Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

Finished: November 20, 2011

Synopsis: 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.

Thoughts: LESBIANS! BEARS!* HUNTERS! OH MY! Please, someone inform the government. We have a retelling of Cinderella on our hands that includes lesbians. The world must be ending. It must be 2011. This is more terrifying than Y2k.
Other reviews I’ve seen claim the problem with this book is the fact that our Cinderella is Bisexual. This is not the issue with this book and that sort of response makes me horribly depressed. We need more heroines like this. We need more heroines who aren’t heteronormative in YA. Maybe, just maybe, that young girl who is afraid to come out and tell people who she really is, will read this book and feel that’s it’s just a little less impossible. That sounds worth it, don’t you think?

I truly applaud Malinda Lo for the idea she has presented here. For the modern Cinderella. May Belle, Aurora, Snow White and others go down the same path. However, I wish I could end this review here with this praise, but I cannot. We must go forward.

This book had all of the potential in the world. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that it met the expectations I had upon picking it up. I enjoyed the beginning, where we learned of Ash’s tragic childhood, and all that she lost. As Ash grew older and began her interactions with the fairy, I lost interest in the story. When Kaisa arrived, I was expecting a love story to rival that of Bennet and Darcy, but what I got was more along the lines of… well, some other boring couple who lacked passion and chemistry, so much so that I have forgotten them.

Perhaps I felt disconnected from Ash’s relationship with Kaisa because she does not enter the story until the second half of the book. Once she does appear in the story, my interest did increase, but not enough to save this novel for me. Their relationship progressed quickly and seemingly without much development. I never felt that Kaisa and Ash’s relationship was given the time to shine or develop. I wanted to root for them so badly, but I just couldn’t see it. When I closed the book, I closed it feeling detached and unaffected, which is something I hate to feel in response to literature. When I feel it, it’s with regret.


Two out of Five Coffees
Read More: For another perspective on Ash you should check out The Library of Minds’ review here.
You can purchase Ash now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository and other retailers.

 * There were no bears in this book. That was a lie too.


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