Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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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.
I randomly picked this book up at the bookstore, simply because I liked the cover and it is a fairy tale retelling (cinderella, specifically). I know, buying books because of the cover is bad, but look at it, you would’ve done the same. Little did I know that this book was such a hidden gem. This review is spoiler free, so you don’t have to worry if you haven’t read the book.
“For in the depths of grief, sometimes one cannot tell the difference between illusion and reality.”
This book was very unique. Usually when people call something that it’s not the best thing in the world, but in this case it’s very positive. I love fairy tale retellings, but I don’t read enough of them. It had all the elements that we love from Cinderella in there, but Malinda gave the story such a twist that even know we all know the story it’s based on, you still don’t really know what to expect. I really liked that.
It’s also very fast paced. This book covers a period of about 5 years in 264 pages. It would seem that everything will be rushed, but that’s not the case at all, every scene was just the right length. I also highly enjoyed the fairy tales that Malinda came up with herself and wove into the story. From young girls falling in love with fairies and falling into a life long sleep to a huntress proving her worth to her king and queen. They were all just little snippets on the pages, but so interesting. I could read an entire book filled with Malina’s fairy tales.
The only thing that was a bit disappointing about this story was that not much happened. But if the story is not that exciting, how can I still like it so much, you ask? Because it was so fast paced that it didn’t really matter. You fly over the pages so quickly that you don’t even really notice the lack of excitement until the book is over. And let’s be real, if we look at the foundation of this book: Cinderella, that’s not a very exciting and thrilling story either and yet we all love it. That’s the same in this book.
I say this quite a lot in my reviews, but the characters in this book felt very flat to me. You follow Ash all through her teenage years and yet we don’t find out much about her personality or what she looks like. To me that’s a shame. I love details about characters and their history and memories, it’s what really makes me care about a person, relate to them. To me that was missing in this novel.
The same goes for the huntress and the fairy. We meet them and Ash spends a lot of time with both of them, but if I think back, I don’t know anything about them and that’s such a shame. This book could have been even better if there would have been more descriptions. That’s the main reason why I loved this but didn’t give it 4.5 or 5 stars. It’s really good but it’s definitely not perfect.
Gay in YA
There is some gay romance in this book, but the great thing is that it’s not the main focal point of the story. I haven’t read that many books with gay characters, but the ones I have read that had gay romance in there, it was always the most important thing about the book. I feel like that’s very unrealistic and also think that there should be waaaay more book characters that are just gay and they just are. Does that sound stupid. Why does the story always have to evolve around the character being gay or at lease be a big part of it? In real life you don’t see gay or lesbian people their entire lives evolve around their sexuality either right? So why is it always the case in books…it’s quite stupid if you think about it.