Review: Ash by Malindo Lo

How did I get it? Bought it

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Fantasy

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.
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.

Review: If you’ve been around for the past few weeks, I have been obsessing over this book for some time now. When I got it two weeks ago, I had to finish some other things before I started reading it, and the damned thing sat there on my shelf looking seductive and alluring as nobody’s business until I caved and picked it up.

I’ll admit, I wanted to love this book so much that it sort of blinded me to a few of its faults, such as the ending, which was a little bit too anticlimactic and underwhelming. But I was so captivated by the author’s writing and the beauty of the world she crafted that I didn’t even really care. Ash was someone I could feel connected to, even if I wanted to roll my eyes at her once or twice for being so completely blind to how she feels. Kaisa, while a more static character than I would have preferred, is still lovely and had me making a few embarrassingly girly noises, and the fact that she’s such a friggin’ badass was just awesome. I mean, who wants a prince when you can have a huntress warrior goddess?

Ms. Lo’s use of folklore and mythology in this story was just gorgeous to read, and the way she incorporated it into Ash’s life and her personality was probably my favorite thing about this novel. It felt so authentic and I really loved the portrayal of a society caught between tradition and modern ideas. Ash’s struggle to define herself in a changing world and the value she places on the stories she grew up with really endeared her to me, and the way those stories touch everything in her life, from her mother’s death to her relationships with others, was just extremely thoughtful and well-done.

Overall, I adored this book. The writing was stunning, and with the bones of the traditional fairytale in place, reading Ash felt like visiting with an old friend. I’ll definitely be checking out Malinda Lo’s other novels; I think I’ve found a new love.

Rating:

Four Stars

Recommend it? Would I ever.

Other Books by the Author:

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WWW Wednesdays #1

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. It’s a chance for us all to talk about books we’ve just read, books we’re reading now, and books we’re planning on reading soon.

Ash by Malinda Lo

In case you aren’t following me on Twitter and are thus spared my daily intellectual wisdom (in which I talk about highly sophisticated topics such as butts and how many ways one can use a particular swear word in a sentence), I was drooling over this book the second I saw it, and when I finally got it, I had to wait to read it for nearly a week because of stupid life, and it just sat there on my shelf looking seductive and alluring until I couldn’t take it anymore and I scrapped all my work to curl up with it for the afternoon.

“Why, Sam, what makes this book such an irresistible temptation?”

1) It’s a Cinderella retelling.

2) Cinderella’s a freaking BADASS.

3) How can I NOT love a book which is basically a gay version of a traditional fairytale? I mean, you guys, let’s be real here. This is the good stuff. There’ll be a review coming up next Wednesday (November 20) so check back in if you’d like to know what I thought. Hint: I loved it.

This was really a neat coincidence because the book was set in Philadelphia and I was actually on a flight bound for that very city when I read this. There should be a review up within a few weeks.

Reading Now

This one is nice and light, so I’ll probably finish it in like 30 minutes. All the coffee talk is making my mouth water, and I don’t even like coffee.

It’s taking me a while to get through this one, but I like it. Ophelia’s got spunk.What's Next

Book #5 on my Netgalley November list, because the Easy Level was too, well, easy. :)

What are your reading plans this week? I’d love some recommendations for my TBR list to liven things up a bit. Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!