Monday, November 28, 2011

Ash by Malinda Lo

I'll admit I was nervous as hell going into this book. I had read so many reviews that said this book was "meh" and it's been sitting on my shelf for so long in anticipation and I was worried that I would have that same "meh" reaction. Not that that reaction is a bad one to have, I just enjoy loving everything I read :p If only that were always the case. Well, I'm happy to announce that I absolutely loved this book! I honestly can't think of anything that I didn't love about it. Well there were certainly parts that broke my heart and I didn't love that, but wow this book was good. For those who don't know, Ash is Malinda Lo's retelling of Cinderella. Aisling, aka Ash, is forced to live with her new stepmother and two stepsisters when her father dies. And it's made known immediately that they are not fond of her. She's made the servant of the house and is, to put it bluntly, treated like shit. But ash finds escape in a fairy named Sidhean, a man who promises her an escape from the horrible world she's been thrown into. But she questions if she wants that escape when she falls in love with, not the prince, but the king's Huntress, Kaisa. I loved Ash and Kaisa's relationship so much and the way it built. It was slow, never rushed and the moments where the two were together were filled with tension, awkwardness and love. Those sweet moments are contrasted by the horrible emotional and physical abuse that's thrown on her by her stepmother and one stepsister in particular. Those scenes truly did crush me, particularly towards the end. I'm not always crazy about fairy tale retellings, but Lo took this tale and spun it on it's heels. It's also never a blatant LESBIAN romance between Ash and Kaisa. It's just a romance, and such a sweet one at that. I don't think she used that as a gimmick, it seemed quite natural and quite beautiful and never forced, which is a rarity in lgbt literature. At least from what I read. So often, lgbt books scream LOOK WE'RE GAY and I guess that bugs me sometimes. Why do two people have to be labeled a certain way and set apart? Why can't it just be two PEOPLE loving each other. In this book it is. And I'm so happy that she wrote this one so well, because in her beautiful storytelling, she won me over as a fan. ETA: Ana wrote an AMAZING sunday salon post today that touches somewhat on what I was talking about in my last paragraph...go read it and be sure to read the comments too!! Great discussion going on there.

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