Author: Malinda Lo. Pages: 291.
Publication date: March 4th 2010 by Hodder Children's.
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.
Ash's mother recently died and her father announces - after a couple of weeks traveling for his job - that he found a new wife with two kids. After a short sickbed, her father dies and Ash's world changes in a drastic way. She has to leave everything she knows behind to life with her new 'family.' In order to pay her father's debts, she has to work in their household as maid. Wandering around the forest, Ash meets the elf Sidhean and the Royal King's huntress Kaisa. She must keep her promise to Sidhean when he helps her, but she can't ignore her growing feelings for Kaisa.
This is my first LGBT book, but unfortunately, the romance fell flat to me. I like that Malinda went there and how the romance is subtle. There is no focus on the fact that it's about two lesbian girls and I love that. It didn't feel forced, because love is love, no matter the genders. The thing is, I didn't feel the chemistry between Kaisa and Ash. They spend some time together and I can understand their friendship, but love?
What I also appreciate is the appearance of Sidhean. It was interesting to find out why he is so interested in Ash, but the downside is, that there isn't enough depth in his story. I don't understand his role and the solution from Ash to pay her debt to him was awkward and strange. I actually felt sad for him, because Ash promised him things only to get better from it.
I'd say to try this book if you want to look for something else in the fairy tale genre, but don't expect too much from it.