Wednesday, September 8, 2010
It didn't take more than a few pages for me to realize that this is a retelling of the Cinderella story. And I must admit that I was a tad disappointed when I first understood that, fearing it would be trotting out the same old story to the usual inevitable conclusion, as it's been done so many times before. Soon, though, I became interested in Ash's unique personality and the unusual relationship she has with what appears to be a faery, menacing or beneficent - it's hard to tell.
Then the story veers away from the expected, with a delightful twist and a change of direction that I thoroughly enjoyed. I found this to be a welcome addition to my favorite fairytale retellings. The language was lyrical and evocative, with a definite once-upon-a-time feeling, but the characters are much more complex and real than their two-dimensional fairytale counterparts. Ash's stepsisters aren't thoroughly evil and spiteful characters for simple sake of the storyline. They can be unpleasant, but we see their shortcomings in the perspective of their own difficulties in life and how they are attempting to cope with them. I also enjoyed the romance, the believable development of love between characters, rather than a more superficial love-at-first sight. I look forward to reading more of Malinda Lo's work.
Ash by Malinda Lo (Little, Brown and Company, 2009)
Source: My local public library
Also reviewed at:
Rhinoa's Ramblings: "One of my most enjoyed books so far this year and I am so glad the cover was pretty enough to catch my eye as I might have missed it otherwise."
The Story Siren: "What a outstanding debut novel! Malinda Lo absolutely blew me away. The writing was elegant, beautifully lyrical."
Things Mean a Lot: "...the world of Ash is complex and fully realized. It's very much its own thing, but it reminded me of the worlds of The Goose Girl or Ella Enchanted, two of my favourite fairy tale retellings."