Friday, May 14, 2010
Author: Malindo Lo
Publisher: Little, Brown Books (2009)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Malinda Lo's ASH is commonly referred to as a Cinderella tale with a twist. Similar to the original tale you have a man with a daughter who marries a woman with two daughters. Shortly after this new union, the man dies and his daughter essentially becomes a servant in the home of her step-mother. However unlike the Disney version the fairy godmother in this version is male, darker in nature and more representative of traditional fey mythology. Yet, Sidhean, Ash's fairy godparent, is not really where the twist lies. In Lo's version we are introduced to the Huntress who leads the royal hunts. It is here that the story veers. Ash enters into a friendship with Kaisa, the current Huntress. It is through this friendship that Ash's life changes.
As I read ASH, I had mixed feelings. I had heard such wonderful things about the book. Yet the first part of the story felt slow and flat. It wasn't until the second half of the book that my interest picked up. However, something was still off for me. In conversations with friends, my thoughts about the book became clearer. I actually loved Lo's descriptions of the world and it was her world that I wanted to see more of without the restraints of the Cinderella story. It almost seemed like the need to maintain certain elements of Cinderella distracted from the core of the story which was more centered around Ash's connection to Sidhean and her growing relationship with Kaisa. I wanted more of the world of faeries and the history of the Huntress and less of Cinderella.
So even though I had mixed feelings about ASH, I was actually really excited to find out that Malinda Lo is currently working on a companion novel/pre-quel entitled the HUNTRESS. I am hoping that with her next book I will get the richness of Lo's writing with what I expect is a fascinating world of the Huntresses.
Enjoy the rest of Children's Book Week by grabbing a book. Happy Reading!