Ash - Malinda Lo Well, this book was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. When I first heard about this book, there was nothing but negative reviews on it. I didn't understand what all the hate was about so, me being the sick and twisted little girl that I am, I wanted nothing more than to check this book out. After all, I do love tormenting myself with all the negativity. XD Also, I don't really like to listen to people when they tell me not to read something for it is shit. For me, I have to see for myself whether something is shit or not. Anyway, I went to the library, saw this novel standing right on the shelf, and decided to take it home with me. Well, as soon as I started reading it, I could tell that I was going to like this book. The way it was designed and the the writing just pulled me in right away. It was so refreshing to read something that was different from the norm of all the other books that are being published today. The story stays pretty close to the original fairy tale of Cinderella (with minor exceptions), the characters (for the most part) are entertaining, the plot enchanting, and the writing being phenomenal. I am very happy to have picked up this book.

Malinda Lo did a wonderful job on writing this book. Her writing style!!! Oh man! Can I just fangirl for a little bit!? I can!? Oh, you're so nice~ WSFJKJHFIJHAOGJOLAJIFPAJFOIAPJAZOASJNDCKNSHNADHNSJNKSMKMDNFKJNFJSFIJFIEDFHNSIFCJSZKJOSJDISJFISHS!!!
Okay... now that THAT'S out of the way, I can continue talking like a decent reviewer. I am in LOVE with Lo's writing style. She wrote this book in the ways of old. You know? Like those books you picked up that were written hundreds of years ago? Yeah, like that. It's almost as if you are reading the original fairy tale itself! I'm telling you, it was the writing that kept me engaged throughout most of the book! It's so smooth and lyrical. I felt like I was being pulled into the world that Lo created for us based on that very loving fairy tale. Her own additions to the story were great, too! I love the liberties she took with it. I know a lot of people seem to disagree with me but I thought it was brilliant and unique. People seem to hate change but, for me, I welcome it. I give Lo credit because it takes balls for someone to write something of this nature for the general public considering most would just hate her for it because she "ruined a classic." I say, "Go screw yourselves and let her write what she wants!!!" Her additions of fairies, gryphons, and other magical creatures made the book that much more endearing. It reminded me of the numerous amounts of books I read as a child and for that, I must thank Lo. Everything about this book was great and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Characters time!!! Let's start with our leading lady, Aisling! (Or Ash for short.) She was an okay heroine. I say okay because there were moments in the novel where she got on my nerves. She wasn't annoying like most YA female protagonists. No. I liked that she didn't go all goo-goo ga-ga over some male or lost her self-respect way before the half-way mark of the book. She actually had a brain for the most part. What I didn't like about her was the fact that she used to let people walk all over her. I know that's true with the original tale as well but... this is a re-telling! For fuck's sake, grow a pair! Ash stood there most of the time allowing for her stepmother and stepsister do whatever the heck they pleased with her. The told her to clean something, she does it. They tell her to cook something, she does it. They slap her in the face, she takes it. They tell her to bend over, and she lets them shove a monkey up her butt! It's all so aggravating! By the end of the story, you know that Cinderella finally stands up for herself but that never really did satisfy me. In this novel, it's no exception. I wanted something more! It felt a little anti-climatic to me. The ending was cute but... not strong enough. Still, I did enjoy her character and this book as a whole. How about the love interest, Kaisa? She's the King's Huntress. Badass, right? She was amazing! By far, my favorite character. She was strong, kind, gentle, loving, a man! She was a man! I loved her so much! I am so taken with her~ The only thing I have to complain about it the fact that she's not in the novel all that much. It's a shame, really, because she has the potential to do so much more than what she did. She was pushed to the background in some cases when I wanted to see her shine! Oh well. I suppose it had to be that way considering this is Ash's story and what she had to do to overcome her endeavors. At least they had a very sweet romance. AND IT WASN'T INSTALOVE!!! THANK BLOODY GOD!!!

The side characters were pretty good. There's the stepmother, Isobel, who I swear needs to be shot multiple times and run over. Jesus, what a bitch! I couldn't stand her. Then again... I couldn't stand the stepmother from the original fairy tale either so great job there. Then there's Ana, eldest stepsister, and I hated her more than the stepmother, ironically enough! She was so spoiled and bratty and stupid and petty and the list goes on but I'm going to stop it there because the insults are never-ending. Seriously, someone give that chick a slice of pie. I hated how all she thought about was getting married and getting rich. Damn! What a materialistic, superficial, little whore! DX MOVING ON! Clara, youngest stepsister, wasn't as bad as the other one. I actually grew to like her as the novel progressed. She genuinely seemed to want to become friends with Ash but because of circumstances, wasn't able to. Still, she was nice. Sidhean, a magical fairy, was... I don't know how to describe him. Even now I have no idea how I feel about him. I want to say I like him... in fact, I do. He's not a bad character... it's just... he leaves you with a feeling of... caution. You have no idea whether to trust him or not. As if... he might just be trying to fool you... after all, he IS a fairy and those suckers can be tricky little bastards. But I can't say anymore about him because that'll ruin everything. Just know that, after much contemplating, I really do like him. You see? The characters are all rather enjoyable. You like the ones you're supposed to like and you hate the ones you're supposed to hate. It's all so simple and sweet~ Even if I have my complaints about some of the characters (especially Ash), I still think all the characters were very much enjoyable!

Trust me, readers. This book is not as bad as others make it out to be. It's filled with magic, sweetness, love, and calm. It might not be action-packed but that's not what this story is all about. It's about the fantasy, the joy at finding someone you love no matter how different you are. It's about being able to conquer your fears and discovering that strength you thought you lost long ago. It's about... happiness. Don't let some minor detail to the story throw you off from enjoying it for what it is. As I said earlier, it's not a perfect book, but it is still worth the read. I definitely think this is a book that you must read for yourself to see whether you would like it or not. If you don't, then that's fine. If you do, then great! Just don't let a little thing like this as the romance throw you off. It seems to be one of the main reasons people don't like this book which, to me, is petty. Anyway, go ahead and check this book out! It's pretty good! If you do decide to check it out, then I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, if not more! Till next review~