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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 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.
Ash is much closer to the original Cinderella. Ash is young when her mother dies, and soon after, her father remarries. But, as with the traditional fairy tale, he soon passes too, and Ash is left with a cruel stepmother who blames her and her father for the crippling debt she’s left with. So (no surprises here), she forces Ash to become her servant.
I liked Ash a lot. It takes the traditional tale of Cinderella and infuses it with a lot more fairy magic. It also focuses a lot on the King’s huntsmen -- and, in particular, Ash’s relationship with the King’s Huntress. The tone of the book is mystical, and it adds a lot to the traditional story. The Goodreads summary calls it “Entrancing, empowering, and romantic,” and I definitely agree!
I liked that Ash was Cinderella, but not -- Ash runs with fairies, and (a bit of a spoiler) doesn’t fall for the prince and live happily ever after. Ash brings a bit of diversity to the world of YA, and it’s really well done. I gave Ash four stars.