Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ash by Malinda Lo

Aisling - Ash for short - grows up as a servant in her stepmother's household after her parents die. She spends whatever free time she has either reading fairytales or walking in the woods. Ash is attracted to two different people: Sidhean, a handsome and powerful fairy, and Kaisa, the King's Huntress. Where does her future lie?

It has been far too long since I've read a lesbian-themed retelling of a traditional story. This one is pitch-perfect. Even the design details of the book (published by Little, Brown, 2009) add to the atmosphere, with elaborate drop-capitals opening each chapter and judicious use of an elegant script font for the first line.

Any sexual references are oblique. For example, when Ash asks "Will I die?" the answer is "Only a little" and then the scene changes to the next morning. I am comfortable recommending this novel to Grade 6 and up. A shorter retelling of the Cinderella story can be found in Emma Donoghue's lesbian-feminist collection, Kissing the Witch.

No comments: