Cinderella and Ash: a book review

By: Rachel Lyle, March 24th, 2017

I have always loved the story of Cinderella and it has always been at the top of my list of favorite fairy tales. My favorite parts were always when Cinderella got to get dressed up in the beautiful gown or gowns, when she got to go to the ball or balls, and when she finally got to marry the handsome prince. I loved these parts because I love fashion and love dressing up and seeing other peoples fashion and I don’t care what other people think about the way I dress or not, so when Cinderella got to dress up and go to the ball and see everybody in their beautiful gowns and handsome suits, I always get a little jealous of her. I also loved the ending because no matter who writes the story or what version it is the stepmother and the stepsisters always, always,always get exactly what they deserve.

Because of my love for this story I am always looking for new versions of this story. I always love reading this story from different perspectives or different angles or when it’s written as “what actually happened” or making it look like it was really cinderella who was in the wrong or brought it upon herself, so when I read Ash by Malinda Lo for my young adult and adolescent literature class this semester, I loved it.

I love what Lo did with the story in the way she wrote it and how changed it in so many ways. I especially love the way she describes the clothing that people in the book wear,

There were riding breeches made of creamy leather and a tunic of dark green, embroidered at the cuffs and collar in rich gold thread that matched the pattern of leaves and vines tooled into the leather satchel. There was a brown hooded cloak made of light wool, and brown leather riding gloves, and at the bottom of the satchel there was a pair of riding boots finer than Ash had ever worn. (Pg. 166)

An ice-blue silk dress flooded out over her patchwork coverlet like a rush of cool water. The bodice was embroidered with hundreds of tiny crystal beads in a complex pattern of flowers, and in the dusky light that came through the window, the bodice shimmered like the scales of a fish. (Pg. 208)

This version of the story portrays Cinderella as a lesbian rather than a straight woman. Instead of Cinderella the main character’s name is Aisling and everyone calls her by her nickname Ash as the book title implies and her stepsisters are only cruel to her if her stepmother forces them to be.

In the story there is a lot of fairy lore and traditions in Ash’s hometown and country and the fairies look like humans only with a magical aura about them and an intimidating demeanor about them. Ash, after her mother dies, gets remarried, and then dies from sickness himself, moves with her stepmother and stepsisters to their home several towns away. Shortly after this she takes a walk in the woods on an enchanted fairy path to her mother’s grave near her old home where she meets a male fairy named Sidhean. She keeps going back to the wood to see him and starts to think she is in love with him but then she meets the King’s Huntress, Kaisa, and thinks she is beautiful and falls in love with her without realizing that she is in love with her. When she first sees the prince at a royal hunt she isn’t all impressed, she doesn’t find him all that attractive and when she is at the ball that the king hosts a masked for the prince to choose a bride she dances once with the prince without realizing he is the prince. Then when she realizes who she danced with she’s just like screw him and goes to find Kaisa, the huntress. She does eventually realize that she is in love with Kaisa and not Sidhean. I won’t say what happened in the ending of the book but I will say I loved it and it was awesome. I give this book a ten out of ten and I would read it again several times over.


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