – because to her, with nothing to live for, they felt like happy endings. It was wonderfully poignant without having to get truly melodramatically monologue-y about it all; her pain was clear and powerful without ever having to hit us over the head of with it.

But it’s soooo long. I found it work and I hate that I did and I tried to love it and desperately resisted the urge to skim – but soooo looong. Sooooo very looong. Perhaps, in part, it’s the media about this book. It’s always been described as a lesbian Cinderella story and the parallels with Ash are very clear very early in the books. But that kind of leaves you in relatively little doubt as to where the story is going to end. It’s more a case of being curious as to exactly how it gets to the ending we know is coming. So when we spend a long time telling the preamble parts of the story which are pretty much parallel to the classic fairy tale it feels like we’re not only spending a long time on these parts – but we’re spending a long time on these parts that we’ve already read several times as well.

On another personal taste element, I was immensely frustrated by all of this magical faerie world being touched upon and none of it explored in any great depth. And I understand that because this is Ash’s story and the mechanics of magic are not really high on her priority list – but personally I want more to explore there.

The major point to make is, of course, that this oh-so-classic straight romantic fairytale is now recast between two women. Ash’s ultimate love is the Huntress Kaisa and even more than her touching with the fae, this is the relationship that defines and, ultimately, saves Ash. Even her delving deeper into faerieland happens first because of her despair but ultimately because she was definitely seeking for the tools she needed to continue to be with Kaisa

As a background, the book also makes it clear that relationships between women are not unknown or shocking in this setting as well with multiple small examples of female lovers. I also really liked that we had a love interest who wasn’t an arsehole and a romance that wasn’t beset with trope laden misunderstandings or” I need to push you away because I love you!” or any other terrible trope nonsense that makes me cringe so often

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | May 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Malinda Lo’s somber and lovely “Ash” is a lesbian retelling of “Cinderella”... It features a beautiful orphan — Ash, short for Aisling, and a perfect play on the name “Cinderella” — a ­cruel, social-climbing stepmother and two sneering stepsisters. Lo gives us a vaguely medieval setting, royal hunts, grand balls and an unquestioned class hierarchy. Not until the introduction of Kaisa, the king’s gorgeous young huntress, do we get a spin on tradition.
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In memory of my grandmother,

Ruth Earnshaw Lo

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Aisling's mother died at midsummer.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From Barnes and Nobel

SynopsisIn 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.
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In this variation on the Cinderella story, Ash grows up believing in the fairy realm that the king and his philosophers have sought to suppress, until one day she must choose between a handsome fairy cursed to love her and the King's Huntress whom she loves.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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