Wednesday 7 July 2010

ASH by Malinda Lo

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…

Isn't the cover for this book absolutely stunning? I love the colours, the font, the dress Ash is wearing... it's all beautiful. This is a story that I've been wanting to read for a while now, so when I picked it up on Friday night, I was hooked in right away.

Ash is a 12-year-old girl mourning the loss of her mother, and shortly after finds herself doing the same for her father. By that time, he's remarried and Lady Isobel has taken over the household. But as soon as Ash's father dies, Isobel moves back to Quinn House, isolating Ash from her life in Rook Hill. Gradually, her stepmother turns Ash into the maid's helper. Until she figures it would be easier and cheaper to make Ash do all of the chores. And if Ash refuses, she gets locked away in the cellar.

The years pass and Ash is treated like a slave. Expected to do everything for her stepsisters, as well as take care of the house on her own. She's very lonely, and never quite gets over the loss of her parents. Especially her mother, who believed in things that everyone else has forgotten or disregards. But Ash was always intrigued by old stories, and when she meets the mysterious, Sidhean, he becomes her only, constant friend. Even if he is keeping a secret from her.

When the very alluring huntress, Kaisa enters her life, Ash is fascinated by her. Kaisa is strong and independent, beautiful and headstrong. After meeting by chance several times, they slowly build a friendship. Ash loves spending time with Kaisa, and with Sidhean's help is able to partake in the events that bring her closer to the huntress. But using fairy magic means that she owes a debt. Still, it all seems worth it, to spend more time with Kaisa.

This is a magical and enchanting story about a girl growing up all alone and finding comfort in fairy tales.

Ash is a magical and enchanting story. It's a beautiful, unique retelling of the Cinderella story, with a lot of new elements that I really enjoyed. And the object of Ash's affection isn't the prince, but the King's Huntress. I found the growing frienship between the two girls touching. It was so sweet to see how it slowly, but mutually became so much more.

This is a love story with a difference. It's also a story of how magic affects someone in a time when most doubt it even exists. But above all, this is one fantastic story!

Ash, May 2010, ISBN 9780340988374, Paperback - B Format

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