Monday, October 12, 2009

Ash by Malinda Lo

Aisling, Ash for short, lives in a small kingdom near a great forest. It is told there are fairies that live deep in the woods, and Aisling has heard stories about them her entire life. The old ways include revering and fearing the fairies, and her mother believed and lived by the old ways, while her father did not. When Ash's mother dies, Ash spends too much time with the grave, visiting her mother.

Ash's world is torn apart again after her father remarries and then dies. Ash moves to her stepmother's house and becomes their servant, supposedly because her father left them with debt. When she escapes to the woods to get away from her awful step-family, she meets Sidhean, whom she is convinced is a fairy. She also meets Keira, the King's Huntress. As she spends more time with each, she is torn between her attraction to Keira and her desire to go with Sidhean and see her mother again.

This is a retelling of the Cinderella story with a very different outcome. Ash is a great character and her story is well-told and engrossing. The ending seems a little too neat, considering the build-up to what fairies expect in return for their favors. Still, a great twist to an old favorite.

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