Ash by Melinda Lo

Title: Ash
Author: Melinda Lo
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Source: Library
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
Rating: 4 out of 5

My Thoughts: By now most of us know this book is a retelling of the favorite childhood fairy tale -Cinderella. But this is book is similar enough to remind you of Cinderella but different enough to have a flavor of its very own.

Aisling or Ash has to live with her step-mother and 2 daughters after her parents death.  Ash has grown up in a world where people are afraid of magic and the disbelief is beginning to take hold. People no longer believe in magic and curses and fairies. But there are some who do. Ash’s mother was one of them. After her parents death, to get away from her everyday deary life,  Ash finds refuge in the jungle close to her house.

And then she meets Kaisa. Kaisa is the King’s head huntress. Gradually there forms a bond between Ash and Kaisa. What I loved most about the novel is how the author describes their attraction effortlessly. There is no talk about how Ash is attracted to a women. It seems natural which is just as it should be.

I didn’t like Ash as a character but I understood her most of the times. I was more enamored by Kaisa. She seemed like such an intriguing person. Also, loved the fairy tales in the novel. I had lots of fun reading them.

One thing I would like to admit here is that I did not feel a lot of romance between Ash and Kaisa. I was wondering if it was the writing or if the situations themselves weren’t romantic enough when suddenly I had a weird thought. I tried substituting Kaisa with a man in my head and tried to re-imagine the situations. I have to say the romance was nicely and beautifully built.

It probably happened because I am not a lesbian and I found it difficult to get into the romance, which again takes me to another point. If I as a non-lesbian can find it difficult to get into lesbian romance, it would be difficult for GLBT people to get into a man-woman romance as well. Isn’t it just unfair that we have such small number of GLBT books and even lesser awareness about them?

I was always with GLBT literature but now I feel very strongly about it. I hope we have more books like Ash.

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12 thoughts on “Ash by Melinda Lo

  1. I enjoyed reading this book. I quite agree with you that there wasn’t much romance being described between Ash and Kaisa, but I think their attraction towards each other is simply beautiful and yes, natural. I definitely look forward to reading more books by Malinda Lo.

  2. What a fantastic observation about how it’s more difficult for straight women to pick up on subtle romance with lesbian couples. It just isn’t what I automatically leap to, whereas for me at least many male-female pairings automatically have that avenue for romance open just because that’s how I am myself. There should definitely be more LGBT romances in mainstream novels; I was thrilled at how natural and well written this one was. It was a great book otherwise, too.

  3. I will be looking out for this book. I don’t think I’ve seen it here at the bookstores, but I’ll keep looking. I must say I like lesbian stories and I’ve watched a few movies such as THE GYMNAST and LOVING ANNABELLE, and they all made me cried senseless.

  4. Great review! I have this one too but haven’t read it yet. I think it’s an interesting question, whether you can get into a romance when people have a different sexual orientation? I just read Boy meets Boy by David Levithan and was surprised by how well I got get into the love story, “even though” it was a bout two guys. I think that, in this case as in yours, it might be because of the writing, but being different from the characters certainly plays a role in that, too. Same thing when I read a book about characters living through wars, famine, etc : I can relate to a certain extent, but never having been through this, it is sometimes difficult.

    I agree with you though, there is a too small number of GLBT books around. It’s already difficult, sometimes, to fins a book that you can relate too, I wish there were more of those around!

    • I hope it’s the writing, I would definitely read one more GLBT books, maybe Boy meets Boy before deciding whether GLBT books are for me or not, especially the ones that have romance in them.

  5. I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down as soon as I’d started it…but I anticipated a relationship between Sidhean and Ash since I myself am straight. I found it very difficult to continue the book once I found out it was a ‘lesbian reltelling of cinderella’. I just felt like I’d been tricked, because I couldn’t relate to the relationship and was excited to see what became of Sidhean and Ash’s relationship. If I’d have known it was going to be like this from the beginning, I would have been fine, but it reeeally bothered me once I found out because I desperatly wanted her and Sidhean to be together </3

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