Reviewed by Heather C
Author: Malinda Lo
The Heroines: Ash & Kaisa
Genre: YA Fantasy, F/F
Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 11, 2009
Available at: Amazon & Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf at: Goodreads & Booklikes
Blurb: 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, re-reading 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 granted.
The 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 love.
Entrancing, 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.
This book has been sitting on my Kindle for over a year, and when it was decided that our blog would host a YA week, I figured it was the perfect time to knock it out. Eh, well, it wasn’t anywhere near as enjoyable as I predicted. In fact, I wanted to DNF it numerous times, and only pushed through because I didn’t have time to choose another book. 😦
This is pretty much a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale…with a heavier influence on “fairy”. After the death of her mother, Ash’s father soon remarries, bringing home a greedy step-mother and two selfish step-sisters. Sound familiar? Not long after that, Ash’s father succumbs to some freaky illness, and once the doctors have “bled” him to death, Ash is forced to become a household servant in order to pay off her father’s supposed debts. Ah, but Ash spends her free time remembering all the fairy tales her mother told her as a child and discovering new ones in her fairy tale books. One night, during a visit to the Wood, Ash encounters Sidhean, a fairy who has been cursed to fall in love with her. They stroll together through the Wood (sometimes even in her dreams) for several years as Ash ages. Then one day, Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, and the two develop a close friendship over the season. Sidhean becomes very jealous and strikes a bargain with Ash…making her promise she will give herself to him if he grants her a few wishes…
As you can tell, the story closely follows the Cinderella storyline. Usually, I love this type of story, but this just didn’t keep me interested:
- There were way to many fairy tales being told. I couldn’t see how they were important to progression of the story.
- There were too many dreams. I couldn’t keep up with what was really happening and what was a dream.
- I never felt any connection between Ash and Sidhean. Actually, I didn’t even recognize his obsession with her until he became threatening.
- Ash and Kaisa didn’t even meet until the 50% point of the book. I read half of the book before Ash ever met the “love interest”!!
- I did feel a little connection between Ash and Kaisa. It was sweet and gentle; nothing overwhelming or heartwrenching.
- I still don’t understand what happened to Ash when she “went” with Sidhean??????????????????? It was basically a non-event, when it should have been the big culmination point in the story…I think.
There’s a HEA, I think, but at that point, I was just happy to be finished.
Overall Impression: I Wasn’t Feeling It
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*