Book Rant: Ash

ash_malindalo_500BOOK RATING: 8/10

Why hello there! Today we are discussing Ash by Malinda Lo. There are going to be spoilers right off the bat here because I need to rant about something.

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Now when I was talking about this book with a friend of mine her immediate reaction was “Oh the lesbian Cinderella story!”  I love that girl dearly but I wanted to smack her through text. And it’s not entirely her fault, it’s just what everyone seems to dwell on about this story and it’s kind of getting on my nerves. Guys the whole lesbian thing is first mentioned on page 142/264 by Kaisa telling a fairy-tale and that story isn’t even about Ash and her. It isn’t until a while after that we get the falling in love thing. And then it isn’t until the very end of the book that we get them being together. I mean like the last 15-20 pages. The point I am trying to make is, yes, this is a love story BUT THAT IS NOT ALL IT IS! There is a lot else going on in this story, and Malinda Lo put a lot of detail into this world and everyone is just so stuck on the “controversial” love story part that they miss it! For some reason everyone’s mind just jumps over the incredible way Malinda Lo wrote about Ash dealing with her mother’s death and Sidhean being her fairy guardian and only friend but also making her feel trapped and the country’s history  and how what is considered common knowledge can changed and be manipulated in a society over only a few generations. And Clara isn’t the typical evil step-sister, she actually has depth to her and we get to see that showing through when it’s just her and Ash. And then we have Ana for some brief moments showing that she’s actually under a lot of pressure from her mother and she actually is just a human girl too, like when Ash gave her the poem that was supposed to make her dream of her future husband. But then Ana hides that part of her and we get the more typical evil-step sister. There is so much going on in such a short book and yet everyone seems to fixate on this one detail. Driving me insane.

Yes, love is obviously a huge theme in this novel, because it was a huge theme in Cinderella too, but it’s not just romantic love. And certainly not just about the love between Ash and Kaisa. There’s Elinor’s love for her daughter and how Ash loves her mother so much she has such a hard time letting her go. It isn’t until well over half-way through the book that she finally comes to terms with the fact that her mother is dead. We see Ash constantly returning for her mother’s grave for comfort and we have her completely willing to abandon her life because of her grief and her belief that by abandoning her life she can somehow get her mother back even though Sidhean tells her constantly that that’s not how it works. Sidhean’s love for Ash is interesting one to because he’s known her and presumably been in love with her since she was a child and Malinda Lo did a really great job at showing how love isn’t selfish. He loved her so much that he through all the fairy laws and such right out the window for her happiness. And that is probably my favourite part in this entire book because a lot of authors, especially YA authors, try for this idea of “loving you enough to let you go” but this is one of the only books that has actually done it. Sidhean totally released her and then left her alone to be in love with Kaisa. No strings, no him coming back to fight for her, nothing. He was so in love with her he knew that making her be with him would just hurt her.  And Kaisa’s and Ash’s relationship started as friendship with Ash learning to trust and love again after being so hurt and lonely for so long. It’s just beautiful how Ash re-learns what it’s like for someone to care for you and to care about someone back. I would call their relationship cute and sweet but it’s really too dark a story for that to fit. But it is really. In the middle of this really dark, sad story we have Ash learning how to ride and Kaisa telling her to come to the hunt and Gwen sneaking her out to the Yule bonfire and all these little moments of happiness.

This was a really good book, it was quite bittersweet. I just think it’s a shame that people focus on one aspect of it and miss the whole message behind it.

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