Friday, June 10, 2016

Ash by Malinda Lo...

Publish date- 2009
Publisher- Little, Brown Books for Children.

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
When Ash's mother dies, she loses a brightness and a spark that had alway been present and loving in her life, and it is only the tales of the fairy kingdom that sustain her as her father begins to drift. A fairy kingdom that, people whisper, her mother was a part of. A fairy kingdom Ash wants nothing more than to find.

What I thought:
I had absolutely no idea what my experience with Ash would be like. I very briefly gave it a try many years ago, and after that- despite the factors that drew me to it (including a gorgeousssss cover)- I never felt my interest revive, not until two of my favourite and most trusted bloggers, Chiara and Glaiza, read it, and came away with rather different thoughts.
So I decided to give it another go, hardly believing I would finish it after my own intial difficulty all that time ago.

And it was so very gorgeous.

Perhaps there is a singular something about books that delve into the fairy world that leave me entranced. Perhaps I am actually a changeling, since each glimpse into that magical world- from growing up with Rodda, to discovering Valente and Gaiman, and now Lo- leave me with the greatest sense that I have found my home (it's the one word I tend to use without fail in all my reviews for Valente's fairyland).
In Ash, we only get glimpses into that fairyland, but those glimpses utterly enchanted me: grand gatherings in the woods; beautiful, untraceable music; magic softly sparking off every living thing; promises made and prices settled upon. There is always a danger to fairyland, and Lo subtly weaved that into Ash with perfection. Her vision of the worlds (human and fairy) and the way they intermingled was so beautifully done, and whilst this is, most certainly, a slow moving novel, the intrigue and beauty of it being revealed alongside the well known tale of Cinderaella, I uncharacteristically didn't take issue with that factor. The slow moving quality only made me love it more, because it felt just perfect.

Apart from the section of the novel devoted to fairyland, one of my favourite elements was the romance. The prince does appear, briefly, but it is the King's Huntress and a truly lovely fairly Prince that capture Ash's heart. Often I've seen Ash called a lesbian retelling, but I read it as a bisexual retelling and I don't know why, when there is attraction on both sides, I had to go looking to see other people talk write/talk/discuss it as that. It was the one thing I found myself perplexed, maybe even a little frustrated by, because there is attraction and there is, I believe, love between Ash and both the Huntress and the fairy prince. It was gorgeous, realistic, perfect, the relationships built up over time and with such a honest quality weaved into them, and I fell for everyone.

Ash is a brave, scared, subtle character and she was just perfection as the protagonist of this story, and while I would have liked to see a little more of the Huntress, what I did see was someone who is sweet and confident and wishful. I liked her immediately and I liked how much Ash liked her. The fairy prince, too, was devilish and utterly charming, and so very dangerous for it. I didn't want to trust him, but I did- and I liked almost every moment.

Rating: Big explosion MIND BLOWN
This is a novel I finished and then had that sense of not knowing what to do with myself. It read beautifully for me and I throughly enjoyed all the characters, the way the plot deviated from the source, and the slow burning romance and walks through the forest where you didn't know whether Ash would be alright or not.
It was a triumph.


  1. I'm not crazy about books involving fairies so I'm going to pass on this one despite you loving it. The worldbuilding and MC, however, sound very well-written.

    1. It doesn't actually have a huge focus on the fae aspect, and you only really meet one fairy, but I can understand that. Books like this are my favourite sort, and fantasy is my favourite genre of all, but there are other genres that I'm not a fan of and don't tend to gravitate towards even if reviews are really lauding the books. I like reading the books I know without a doubt I'm going to fall for. xx

  2. I could have sworn I read this one a long time ago as well! Apparently not though, unless Goodreads is lying to me *shakes fist at Goodreads.* Sounds like this is a book I should definitely check out though! All the elements sound great, especially since Ash seems like a main character that would be easy to relate to.

    1. It's funny when you read reviews of books and they just sound so incredibly familiar. Same with watching film trailers and eventually realising that I'VE ACTUALLY SEEN IT. I don't know why it's so exciting, but there's something incredibly cheer-worthy about those moments. *laughs*

      I can definitely recommend this, though, Alise! It was so gorgeous and I surprised myself by not minding the slow moving pace- it just suited the plot so well. And yes! Ash is such a wonderful character with such human traits. xx

    2. Baha, I'm totally the opposite xD I get so mad because one time I read this book halfway through and was like this seems familiar so I finally checked Goodreads and finally saw that I already read it and I SO mad haha because I felt like I had wasted my time.

      Good to know, I'm going to check it out for sure then :)

    3. I can understand that, though- especially if it wasn't actually a fantastic read. So that would be pretty frustrating, although I guess it goes to show the book wasn't entiely memorable? *laughs* Definitely a good thing for a reread, though. I'd love not to remember most plot points of my favourite books when I go back to experience them again!

      I hope you love it! xx

  3. This review captures the beauty of Ash and your love for it so well, Romi. Agreed on the subtle enchantment of it. I really do admire Ash as a heroine. We're definitely like changelings crossing over into different magical worlds when we read, which may or may not feel like home.

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Glaiza! That means so much to me. *beams* Ash was such a fantastic heroine, and I loved how she was scared and vulnerable but she still knew what she wanted, and she went for it.

      That's such a gorgeous way of putting it. I know that when I read, I tend to find world I feel mroe comfortable in, or more at home in, or worlds I just want to be a part of, and that's such a wonderful facet of reading. But when I read books like this and I don't want to come out of them? It makes me think I was definitely born for the worlds I love the most to read about.xx

  4. Your review is so lovely. It actually makes me want to read Ash again :O Especially since I really loved Huntress so much. Perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it? I think you have convinced me to give it another go at some point in the future!

    (Also, I have had ideas for our special, secret thing AND FAERIES.)

    1. Aah, thank you! That means so much to me, especially as this is the review I was talking to you about really enjoying writing. So it makes me really happy, if that comes through.
      It does! ACHIEVEMENT. I hope you DO read Ash again, and see if it's a better experience when you know what to expect and know how much you love Huntress, besides.

      SO KEEN. Basically, this comment makes me all the happy, because loveliness and happiness and sparkles. xx


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