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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
There's something about fairy tales that always feel magical. No matter the story, no matter the characters, there is something about them that just makes you feel the magic inside them. ASH makes you feel every bit of that magic, and more.

Just about everyone, everyone female at least, over the age of 13 or so has heard and/or seen the story of Cinderella...
Published on 6 Nov 2009 by TeensReadToo

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A retelling that seemed to drown in rich detail
I love retellings of fairy tales. I love fairy tales. So, why did I not love ASH more? Well, as the reviewer Tash has said before me, I found the story to be a little bit "blah" for me. Although in one way the book is beautiful, on the other hand it also left me cold. There is no doubt that Lo can write; she is able to set a scene very well by giving us lots of detail...
Published on 1 Aug 2010 by Brida

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1.0 out of 5 stars Ash, 9 April 2012
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
Many book's just don't turn out how you imagined them originally in your head and you suffer from the "it sounded good on the back of the book" syndrome not that these books are bad but sometimes they just aren't what you wanted out of the book. I thought that about Ash. I found it hard to keep focus on and I kept getting bored while reading it but I continued reading anyway. I actually bought this book mainly because the front cover looks really pretty and the blurb on the back cover made it sound like a really good book. It sounded a bit like a remake of Cinderella.

I like reading fairy tales and fantasy books. Fairies are the main bit in Ash but that makes thing's different - Ash's 'fairy godmother' is a male fairy called Sidhean and he grants her wishes but for a price - The other thing different is who Ash falls for. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who wants to read it but Ash doesn't fall for the Prince, she falls for a woman.

Ash starts of slowly but you get to meet Ask and her father who are grieving over the death of her mother, like in all Cinderella stories her father remarries. Ash's step-mother and two step-sisters are also like the Cinderella stories. After Ash's father dies Ash becomes a servant to her step-family. The only thing that keeps her happy is reading an old book about fairy tales. Ash meets Sidhean, while she is walking in the forest Sidhean is a fairy from the forest. Ash and Sidhean they form a friendship. Sidhean grants Ash wishes which help her escape life of a servant for a few hours. Ash's step-mother is obsessed with getting her two daughter's married to wealthy men. Then Ash meets the Huntress Kaisa.

I liked the twist on my favourite fairy tale, but i think because I love the original Cinderella so much this is why I didn't enjoy Ash very much.
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4.0 out of 5 stars BelleBooks, 6 Jan 2012
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
Ash is a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale with a bit of a twist.

I think Ash is one of those books that you will either love of hate, personally I loved it!
There is the eerie feeling you get when reading it that you knows what is going to happen - I mean come in it's Cinderella, everyone knows that story right?

Wrong! While the book is a retelling of Cinderella and has the same basic plot to it there are a lot of differences. Malinda Lo has used the story of Cinderella as her background story but the real story starts the minute we are introduced to our leading lady Ash.

Ash has grown up listening to fairy tales and she isn't entirely sure if she believes fairies are real or not. Until one night she meets one in the woods. After that she keeps seeking out the fairies and eventually is claimed as one of their own. In the meantime however Ash also meets the King's Huntress who teaches her how to ride a horse and invites Ash to join in with the royal hunt.
Ash is conflicted as she knows she is bound to her fairy, but is also falling in love with the King's Huntress. She needs to make a choice and face the consequences.

For me it took a while to get into Ash, I don't really know why that is but after a few chapters I was hooked!
I know there are a lot of mixed reviews on this book, but like I said I think it's one your either love or hate.
I loved the writing style in this book, it was beautiful and very descriptive, I almost felt like I had been sucked through the pages and was right in the book along with the characters.

I really loved reading about the Cinderella side of the book, even though the basic plot is one I know, I loved how there where little subtle differences in this book.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and now want to read Malinda Lo's Huntress next!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet But Not Deep, 17 Oct 2011
This review is from: Ash (Kindle Edition)
First book of the Huntress trilogy, it is set in a world where magic has faded to nothing but rituals and fairy tales. The story follows the coming-of-age of a girl called Aisling (nicknamed Ash for no given reason) and is pretty much the retelling of the Cinderella story.

I heard about this book when I was on the hunt for some homosexual erotica. This book isn't that, it isn't porn. It's most defiantly a YA book. I'm not a huge fan of teen lit, as I like dark and gritty, but something to do with this book just begged me to pick it up and read it. No, it wasn't the lesbians. How dare you, I'm not that shallow. Why are you scoffing? I can have other reasons for reading books other than the gay. I mean, for one, there's the pretty covers and... um... the.... ah...

Oh fine, yes. I bought it because of lesbians. I've had it for a few months, wafting its tempting lesbianism at me but I resisted because I usually find lesbian lit to be rather grating and low quality. I just assumed it wouldn't be any good. I finally broke because - well, my recent reads have had so few positive views of women in them, I was feeling rather stifled.

It began on a very weak note. The author not only uses clichés but rather frustratingly says things in a pointlessly embroidered manner. Some might find it charming and old-world, but to me it was just a waste of lesbians time. I want to read something more, not just the night was both shadowy and dark. It's night, your readership ought to know what that means.

Happily this word-abuse fades and we get to follow Ash through her life. It is a somewhat miserable one, as you'd expect from a Cinderella retelling, but she isn't meek about it, which is what I had been fearing. I'm very pleased the author gave her some fight.

The book doesn't really have much depth to it, though what there is has been crafted very finely. I adored the way the author wrote about the fairies, and how while she kept the power predominantly masculine, women were given power too, though this had grown simply symbolic due to the fade of magic in the world.

The characters were interesting, to a point. They each had their own motives, their own desires, but they still seemed sadly 2D to me. I liked Kaisa, the huntress, for her calm confidence and hesitant joy and Sidhean, the fairy, for his feral and alien manners.

I am not one for romance, but I found the one that this book leads to to be a delight, gentle and cautious and lovely.

The ending was regretfully rushed, and something of a let down. After all the stories that Ash and Kaisa tell each other, I thought there was going to be more to it. Yes, I was disappointed at how the book ended, but the why is rather spoiler-heavy, so I'll leave it out.

Despite that, I liked it for what it was, a lighthearted diversion with just enough dark notes in it to hint that, if the book were set a few hundred years before, things would not be so easy for Ash. In all honesty, I would have loved it if the book were less safe, but I keep reminding myself it's YA so it's hindered in that aspect. I don't think I will be getting the next book, Huntress.

Characters: 7/10
Setting: 7/10
Plot: 5/10
Dialogue: 5/10
Overall: 6/10
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fairytale inspired but very original, 12 Oct 2011
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
This fantasy book is a different take on the Cinderella story. Ash grew up near the wood and like her mother she is able to see the fairies who live among the trees. Ash ends up living as a servant in her stepmother's house in the city, but even then she is still able to contact the mysterious man from the woods who grants her wishes, for a price. She also meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, a woman who inspires her to escape her dreary life and follow her desires.

This story is clearly inspired by the fairytale but is also very much it's own thing. The setting feels European, but a bit more modern than the traditional pseudo-Medieval fantasy world. The wish granting man from the woods is a far cry from any fairy godmother. He is cold and aloof and his wishes are only granted with a strict price. The death of Ash's parents and her attachment to her childhood home are strong factors in her story. Her uncertainty about what she wants from her life and her slow acceptance of love make Ash a more realistic figure than the normal Cinderella-type character.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ash, 4 Aug 2011
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
So I have to admit I did find this quite difficult to get into at first. I just couldn't warm to the characters and the story just didn't draw me much, but I persevered and I'm pleased I did. I guess when I heard this was a take on Cinderella, I was expecting more of a carbon copy but was happy that it took its own path. Unpredictable stories are more fun!!

Speaking of unpredictable, I found the characters quite that at times. But that more confused me, than anything. Some of them I just expected to react to circumstances in one way, but they would do something completely different. Kept me on my reading toes though!!

There was one thing in this story that completely grossed me out and that was a hunting scene. I actually had to kind of skim over it, instead of reading it properly. It really turned my stomach. What can I say, I am a lover of animals!!

As mentioned earlier this is in fact a lesbian love story, but it was done in such a way that it was beautiful and sweet. There was nothing done to be risque or make a statement. It was just a lovely tale that happened to be about two girls instead of a girl and a guy!

I did wonder if the characters may have questioned their feelings more, but at the same time it was refreshing to read of teenage girls that just knew what they wanted and kind of go for it, despite peoples possible reactions.

For me this was the perfect way to try reading another style of YA fiction, as I do love anything mythological. Its great to work from a place of interest.
This really is a lovely tale that gets you thinking what may be considered different, just isn't! I would highly recommend giving this a go!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT RE-TELLING OF AN OLD FAVOURITE!, 31 July 2011
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This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
I'm not usually a fan of Fairytales or old stories being given a new 'edge' and re-written, but I enjoyed this one!

Whilst its basic telling is of the story of 'Cinderella', there are several different 'twists and turns' - not least the lesbian theme. (though I must confess to preferring Sidhean myself!!) More importantly though (for me at least) it is very atmospheric and written with a great attention to detail - particularly when referring to the Woods which I love.

I really enjoyed this, and is just yet another book in a long line from the 'Young Adults' section that I have read and not been disappointed with!

A great book for any age, and perhaps great to read on a dark Winter evening with stunning Artwork!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I'd read this as a teen, 10 Jun 2011
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
I wish I'd read this book as a teen. It is a wonderful lovely fairy story, with a GLBT romance which is never issue laden or heavy, but rather just provides traditional fairytale romance that just happens to be between two girls. Ash is an orphan left alone with a cruel stepmother (sound familiar?). Lonely and desperate to escape her life, she finds herself drawn to the forest where the strange and ghostly fae dwell, and becomes increasingly involved with a fae lord. Then she meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, and everything changes.

