Ash by Malinda Lo
Aisling is distraught at the death of her mother, but nothing has prepared her for her life after her father’s remarriage and subsequent death. Torn from the only home she has known in a small village, to serving her step family to “repay” her father’s debts is quite a shock. Her only “friend” is a fairy prince, who is as frightening as he is intriguing. Ash only sees him when she walks in the woods, and then only when he decides to show himself to her.
Ms. Lo’s take on the Cinderella fairy tale replaces the fairy godmother with a fairy prince who demands a price for the wishes he grants. Complicating that potential romance is the growing friendship and attraction between Ash and Kaisa, the King’s Huntress. Sacrifices must be made but who will make them is up in the air.
Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale; I had the Disney sound track on a record as a child and can still sing those songs. I had to have the movie when it was released on VHS even though I was in college at the time. So, I read a lot of retellings of this tale. Ash blends the traditional story with a love triangle, and weaves in its own “old tales” of fairy. I wasn’t familiar with the tales Aisling/Ash told, but then, I haven’t read everything. I am working on it, though! The Huntress is a companion to this book.