|Ash (UK/Kindle cover image)|
The protagonist, Ash (Aisling), begins as a beloved child, then suddenly becomes an orphan and servant girl. Initially the same old fairytale, it changes after the childhood backstory is over, and Aisling starts to actually play a real person.By the age of eighteen, she's flirting with danger, in the form of her only friend - a fairy cursed with love, who threatens to steal her away once she's old enough - and is slowly developing a real friendship, blossoming into love, with Kaisa, the King's huntress.
Traditionally, women always lead the hunt - and nobody looks askance at two girls together. While it is assumed that Ash might chase a prince, there are a few glimpses of female couples throughout the story.
|Ash by Malinda Lo|
The descriptions probably have more life than the characters, but overall, Ash is more magical than the original Cinderella, with more of the unpredictable fairyworld than a convenient and safe fairy Godmother, the stepfamily is far less over the top - with no chopping off of heels and toes (but still believably unsavoury), and the prince does not get the girl.
Oh, and the cover of the New Zealand/UK version was prettier. It had shiny metallic foil colours which aren't really visible in the photo above.
- Nominee for the 2009 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Finalist for the 2010 William C. Morris YA Debut Award
- A Kirkus Best Young Adult Book of 2009
- 2009 Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Children's/Young Adult literature
- Nominee for best novel (Children's Literature) at the 2010 Northern California Book Awards.
- Shortlisted for Best Novel, Gaylactic Spectrum Awards 2010
- Finalist for the 2010 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature
- Finalist for the NCIBA 2010 Book of the Year (Teen Fiction)
- A starred selection of the ALA’s 2010 Rainbow List
- Selected for the 2009 Locus Recommended Reading List
- Long-listed for the 2010 James Tiptree, Jr. Award
- Selected for the CCBC Choices 2010 list
- Selected for the New York Public Library’s 2010 Stuff for the Teen Age
- Selected for the CBC/Bank Street College of Education’s 2010 Best Children’s Books of the Year (PDF)
- Nominated for the 2011 Rhode Island Teen Book Award
- Selected for the Autumn ’09 Kids’ Indie Next List
|Huntress by Malinda Lo|
The people are suffering from famine and two girls (Kaede and Taisin) are sent on a quest to find the Fairy Queen and ask for help with the weather. Rather than a Celtic-Cinderella story, Huntress is a mix of English and Asian fairytales.
Having now read it, I can say that Huntress is a much, much better book than Ash and I would definitely recommend it.