This is a lovely version of Cinderella, with a really positive and life giving message throughout. I enjoyed it thoroughly, unconventional twists and all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting fairytale retelling, 16 Mar 2011
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
For as long as I can remember when asked what my favourite fairytale was, I'd answer with Cinderella. The magic, the 'against the odds'-ness, the romance and the way the stepsisters get their just desserts in the end, I was enchanted by all of it. All of these elements and more were present in Malinda Lo's Ash, a beautiful retelling of Cinderella. I love (retold) fairy tales and Ash is one of the better ones I've read recently. In this version of Cinderella's story, there is no pumpkin, no singing animals and no bippity-boppity-boo. This is not the Disneyfied version of Perrault's tale, but far closer to the much scarier and more sinister version as recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Which makes it all the better in my opinion; a good fairytale should be a little scary, otherwise happily ever after is far less cathartic than it should be and the morality of the tale would be lost.

The way the fairy were worked in was cool; these are the true Sidhe, beautiful, dangerous and treacherous creatures better avoided than sought out. Sidhean is both sinister and comforting in his care for Ash. To me he remained a cypher to the end, mostly because I couldn't decide whether to trust him or not. Ms Lo shows the more vicious side of his nature in flashes, but these flashes give the impression that violence simmers very shallowly underneath the surface of his outwardly cool facade. At the same time, he genuinely seems to care for Ash and is quite protective of her. Wary though I was of the character, I did like him and found him sympathetic.

Less sympathetic, or rather altogether repugnant, are Ash's stepmother and eldest stepsister. It was hard to find redeeming qualities about them, which made them seem rather flat, the stepmother more so than the sister; they had to make Ash's life awful and that is what they did. Ash's youngest stepsister, Clara, at least is somewhat redeemed in the later part of the book, when she starts showing some spirit and shows Ash some kindness. I liked this, as it showed that she is as much a victim as Ash is, albeit in a far different manner.

The true stars of the novel are Ash and Kaisa though, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Ash is a strong character, who retains her spirit, despite of her grief for her parents and the way her stepmother treats her. I love how she almost dares the Fairy to take her, Sidhean calls her reckless because of it, but to me it seemed like that was the only way she could feel alive on her own terms. Kaisa, the King's Huntress, is independent and shows that women can be powerful in their own right. The romantic triangle with Kaisa and Sidhean is interesting, Ash seems torn between to equally powerful personalities. The symbolism of the fact that Ash mostly sees Sidhean at night when it's dark and Kaisa mostly during the day, when it's light, resonated with the fact that the choice between Kaisa and Sidhean is basically a choice between life and death. While I felt sorry for Sidhean, I was rooting for Ash and Kaisa all the way. I loved their slow romance, the way it took until late in the book for Ash to realise that what she feels is love and her conviction that not only is this what she wants, it has given her a way to make it happen.

All the reviews I've read, have talked about the fact that Ash deals with a lesbian romance. So I went in with the expectation that this would be a far larger theme in the novel than it actually was. Instead it just is, Ash falls in love with Kaisa and Kaisa falls in love with Ash. And I loved that. I loved that in this world that could just be, without whispers, problems and anxieties beyond does she love me too? It saddens me though, to think that in reality that is the fairytale. Hopefully one day it won't be.

Ash is a wonderful tale, as enchanting as Perrault and as thrilling as Grimm. Huntress, a prequel to Ash is out next month and I can't wait to find out whether that is as lovely as its predecessor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Like a work of art, warts and all, 12 Feb 2011
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
The storyline of Ash has been debated on here a lot. I didn't look at any of these reviews before reading Ash and I wouldn't recommend anybody do so. Just read the book! It's like art. Causes strong reactions in some people and barely a ripple in others.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeously written but so-so characters, 27 Dec 2010
This review is from: Ash (Paperback)
Left at her cruel stepmother's mercy after her father's death, Ash starts to ignore her mother's old warnings about the fairies. Surely nothing could be worse than the life she has now? Perhaps being stolen away by the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean wouldn't be such a bad thing? And then she meets the King's Huntress, Kaisa, and realises that maybe there is a place for her in the real world, away from both her stepmother AND the fairies. Who will she choose, Sidhean or Kaisa? In case you hadn't guessed, this is Cinderella with a lesbian twist...

Well, as love triangles go, girl, male fairy, and huntress is fairly unique. And full marks for it not being spelt faerie, which I'm starting to get an unreasonable dislike for for some reason. Also, while this is Lo's debut novel, it's clear from reading this book that she's a major talent. In particular, her writing style is gorgeous - elegant without being over the top, and her description of the first hunt Ash goes on with Kaisa is particularly well-written.

Having said that, I have to admit the book didn't grab me in the way that my favourite books do, possibly because I thought Ash was a fairly bland focus for the novel herself and that some of the others weren't really that well developed. Kaisa, a complex character who takes her role as Huntress very seriously despite the emotions it awakens in her, is an honourable exception to this, as is Clara, the younger and nicer of Ash's stepsisters, who I'd love to have read more about. I did think the lesbian relationship between Kaisa and Ash was really well-handled, as well - it never came across as being added in for shock value, it felt completely natural.

Fairly high recommendation to fans of Holly Black, Melissa Marr and Sara Ryan.

Next up for Lo is Huntress, a prequel to Ash - will give that a try and hope that I'm more convinced by the characters this time.
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Ash by Malinda Lo (Paperback - 4 Mar 2010)
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