Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2009
Genres: Classic Retelling, YA
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.
Can one ever get enough of fairy tale retellings?
No, of course not!
Ash is a retelling of Cinderella, but it’s got a small twist in that Ash has a Fairy Godfather, who is a love interest, and there’s a Royal Huntress, who also is a love interest. The prince has very little to do with this fairytale.
The book was met with a lukewarm response by our bookclub. We didn’t hate it or love it, the writing we all agreed was lovely, but the story never really ignites.
I love that Ash isn’t the normal girl meets prince charming kind of tale, but I was expecting more of a romance between her and the Huntress. The lesbian relationship is so subtle that it’s almost non-existent. Which is a shame, because Ash is kind of a dull character on her own. The fairy world, the Huntress, her dead mother, all those characters are really interesting, but I felt, as did other book club members, that it didn’t make sense why everyone was so interested in Ash.
It’s a short tale, and it was worth our time. And books featuring lesbians as main characters are pretty thin on the ground in YA, and Ash and the Huntresses relationship is just a natural thing, and that’s lovely. We just wanted more, more from the characters and more conflict, and there were several missed opportunities for that. I think the thing we found most interesting was how the names of the characters were actually pronounced.
All in all, a perfectly okay read, but it did not make for the best book club discussion. There’s just not enough to delve into.
Ash gets a Midnight Book Rating of: