19 Apr / Ash by Malindo Lo
The good news is you will probably find Malindo Lo‘s young adult debut hard to put down. The bad news is that you will probably find it hard to find at all. At least for awhile … it doesn’t hit bookstores until September. So this post is a bit of a tease, I realize, but you can also consider it an ample heads up to watch for it.
Young Ash loses her beloved mother at 12, her father remarries too quickly, and brings home three rather unpleasant strangers. The father soon dies a mysterious death, leaves horrendous debts as his legacy (so says the cruel stepmother) so Ash must work, work, work in his place. During the few chances she has to escape from her cruel stepfamily, she wanders the woods, comes upon a magical creature – a brooding fairy named Sidhean – and falls under his spell. That is, until she meets the bewitching Kaisa, the King’s Huntress. Who will win Ash’s true heart?
While the novel is not perfect, it will keep you reading: it’s a lesbian retelling of Cinderella! How’s that for a new twist on an old tale? And it’s populated with dark fairies and greenwitches – in addition to the familiar mean stepmother and tedious stepsisters (although one of them actually shows signs of a bit of humanity by tale’s end) – rather than fairy godmothers or shape-shifting mice.
Now here’s the spoiler alert: The mother’s fairy curse definitely didn’t work for me – the connection seemed too forced, not to mention disturbingly tinged with the suggestion of pedophilia. And I would have liked to know more about greenwitch Maire Solanya who seemed to have such promise in the opening chapters but too soon disappears. But bottom line: details aside, the story will definitely keep you turning those pages.
Readers: Young Adult