Ash
  • Ash
  • Ash

Ash

3.8 192
by Malinda Lo
     
 

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Cinderella retold

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

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Overview

Cinderella retold

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.

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Editorial Reviews

bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series Meg Cabot
"A rich and darkly moving tale I couldn't put down. Malinda Lo is an exciting and welcome new voice in YA."
bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments serie Cassandra Clare
" This lyrically retold Cinderella tale is not just a beautifully updated fable, but an ode to the transformative power of love."
author of Keeping You a Secret and National Book A Julie Anne Peters
"Cinderella, gorgeously reimagined, captivating and winsome. After you've fallen into the storytelling world of Malinda Lo, the truth of love will transcend the romantic ideal of fairy tales."
From the Publisher
"A rich and darkly moving tale I couldn't put down. Malinda Lo is an exciting and welcome new voice in YA."—Meg Cabot, bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series"

Cinderella, gorgeously reimagined, captivating and winsome. After you've fallen into the storytelling world of Malinda Lo, the truth of love will transcend the romantic ideal of fairy tales."
Julie Anne Peters, author of Keeping You a Secret and National Book Award Finalist Luna"

This lyrically retold Cinderella tale is not just a beautifully updated fable, but an ode to the transformative power of love."—Cassandra Clare, bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments series

Regina Marler
…somber and lovely…[Ash] features a beautiful orphan…a cruel, social-climbing stepmother and two sneering stepsisters. Lo gives us a vaguely medieval setting, royal hunts, grand balls and an unquestioned class hierarchy. Not until the introduction of Kaisa, the king's gorgeous young huntress, do we get a spin on tradition.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
This debut, a retelling of Cinderella in which the heroine falls in love with a beautiful huntress rather than a prince, should establish Lo as a gifted storyteller. Aisling, aka Ash, is newly orphaned, her beloved mother dead and her father soon to follow. But not before he marries the woman who plays the part of Ash's wicked stepmother and provides her with equally unkind stepsisters. Only Ash's periodic trips into a fairy-filled wood at night and time spent with the beguiling huntress Kaisa—who enthralls Ash more and more—save her from her oppressive new existence. Lo's prose is beautiful, her descriptions lush; the novel's one flaw is that the third-person narrative keeps readers at arm's length. The dialogue is sparse, with Lo spending most of her time on narration, making it difficult to connect emotionally with Ash. This aside, Lo offers an important twist on a classic story that will appeal to a wide readership, especially those looking for a girl romance. Ages 15–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Ann Welton
Ash has lost her mother. Shortly after her father remarries, he dies as well. Taken far away from her beloved childhood home and its magical woods, Ash becomes an indentured servant to Stepmother and two Stepsisters. Befriended by Kaisa, the King's Huntress, Ash is offered a chance to ride in the first great hunt of the season. She desperately wants to go, but in order to do so, she must first enter into an illicit bond with the Fairy, Sidhean. Unsure of what her full repayment might entail, Ash only knows she would risk anything to see Kaisa again. Part one of this Cinderella-with-a-twist remake displays all of the fine elements of a Donna Jo Napoli tale. In the second part, however, the story begins to degrade. Ash's life is followed from ages thirteen to