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From the beginning, I knew that Ash was a retelling of the classical fairytale Cinderella. I was however, completely unaware of the twist that makes Malinda Lo’s Debut novel so unique. When I finally caught onto the direction the book was heading I think my initial thoughts were, ‘Oh my…’ followed by, ‘That’s different’ to just simply ‘…wow’. All I can say is that this book totally blew me away.
Beautifully written, Malinda Lo instantly captivates her readers with her lyrical prose, vivid imagery and atmospheric detail. She creates a fantastical fairy world that completely grips your imagination from page one. With exciting characters of all kinds, this book is so much more than a simple re-telling. Not only does it explore Ash’s world and life in great detail but it reveals the how, what and why behind her choices - particularly in how she deals with her unexpected attraction towards the king’s huntress.
However on that note, while I must admit that I do prefer the classic version where Cinderella falls for the Prince, I would really hate to see this novel become labelled as just ‘the lesbian version’ as this story has so much more to offer. Written in a depth of magic and back story, Malinda Lo’s ‘Ash’ explores the themes of first love, friendship and sexuality. It is also a truly an amazing tale of romance, adventure and growing up.
Therefore I thought ‘Ash’ was a stunning debut novel and I think it will appeal to any older teen or above who is willing to keep an open mind. A beautiful but slow paced read, it is the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day. Completely different to anything I’ve ever read, this is an author whose books everyone should try at least once.