‘Ash’ Review

Title: Ash

Author: Malinda Lo

Genre: Romance, LGBT, YA fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal


Let me say this first. I am a supporter of LGBT. I don’t judge because of your sexuality. If you’re gay, good for you! I am willing to protect people who are, say, bisexual or transsexual. I don’t mind that. These are real problems.

And I think this author does a pretty good job of this story.


Go LGBT pride! Don’t judge for who someone loves!


Premise: This premise is pretty attractive. A girl named Aisling (or Ash as she is better known throughout the book) is the new Cinderella. We figure out what she is in love with a huntress named Kaisa. And she has a fairy lurking behind her. There are a lot of fairies in this story. And, hilarious enough, there are fairy tales. (You know…Cinderella. Fairy tale.)


Plot: The plot is, admittedly, slow and a bit dull. I don’t exactly like romance books to begin with. I am open-minded and continued to read.

Yes. It is still pretty slow.

There is no action. The only action is whenever Ash gets dreams. Her dreams are a good part of the book, but it is not necessary. Yes, it does lead up to things. For some reason, unless the dreams have meaning, dreams aren’t very…good in books. Not many people do them right. There was minimal action in the hunting scene. I feel like Malinda Lo doesn’t have much experience in the action department.

And the time in this book seems to rush by so fast. I could barely keep up! It was Ash as a child then her somewhere in between childhood and teenage years. If the chapters had years, that would be helpful.

The romance is lacking. There seems like no chemistry between Kaisa and Ash. What is there? It is a friendship type. And I don’t know why it’s romance. Sure, Kaisa seems to have a little crush on Ash, but that’s all. When does Ash realize her feelings? When does Ash ever have feelings? I feel like this is a bit more along the lines of unrequited love than anything else.

I do think this story follows the Cinderella tale similarly. There is the death of a father. The ball. (Many balls, in fact. It’s hard to place which one. There is the one where Ash went with a cloak on. And the one where she danced with Aidan.) The stepsisters! (I do think the Grimm Brothers made their Cinderella gory. Cutting your toes off? Really? Drastic, much?) I do like Clara. To an extent. She’s a good stepsister which is something the original story doesn’t have. The stepmother is a total bitch. Which is completely and utterly expected!

The meetings with Kaisa are interesting. But not much. The one by the river is one of my favorites. Other than that…it’s dull really.


Character Development:

This is a good thing. The characters are…interesting to begin with. We have Ash and her secrets. Sidhean.

Ash. Ash. She is an interesting character. She has to keep sneaky and  subtle. She is someone who is clinging to the image of her mother. She is someone who keeps to herself when alone. She yearns and dreams. I do like dreamer characters. She is a character I do like. She grows from this child (literally) to this girl. She learns to love. And care. She is abused and hurt by her stepmother and Ana. I do admire her strength. She might cry at times, but she is good at keeping it together. She is a bit…too emotionless at times. She is so…odd. She keeps back her emotions. That’s why I don’t like her at times. The emotionless Ash.

Kaisa. I don’t like Kaisa. Her personality is hard to place. She is funny at times. Cute maybe. Interesting, definitely. I do feel like she is hiding a secret. This book could be entirely on Kaisa. It wouldn’t be Cinderella, but she is interesting enough. But. I don’t like her. I feel like her romance is love at first sight. There is not much to build on. She is someone who is a bit…standoffish. She’s a huntress, the King’s Huntress, but she doesn’t like the gore of it. That is just crazy.

Sidhean. I do like him. He’s a character who keeps his secrets close. He is mysterious with the air of something else I can’t place. He’s a mysterious character. And I like mysterious characters.

Evil stepmother. She is really devious. I dislike her. She is someone I would like to punch. She is so rude to Ash. She really plays the part of evil stepmother.

Ana. Ana is annoying. A bitch. She is the evil stepsister. I see that. It’s obvious. She hates Ash. I feel, though, that she is a bit jealous that Ash gets that beautiful dress. She wants power and money. That’s what Ana wants. But…is she jealous of Ash? Maybe.

Clara. Clara is a sweetheart. I expected her to get Aidan. She had a crazy crush on him, but she did try to be nice to Ash. She really is a character I want to read more about.


Problems: Hm. There are a few problems in this book. The romance is a bit…lacking. Between anyone really. The romance between Sidhean and Ash. The romance between Ash and Kaisa. Neither is really…convincing. I don’t want to label this as romance. There are only maybe two kisses shared. While kisses alone aren’t a judge on romance, romance isn’t built on trust alone.

Another problem is how slow it is. There is nothing. It zips through her life between her mother’s death until her father’s death. It’s like one of those runners who overestimate their ability. They speed through perhaps the first lap, but then they get slow. It is something I have a problem with. This book isn’t evenly paced.

This book is…actionless. There is nothing really. It’s dull without action. The romance isn’t much either. The hunt isn’t anything big. It’s over within a chapter. It’s quick. And…barely bloody.


Good Points: This book is nice. It explores LGBT in a new light. I do think putting Sidhean as a fairy godfather was a nice touch. The story follows the Cinderella story nicely. There isn’t much to say. I don’t particularly like it. It’s just okay. It’s not the best books. It’s not the worst. The LGBT is what attracted me, and I had that slice of me fulfilled. The book is short which makes it a quick read. That’s it really. Nothing else… Not important.


This book is definitely not this. Look at her. She is not Aisling. She is not Ash.


Score: 6/10

Recommended: For those who like retellings of Cinderella. For those who like LBGT fiction. For those who like a bit of fantasy.




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