eighteen, and yet there is nary a mention of any budding sexual preferences. It is therefore, a bit bizarre when Ash ultimately develops feelings for Kaisa. Also, the Huntress herself is fairly undefined; one feels at a loss to fully grasp her connection to Ash or even her physical details. More disturbingly, the male characters are either nondescript or negatively portrayed, which is somewhat off-putting and unnecessary (Father inexplicably dwindled away the family fortune; Prince is war-worn and bloodthirsty). Overall it is an admirable first effort, and unless there is an objection to same-sex romance (which is neither overplayed nor in-your-face), this book should appeal to teenage girls and fairy tale/fantasy fans. Reviewer: Ann Welton
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Described as "Cinderella…with a twist," Ash is in many ways the familiar fairy tale about a girl's move from comfort to despair to true love (with a little help from fairies and magic). Standard Cinderella images set up the story: after losing her mother and later her father, Ash is treated as a servant in the home of an unkind stepmother and two unfriendly stepsisters. She has ties to the fairy world, attends the royal ball in an enchanted dress, catches the eye of the prince, and finds love by the end of the story. However, while structural similarities exist, ideologically Lo's beautiful and dark tale takes the story to a new place. It is not about Ash being found and saved by a charming prince; instead, it is about her courtship with Kaisa, the King's huntress, a relationship that burgeons over time and is based on more than just initial attraction. Despite Ash's grief, oppressive guardianship, and dangerous flirtation with the fairy Sidhean, who promises to steal her away from her sadness, the protagonist finds her own salvation and chooses to live and love in the real world and on her own terms. Ash will appeal to readers looking for GLBTQ titles, but fans of romance, fantasy, and strong female protagonists will also embrace this fine debut novel.—Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA
Kirkus Reviews
An unexpected reimagining of the Cinderella tale, exquisite and pristine, unfolding deliberately. Aisling-Ash-knows the fairy stories and lore told her by her now-dead mother, but she does not know if she believes them. When her father dies and her stepmother and stepsisters move her away from the Wood to the City, she finds herself returning to her mother's grave, where she meets the fairy Sidhean. Ash barely notes her harsh treatment at the hands of her stepfamily, as she both longs for and fears her glimpses of Sidhean. He longs for her, too, in ways she is slow to understand. Ash also is slow to see Kaisa, the King's Huntress, as the source of her own desire. When she does, Ash turns to Sidhean to make it possible for her to spend time with Kaisa, despite the price Ash knows she will have to pay. Ash and Kaisa's dance at the King's Ball is a wild and gorgeous moment, no less so than the night Ash must spend in Sidhean's Wood. Beautiful language magically wrought; beautiful storytelling magically told. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316040105
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
10/05/2010
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
58,287
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Malinda Lo was born in China and moved to the United States as a child. She grew up in Colorado and has since lived in Boston, New York, London, Beijing, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She is the former managing editor of AfterEllen.com, the largest entertainment news website for lesbians and bisexual women. In 2006, Malinda was awarded the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Journalism by the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and has master's degrees from Harvard and Stanford universities.

