Ash by Malinda Lo
This book was really good, really fast, and surprisingly all-ages appropriate! (I just figured there’d be a sex scene somewhere in there, but no!) The great thing about reading a re-telling (like Cinder, Ash was a re-telling of the Cinderella story) is seeing how the individual author breathes new life into an old story. The pillar character of the cruel stepmother is present, of course, but she doesn’t come across as empty tribute. The character was painted realistically, and the reader believes this is a person who enjoys petty cruelties and taking out her anger on others. Instead of a fairy godmother, Lo’s cinderella has a fairy prince, and they aren’t just passing acquaintances. For much of the book Sidhean is Ash’s only friend. Another realistic aspect of the story Lo gives us is the pain Ash experiences at losing both her parents, particularly her mother. When Ash mourns at her grave, on more than one occasion, we feel her pain with her.
But perhaps most striking about this version of the story is how Lo has cast our heroine’s love interest not as the prince of the kingdom, but as the king’s huntress. So here we have two young women attracted to one another as the central love story, and it’s so refreshing! This is one of the most essential reasons we retell old tales — to make them accessible and relatable to new audiences. Unlike a book might be if targeted toward adults, this novel isn’t focused on sexual tension or desire; all of the nuance here is the nervousness of first love, wondering “what is this feeling?,” blushing and turning away, being unsure of what to say in that other person’s presence. You’re going to fall in love with Ash, Kaisa, and Sidhean, and you’ll be left craving more of them when you finish this short volume.
The quiet afternoon opened up between them like a woman stretching her limbs.
[If you love re-tellings of old tales and want something a little more adult, check out Tanith Lee‘s White as Snow. It’s fantastic, too.]
Here we go for reading challenge updates:
- PopSugar 2017 reading challenge No. 27 a book with a title that’s a character’s name.
- Book Dragon’s Lair Audiobook challenge Nope
- Book Dragon’s Lair Pages Read challenge This 264 pgs brings me to 6,488 pgs
- Read It Again, Sam Nope
- My Reader’s Block Mount To Be Read (TBR) and Rock My TBR challenge Nope
- For the Diverse Reads challenge (here and here) the mini-monthly challenges are sexuality and gender for June & July. Yay! I was thrilled to read this sweet first-love story between two young women.
- The Book Date Full House challenge I’m counting this book as my Middle Grade novel. It won an award in a “children’s” category, and there’s nothing in it that would be inappropriate for younger readers.
- The Book Date Read the Books You Buy challenge Yes! Sadly I’m up to 23 purchased books for the year and only 5 read, but hey, slowly chipping away, right?
- Whatever I Think Of Memoir Bingo challenge Nope
- The Worm Hole’s What’s In A Name challenge Nope
Hashtags for the challenges that had them:
Thanks for sticking with me and see you next time!