Pages - 291
Challenges - GBLT challenge and Once Upon A Time Challenge.
Published in 2010 by Hodder's Childrens Books.
Aisling's mother died at midsummer. She had fallen sick so suddenly that some of the villagers wondered if the fairies had come and taken her, for she was still young and beautiful. She was buried three days later beneath the hawthorn tree behind the house, just as twilight was darkening the sky.
Ash follows a similar storyline to Cinderella, only there is a rather unusual twist in the end. After Ash's mother passes away, her father remarries, only to fall ill and die shortly after, leaving his new wife with lots of debts. Ash is put to work for the family in order to pay for the debts. The king announces that his son will soon be looking for a bride and a battle amongst the females of the town commences. Ash forms an agreement with Sidhean, who grants her a couple of wishes in return for her living with him for ever. Will Ash follow the agreement, or will her heart lead her in another direction.
I know a lot of people haven't really enjoyed this book, but I have to say I absolutely loved it. I found Ash to be a charming lead character, who had to overcome such hardship to find her true love. You feel her pain, after the death of her mother and you only want to nurture her as she grows up. I thought she was portrayed as a very strong female character.
The twist was totally unexpected to me and really an interesting surprise. I know that some people have felt the twist should have been more obvious from the beginning, but I have to disagree. I found the more I read this book, the more I couldn't put it down. I was utterly compelled to finish it quickly.
I found the writing very descriptive and thoughtful. I also found the fairy domain to be intriguing and the cross over between fairy and reality to be believable. For a debut novel, I thought it was brilliant, and I can't work out why others didn't enjoy it.
If you enjoy fairytale retellings, then you will enjoy this one, especially as it doesn't follow the storyline completely. I look forward to reading more by Malinda Lo.