Lesbian retelling of the beloved CINDERELLA fairy tale What a lovely book It s beautifully written, beautifully told and so interesting.Although the beginning begs the question, Is this really a retelling meaning that it s far too similar to the original story, the rest, however, is full of originality I m going to warn you right away that Ash is a one dimensional character When you think about it, so is Cinderella in the original fairy tale Actually, the majority of fairy tale heroes and heroines are one dimensional, because the focus is on the story and message behind it than the characters themselves.That s why I never expected Ash to be the most three dimensional of characters Still, she is very relatable nonetheless Unlike Cinderella, she has hate in her heart Not a huge amount of it, but it s still present and will not go away in a snap of fingers Cinderella knows not what hate is, so one can argue that Cinderella and Ash are two very different people, despite their circumstances.Oh and, Ash is lesbian That s a major difference Like I said, it s so interesting Instead of solely focusing on retelling the events of CINDERELLA, Malinda Lo plays with the world building as well, giving it an important role in the story In Ash s world, magic is something few believe in now that is has mostly disappeared, but Ash s mother told her of so many stories involving magic and fairies that the belief in it remains in her heart.Granted, it s a slow story Things certainly do not progress at the speed of light But it s a lush story with lush writing and a lovely romance Ash does not know how she feels about the King s Huntress Their relationship, like everything else in the story, evolves slowly It s one of the things that make Ash relatable to us because who never ever questioned their sexuality What a surprising book As in, I really didn t expect to love it so much.Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin This is the fairytale I always wanted I will pick Disney s version of Cinderella over Ash any day and without the slightest hesitation For a book with such a provocative, potentially controversial premise, Ash is dreadfully, painfully dull and lacking in strong emotion and vibrant characters This retelling is both familiar and slightly new albeit in an uninteresting and directionless way In this version, orphaned Ash is forced to be a serving maid to her not so evil stepmother and stepsisters But instead of sneaking into the royal ball and meeting The Prince, Ash comes across a fairy prince and a huntress with whom she has occasional long walks in the woods The Prince never becomes Ash s viable suitor.On a technical level, the book is written well enough Lo s style has some elegance to it However, the style doesn t compensate for the novel s weak plot.Where was the conflict, I d like to ask first I finished the book still searching for one Accepting one s own homosexuality certainly isn t it In the novel s world, being a lesbian is not forbidden, and the main character never for a moment struggles with her sexual awakening.Is it Ash s choice between the fairy prince and the Royal Huntress then No again Considering how little chemistry the heroine has with either of them, that is not the answer.Or maybe it is Ash s shady deal with her fairy suitor But that works out so easily, it s not even worth mentioning.I have noguesses.What makes this already plotless story even less palatable is the lack of any strong feeling in it There is no passion of first real love, there is no fight against time, even the reliable anger towards the stepmother isn t there, because this usually easily hated character isn t sufficiently hate inducing There is not even some humor or witty or heartfelt dialog to liven things up.My overall impression of Ash is that it is dull, boring and pointless If not for its lesbian Cinderella fame, I doubt this novel would have gained any readers at all. Cinderella is a tired tale It s been done It s been redone It s been re redone.So, if I m going to pick up yet another retelling, it really has to blow me away I need to be wowed My socks must be knocked off.Those socks remained firm Not even a twitch In this version, Ash our Cinder is raised by her unsurprisingly evil stepmother and her only joy is rereading fairytales next to the fireplace ashes hence the name Ash how clever She would rather be alone in her room than alone in the midst of a celebration she was not a part of. Just when her life is at the pinnacle of hopelessness and she s sinking into a deep depression, she meets Sidhean He s a member of the fae and promises to whisk her away to his lands.Soon he s all she can think of Only his promises aren t what they seem and she s none the wiserEvery time you come near me, he said, you come closer to the end of everythingThen one day, Ash meets Kasia the Queen s Huntress and through their friendship and eventually love she finds the courage and hope to keep living With her heart hammering in her throat, Ash asked, Will you do me the honor of dancing with me She looked up at Kaisa, and the huntress look of bewilderment was changing, slowly, to a small, tentative smile. I liked the idea of this one The darker aspects of the tale, the menace of the fairies and the sweet romance between Ash and Kasiaonly nothing really clicked for me The characters felt flat, their phrases alternated between wooden and cliche, and the romance was just too predictable No spark.The strongest emotion I felt was just overwhelming boredom and exasperation I lost time that I can never get back.Blog Instagram Twitter eta You know, I figured when I wrote this review that I had made it sufficiently ridiculous and over the top that no one on Earth could possibly take it seriously I mean, I claim that DISNEY INVENTED CINDERELLA, people And then there s the link at the end labeled real review here , which should maybe be a hint But okay, whatever, for those of you who are apparently utterly impervious to sarcasm, here is your blinking neon sign THIS REVIEW IS INTENDED AS SATIRE Also, just fyi, I am pretty sure Johnathan Swift did not eat babies, Irish or otherwise I hope this information this clears many things up for you.The original review Omg, you guys, did you realize that in this book, Cinderella ends up in a LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP How could anyone even imagine such a bizarre thing Because it s not like fairy tales involve the most bizarre shit known to man or anything, and even if they do, lesbians are way weirder And why do you want to go around changing Cinderella in the first place It s not like it s a folktale with thousands of variants all over the world Disney invented it and it s perfect the way it is How dare anyone seek to rework a fairy tale in a manner that relates to their own life and experiences Cinderella belongs to ME and I don t want it to be gay It s not like there are a gazillionty of the usual heteronormative retellings of the story out there