Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

My edition: Paperback, published in 2010 by Hodder Children's Books, 291 pages.

Description: With her parents both gone, Ash finds herself a servant int he house of her ruthless stepmother and there seems no hope of finding happiness again. But Ash is unaware of her mother's legacy, and that it will lead her to a magical place. A place where love, identity, and belonging are all waiting...

Review:

Ash is a retelling of the Grimm fairytale Cinderella, made apparent by the fact that her name is very familiar to the Dutch name (and the German one, and probably a whole load of other ones) of Cinderella and the fact that the character is holding a glass slipper on the cover of the book - which surprisingly doesn't even make an appearance in this novel, so shame on whoever did the cover art! But that's largely besides the point as it's the story that I was interested in.

For the most part the book follows the classic fairytale of a little girl that after the death of her father is used as a servant by her evil stepmother and occasionally evil stepsisters (though one of the stepsisters actually isn't all that bad to her in this novel). With one big difference: author Malinda Lo has taken the fairy part of the word fairytale very literal - as they do exist in the world described in this book and as a matter of fact have a very central focus in it. And I don't mean a cute fairy Godmother with a twinkling wand singing "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" as seen in the Disney adaptation, but the creatures that will lure humans into their fairy rings to never be heard of again. Nasty stuff. Another big difference to the original story is the addition of the Hunt and most notably the King's Huntress, a character very important in Ash.

While the book started out very promising it unfortunately doesn't deliver in the end. There are many lose ends in regards to the fairies as the final few chapters heavily focus on concluding the romantic storyline of the book. This is a shame as in the beginning this wasn't the main focus and because of that the story that appealed to me so much when I started reading Ash seemed to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. Overall it wasn't a bad read, but the book would have been more satisfying if it didn't dismiss one storyline in favour of another.

7/10

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