Malinda now lives in Northern California with her partner and their dog. Ash is her first novel. Her website is www.malindalo.com.

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Ash 3.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 192 reviews.
minniep More than 1 year ago
The funny part about this book is you have to remind your self that this is a "take" on a classic fairy tale. Theres only 1 scene that closely relates to cinderella, and the fact that she is left to the mercy of her step mother, other wise this books stands on its on. the writting style of the author is rock solid, you find your self cheering out loud for the main character and at the end of the book all you really want is for her to get happy ending no matter what she decides. I loved it!
asamum More than 1 year ago
An imaginative reworking of a classic fairytale. A fairytale with real fairies, a male fairy protector rather than the fairy godmothers of old. Wonderful ethereal imagery. Fabulously sensory descriptions. As a bibliophile I adored the description of a book left to Ash by her mother. A truly enchanting tale. However, I did find the homosexuality to be glamorised. The book makes it sound like an easy choice to make, I do not believe this is the case. I have a few homosexual friends and know from their experience that it is a very difficult admission and can cause rifts with family and friends. On the whole a beautiful modern fairytale but I don't think I will be giving it to my children to read until they are old enough to understand the full implications of such choices.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books. I am a sucker for that uncomfortable feeling a person gets when they start to figure out that they are attracted to another person. Well written.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
What drew me to this book first off is the gorgey cover. And trust me when I say that it's even prettier in person than on this here screen. After the death of her beloved father, Ash is left to fend for herself against her cruel stepmother, who forces her to work as a servant to repay her father's debts. Lost in her despair, far away from friends, Ash begins to seek out the faeries - when she meets the dangerously beautiful Sidhean, whom she hopes will take her away from all her pain and misery. Then Ash meets the King's Huntress Kaisa who befriends Ash and teaches her to hunt and ride; showing her things Ash never thought possible. Kaisa's friendship forces Ash to consider her choices and eventually leads her to turn to her dark faery for help as she tries to keep her place in the world of the living for a chance at love. Knowing Ash was a Cinderella retelling I was looking for the proverbial plot devices and was pleasantly surprised to find only slight mentions at the most. Yes, Ash is orphaned and left to her cruel stepmother, yes, she ends up sleeping next to the fireplace a time or two, and yes, she does charm the prince at the ball - but those details are by no means the most intriguing parts of the story. Malinda Lo seamlessly weaves a lyrical story of not just a girl trying to find her place in the world but also of in faeries and love and the strength to fight for what you want. All this happens in a completely spell-binding new world that I found myself too lost in to even begin thinking about how this is not your traditional wishy-washy Disney Cinderella. Ash is no storybook princess and it's no surprise she is drawn to the King's Huntress with her steady sword and ability to roam free. I do wish Malinda Lo had taken a bit more time to explore Ash's world since the world building was only partway explained and I wanted more back-story on the Huntress, more about the faeries, and more about the royal family and their customs. Each of these facets brought a new and compelling aspect to Ash but the details for each left me hoping for more. Although, what we do get is unfailing beautiful and compelling and made this a standout in amongst other Cinderella retellings. Since I've never read a book that featured same-sex romance, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well Malinda Lo handled the entire situation. It's not over the top and the buildup quietly subtle and by no means unnecessarily dramatic. In Ash, homosexuality isn't even an issue, which created this wide open space for Kaisa and Ash to maneuver in since no one even felt like it was anything out of the ordinary - other than the fact that the two were well on their way to True Love Land. seemichelleread.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think my favorite part about this book was the fact that the heroine falls in love with a woman and ~no one effing cares.~ As a young lesbian, all I want is to find a character I can relate to. Ash is totally that character. She's adventurous, ambitious, and a bit ruled by her heart. The fact that this book ISN'T one of those that reads, "And she was in love with... wait for it... ANOTHER GIRL! OH MY GLOBBBB and everyone was so shocked that they promptly died, leaving our young martyrs to cry forever, the end" resonated so, so strongly with me. I was at a time in my life where I was still a bit unsure that being openly gay was okay. This book really, really helped me with that. Malinda Lo writes this fantasy world the way I feel our world should (and hopefully will) be some day: that it doesn't matter at all if you are queer or straight or whatever. All that matters is your story.
pagese More than 1 year ago
I knew about the difference in this story from the traditional Cinderella fairytale. But, it was still hard for me to acknowledge the fact that she doesn't end up with the prince in this story. And, I was very glad the biggest difference wasn't thrown in your face. Instead, what you have is a beautifully written story. It is raw and emotional. You can help but feel for Ash through every heartache and ordeal she goes through. I also felt that fairies and their myths and tales were such an intricate part of the story. Ash's belief and interactions with them made her such a different lead character. This story was far different from anything else I read in 2009. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fairy tales retold, and don't mind something different.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
