Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Page Count: 264 pages
Summary:"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, re-reading 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."

Review: I was intrigued by the blurb of this book, since I don't often read books that feature a LGBT narrator, especially one in a fantasy setting. And while I did enjoy Ash, there was some things about it that didn't impress me as much. I'm trying out a new format for my reviews; tell me if you like it better than the other ones!

The things I did like:
  • The setting. The world-building was really cool - I liked that 'the old ways' meant believing in fairy tales and fae magic and that the new philosophy was a completely practical one. I thought it was super creative.
  • The fairies. Well, there was technically only one, but he was an awesome character; I think he was my favorite. He was one of the only ones that I really connected with - you could totally feel his sorrow.
  • The incorporation of the original fairy tale. The prince of the land, Prince Aidan, was just barely mentioned, but he danced with Ash at the ball and invited all of the most eligible ladies of the land to the ball. I thought it was entertaining that the original fairy tale storyline was completely secondary and the prince's attentions were completely unwanted.
The things I didn't like:
  • The characters. Specifically, the title character, Ash. I didn't connect with her at all and although I kind of liked her development, I couldn't really sympathize with her. She just seemed very stoic and controlled and it was hard to like a character that I didn't see much emotion from, aside from the in the beginning. Kaisa I did like, but I didn't learn much about her, so again, I didn't get the depth of the love between the characters.
  • The romance. No matter the gender, a good romance sweeps me away, and when the two characters finally got together in Ash, I only felt a little glimmer of that. It didn't seem like there was enough development to me, but maybe that's just because I love the development of a romance more than the romance itself.
Overall, I would recommend Ash, but it didn't impress me as much as I thought it would.

Romance: 3/5 stars
Overall: 3.5/5 stars

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