Review Detail

4.2 8
Young Adult Fiction 4052
A Cinderella Fairy Tale
Overall rating
Writing Style
Ash by Malinda Lo is a new twist on the Cinderella fairy tale. Aislings (Ash) mother dies when she is twelve. She misses her dearly. As in the Cinderella story, Ashs father remarries, this time to Lady Isobel who has two daughters, Ana (the favored daughter) and Clara. Ashs father gets sick and dies and Lady Isobel moves the family back to her home, Quinn House. Ashs father leaves his new wife a pile of debts and Lady Isobel forces Ash to be her servant to work off the debts. There is the requisite masquerade ball at which the Prince will pick a wife and Ash is able to attend with the help of fairies.

There are two twists in Ash. The first twist is that the fairies play a prominent role. Legends abound in Ashs village, Rook Hill, about fairies. For instance, one legend requires the grave of the newly departed to be watched on the first night after burial to make sure the fairies dont take the body. Greenwitches are summoned to help people over illnesses. It appears that greenwitches were, indeed, witches long ago but have lost much of their magical powers. Of course, the more cosmopolitan people poo-poo the idea of fairies and witchcraft. Ashs dealing with the fairies is of prime importance in the book.

The second twist involves who the Prince falls in love with and who Ash falls in love with. That Im not going to spoil for you.

In my opinion, Ash started out really strong but slowed down a bit as it progressed. Lo certainly put a new spin on the fairy tale, which is fine. The writing was descriptive. The characters acted like they should have: Lady Isobel and Ana treated Ash very badly. Clara was somewhat more sympathetic to her. I cant put my finger on what was missing, so I wont even guess.

So, my final verdict: I think youll enjoy reading Ash, however, if you love fairy tales Id also try any of Shannon Hales books or Edith Pattous East or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.
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