There's something about fairy tales that always feel magical. No matter the story, no matter the characters, there is something about them that just makes you feel the magic inside them. ASH makes you feel every bit of that magic, and more. Just about everyone, everyone female at least, over the age of 13 or so has heard and/or seen the story of Cinderella. Whether it is Disney's version or the classic fairy tale or the Brothers Grimm version or even one of the other hundreds of versions that have been created over the years, we all know it. ASH is a version that I'm sure you've never heard of before, but that you should. After losing her mother, Ash's father takes a wife, Lady Isobel. Soon after meeting Lady Isobel, her and her two daughters move into the house with Ash and her father and things drastically change. In line with the fairy tale, Ash's father becomes gravely ill and passes away shortly thereafter. Which not only leaves Ash heartbroken, but also leaves her without either of her parents, and stuck with a "family" that doesn't even like to look at her. This is the beginning that we all know about Cinderella, and while Ash has many aspects that are the same as the original tale, they are not the same in the slightest. Ash doesn't get the typical fairy godmother; she gets something else all together, but something even more powerful than anything in the candy-coated version that is fed to us as children. Ash gets a fairy, Sidhean, who is even more lethal and dangerous than anything her stepmother or stepsisters could do/say to Ash. But that's masked in an extent by the beauty and the friendship that lies between Ash and Sidhean. And I mean that to an extent far more than the typical connection between two characters; their relationship is more developed and deeper than most would have thought possible in a novel that doesn't even break 300 pages. But one day Ash's life, and heart, changes forever. She meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, and there is something between them that's different from the second they meet. Ash begins to stop chasing fairies and starts to live in the world without fairies and the fairy tales, and learns how to hunt and to ride and to track animals. But in this change of life, there is a price for keeping it and for continuing to let it grow. Through her relationship with Kaisa, Ash finds what it means to grow and what it means to let her heart guide her and, in that realization, she also finds a new capacity to live. Ash prefers the company of the Huntress to the company of the Prince, and that makes this story even more powerful. Malinda Lo has created a world that is magical and finds its own footing in a world where fairy tales are viewed as being for children and has given the older crowd a fairy tale of their own. This is some of the most beautiful, lyrical writing I've seen in a long time and that is so refreshing. The imagery just blows me away and it's like you're standing right there with Ash through everything, whether it be pain, joy, adventure, or terror. It would kill me to see this story get cast aside and labeled a "lesbian retelling of Cinderella," because it's so much more than that. It's a beautiful story that anyone could relate to and that everyone could take something away from... Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really didn't like this book. The last 30 pages of so I just kept rolling my eyes at the stupid things the main character did or that happened. It didn't feel anything like Cinderella at all so I don't know why she bothered to pretend like it was a retelling of the story. Basically the only thing similar was the prince looking for a wife and balls and fairy magic. But the prince story line is randomly mentioned so it feels really disconnected from the huntress and fairy parts of the book. it would have been better if she just took the story she seemed like she wanted to write and ran with it instead of trying to randomly connect it to Cinderella, like "umm... and she sleeps on the hearth sometimes! that's what Cinderella does! Annnd.. it's been like 40 pages since there's been anything for me to pretend that this is based off of Cinderella so I guess I'll throw something in about the prince looking for a wife! Oh I know! And then I'll have her dance with the prince and then have her randomly leave him in the garden!" The clash between green witches and the church thing was really underdeveloped, it was like she threw that in in the beginning and then once the dad died she didn't need to deal with that crap anymore and hardly mentioned it again for the rest of the book. I feel like Ash herself wasn't very fleshed out, and her interactions with her stepmother and sisters aren't very believable or don't really show Ash's reactions. There's once scene near the end where they're doing all this horrible stuff to her and there's hardly any detail about how she's reacting. Did she just stand there and do nothing to try and defend herself? It was just really irritating that she could escape at practically any time and then doesn't. It was just a really irritating story and I really wish I hadn't wasted the time reading it.
bigbearphx More than 1 year ago
Aisling ("Ash" for short) was still a young girl when both of her parents died, and she found herself living with her stepmother and two stepsisters, who treated her as a lowly servant. Her mother had instilled in her a love for the stories of the fairies who reportedly inhabited the Wood, a place where humans - especially young girls - were cautioned never to wander alone at night, since they might be captured by these magical creatures. Since the fairies were her only link to her carefree life before her mother's death, Ash ignored the warnings, and soon found herself bargaining with the head fairy, Sidhean, in order to be closer to Kaisa, the King's Huntress, whom she encountered on one of her walks in the Wood. But as it came time to pay her debt to Sidhean, she began to understand what her mother had told her about finding happiness. Touted by the publisher and other reviewers as a "lesbian take on Cinderella," it is actually much more than that. Sure, we