Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book Release: "Ash" by Malinda Lo

Today, September 1st, a new retelling of Cinderella hits the shelves. The YA book and the debut novel from anthropologist-turned-author Malinda Lo, has a different take on the well known (and oft-retold) tale.

Here's the blurb from Amazon.com:
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.
The first thing that got my attention? Fairies. This is a fairy tale with actual fairies (something far less common than most people realize).

The second thing is the romance. It's not at all surprising to see a Cinderella retelling have romance as a primary element but this one is a lesbian retelling.While this isn't a new thing, there's bound to be some controversy over this, especially being YA.

The vast majority of the reviews I've read (on many different sites) are incredibly favorable and from what I gather the storytelling style is lyrical and very, well, 'fairy tale'.

You can find the 1st chapter HERE.

Malinda's blog gives some fascinating insight into her writing process, including that, being trained in anthropology meant she took a great interest in reading as many variants of Cinderella she could find while preparing to write, along with some additional folklore studies. (A lot of other information about her process and approach is scattered throughout the posts, so I recommend just going to her BLOG and browsing.)

Malinda also discusses how the gorgeous cover was created in considering the themes of the book, by way of personally interviewing the artist/designer (you can read that entry HERE) and answers some frequently asked questions about "Ash" (FAQ available HERE).

This one is definitely on my wish list.

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