for me to enjoy, and besides, I am offended that anyone could even conceive of a fairy tale princess as a lesbian, because it s totally obvious that everything in the world should be catered to ME ME ME and MY desires and experiences Jeez, gay people Always getting the idea that they deserve things of their own, like they think they re actual real people or something Such entitlement, sheesh real review here The GoodReads five star rating system isn t perfect because some books like, say, pretty much all Fitzgerald and Salinger get five stars because I think they re just freaking brilliant writing while other books like, say, Bridget Jones s Diary and the Traveling Pants books get five stars because I love the characters so much Then, of course, there are the Harry Potters and Tales of Despereaux that receive five stars because it s like they retell my whole world Remember how lost you were when you were younger This is what you were looking forAsh was that last thing for me I ve always thought fairy tales were history books, always revered the Woods, always been reckless in pursuit of adventure, always wanted to fall in love with a girl That s this heroine.Once I really got into Ash, I couldn t get out I m giving it four stars for freshness, four stars for writing, five stars for magic and five stars for speaking to greater truth Plus, I am giving it five bonus stars for waking up the little kid in me She doesn t exactly hibernate, but sometimes gets so bored with the adult world that she is forced into a long winter s nap I loved how Malinda I can call her that she was my editor once writes about the smell of magic And this Have you ever wanted to be a princess Ash challenged her That depends, Kaisa said On what On whether I would have to marry a prince. I took Ash by Malinda Lo with me on a trip to Germany in October Turned out to be a good choice The atmosphere, setting, and style of this book all felt very German to me It s a retelling of the Cinderella story except that Ash s love interests are a male fairy of the dark and tortured variety you know a real underhill fairy and a female huntress of pagan rights old world inclination the prince is mere side character I enjoyed Ash very much and it suited not only travel through Germany but travel in general, as it was a comfortable read easy to pick up and put down again yet absorbing enough to entertain and distract from uncomfortable things like airplane take off and landing.To me this book felt like a mix of Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, and The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey I thought Ash might have benefited from a little humor to break up the overwhelming monotony of Ash s depression, but I suspect this very depression is what would make this book so appealing to teen girl readers And, of course, I always wanthumor in my books Sometimes I did feel distanced from Ash and had a hard time relating to her I think I identified farwith the huntress, who was intentionally, I believe the most vibrant character in the story I found myself wondering, in the end, why the huntress fell in love with Ash was it Ash s looks Her personality seemed a little, well, absent Yet I didn t want the huntress to be that shallow This can be attributed to the book s style of fairy tale retelling, which I refer to as distanced or atmospheric writing, practiced by such greats as Patricia McKillip In the end, I was left with an overwhelming urge to reread The Black Swan and the certain knowledge that while I enjoyed Ash very much, and I adore seeing LGBTQ themes in YA fantasy, Ella Enchanted still holds as the first lady of Cinderella retellings in this jaded old heart. Cinderella Retold 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, Rereading 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 GrantedThe 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 LoveEntrancing, Empowering, And Romantic, Ash Is About The Connection Between Life And Love, And Solitude And Death, Where Transformation Can Come From Even The Deepest Grief What starts out as a simple retelling of Cinderella turns into so much , and the Prince is all but forgotten If you know the story of Cinderella then you know most of the beginning of the book, but somewhere near the middle it starts to veer off on its own path Ash has a fairy godfather who watches over her named Sidhean pronounced Sheen I looked it up because it was driving me nuts In order to feel some sort of freedom from her stepmother and stepsisters, Ash takes every opportunity she has to escape into the Wood She meets with Sidhean and they form a sort of friendship, but since Ash spends so much time out in the Wood she also happens upon the King s Huntress, Kaisa, a few times as well Ash and Kaisa also develop a friendship and Ash becomes torn between two worlds and both seem forbidden to her.I m not sure how I feel about the way this story played out It was written well enough and was an interesting retelling of an old tale, but I don t think I liked the way it ended Throughout the book Ash reads and is told by various people many different fairy tales She even remarks near the end of the book that all of the tales were meant to warn people of dangers in life and that there was always a moral to the story I m not sure that Ash really figured out the moral it s almost like she realized a loophole instead.I also felt bad for Sidhean, the Prince, and most of the men in the story as they were basically cast off into the background Even with Sidhean it felt like he wasof an experiment than an actual love interest I ve read stories with strong females before so I guess having a Huntress instead of a Hunter didn t translate to me, it sort of went over my head I also didn t know the author was a lesbian until I read her bio on the last page, and perhaps knowing that before I read this could have clued me into the fact that this was a lesbian romance I think that says something about Lo s ability to create believable relationships though, if I didn t even realize the two of them were supposedly falling in love I mostly enjoyed this novel and I d probably read something else by her in the future A lot of the reviews on here make me pretty sad though, especially the ones that say you shouldn t give this book to a teen to read because it s sick, and how dare she mess with a classic fairy tale Ugh, really The whole point of fairy tale retellings is to make them feel new and different while still keeping some of the themes If you want the same old, same old then just go read whichever original version is your favorite and stop reading retellings you ll be doing everyone a favor. Lesbian Cinderella This was a great and simple and a lovely twist on a classic fairy tale Sidhean is a creeper and the hundreds are a great twist I really really enjoyed this book it does an excellent job melding the feeling of a classic fairytale with amodern style And i would love too readby Malinda Lo.