have the gala ball at the palace, dancing with the prince, a midnight curfew, and even an evil stepmother. But the story also gives a plausible introduction to how "fairy tales" may have evolved through the ages, commendable illustrations of conflicts between social classes, and a lesson on diversity that can inspire its intended young readers in today's world. This first-time novelist shows significant talent in being able to weave such a complex, magical tale, inhabiting it with beautifully-drawn multidimensional characters, in a life-lesson that can appeal to readers of any age, gender or sexual orientation. Feminists may object to the fact that it emulates Cinderella, a story about a young lady who relied on others to provide the means to live her life, but I think this update shows Ash to have significant initiative and empowerment. Though I am not generally fond of fantasy novels, I found this story to be rewarding, with my only complaint that I found the pace of the story to be uneven and occasionally plodding. Overall, I give the book a rousing chorus of "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" ... and four fairytale stars out of five! - Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
MyndiL 3 days ago
While well written, and a good story, this book just wasn't what I was expecting. I think it's probably a great book for some though. It started of slow, was kind of hard for me to get into it. Also, some of the names are difficult to pronounce and I found myself constantly looking up how they were said. The story itself is sweet and definitely a spin off of Cinderella that I hadn't seen even attempted before. I would have liked to see the same sort of story, only perhaps set in more modern times. All in all, it was a good book, I don't have anything bad to say about it, it just wasn't one that I'd call a favorite. If you like fairy tale retellings, especially that involve actual fairies, you'll probably like this book.
Anonymous 19 days ago
I could not put this book down. I'm not kidding, I ended up reading it until three in the morning! It's a wonderful, fantasy tale and as many have said, a retelling of the classic Cinderella, but it still manages to stick out from its roots. The characters are breathtaking and developed so passionately that I longed to be with them in their world. The world was very lovingly crafted and we were given details that mattered to our heroine, but nothing more. It left a lot to the imagination! I would recommend this book to anyone, if I'm quite honest. It was so beautiful and as I said, I couldn't put it down until I knew Ash and Kaisa were safe together for their happily ever after!
JimRGill2012 6 months ago
This incarnation of the Cinderella story features Aisling (Ash) as a conflicted and oppressed young woman struggling to take control of her life from an evil stepmother while contemplating an escape with a fairy (Sidhean) cursed to love her. Further complicating matters is her attraction to Kaisa, the Royal Huntress. Set in a non-specific magical realm where faith and science vie for dominance, *Ash* readily conforms to most conventions of the fairy tale genre. What makes it distinct is the absolute dominance of female characters—with the exception of a few minor male characters (e.g., since it’s a Cinderella story, a Prince is pretty much required) and Sidhean the fairy, whose gender is nearly irrelevant. By adapting the familiar fairy tale format, this young adult novel depicts a young woman who overcomes oppression and empowers herself to determine her own fate and seek happiness that does not depend on a male presence in her life. While the pastoral setting and the passages of extended lyrical prose might bore some readers—there is a noticeable lack of “action” and narration far exceeds dialogue—*Ash* is a powerful tale of female young adult agency.
Anonymous 10 months ago
The book actually gives you a sense that you are actually in the story watching everything happening in front of your eyes and even though the ending was a twist it was Great
Pingo00 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey what you doing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He walks in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I found it so refreshing to find a story with a fresh take on  love. There are too few books that explore the love between two women  and how unexpected and refreshing it is once it is discovered. I had to go back  and reread the scenes with the huntress. The book really came alive when Kaisa entered the story and changed Ash and everything she thought she ever  wanted. I highly recommend this book. My only complaint is that the ending  seemed abrupt and left me wanting more- 179 pages was not nearly enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A perfect fairytale retelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was well written, and pretty entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well thoughtout and focused. The summary tells you that this will be a tale of realization and coming of understanding; and with lesbian characters. Those who claim shock may not understand that a Huntress is female. It was rich and interesting. The vast world just hidden from our eyes, as the fairy world is from the humans. That's great story telling. I wish it would have been longer. But i am a glutton of a reader. All the stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of people were complaining about the characters and romance being underdeveloped. I don't disagree with that. But I have to wonder, have those people ever read any actual fairy tales? Because most fairy tales are even less developed. Malinda Lo captured the fairy tale vibe really, really well, in my opinion. Also, I just really love that Ash falls in love with another girl. That just makes me really happy. I'm kind of a sucker for sweet girl/girl romance, and Ash and Kaisa are a really good example of that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story had fantasy elements in it, this book was sometimes a chore to read. It was recommened in a book club I was in, I will not pass the recommendation on. Close to Cinderella, but was working a lesbian storyline via fairies. This book disappoints.