Ash by Malinda Lo
I am a sucker for retold fairy tales. Ash is a Cinderella retelling, but it's its own unique story, so much its own that at times I would forget its origins.
Ash is the Cinderella in our story - a girl in love with fairy tales living in a country town filled with old superstitions. As she is orphaned, she must move in with her late father's recent wife, a lady with two daughters of her own, and is reduced to being merely a servant in the house. At the beginning of her new situation, Ash wants nothing more than to have her mother back, so much that she considers striking a deal with a faery, which will more than likely cost her her life. As the story progresses, Ash is wrapped up in dreams and the Wood - and then she meets the King's Huntress, who slowly changes her mind about life and love. It's their blossoming relationship that allows Ash to re-learn how to live her life as her own.
This is a beautiful story that demands to be read with an open heart and mind. More than a tale of a girl falling in love with a prince and living happily ever after (which doesn't exactly happen, by the way), Ash delves deep into our protagonist's soul and exposes her fears and desires. While I was not completely satisfied with a few plot points and scenes (especially the end - when a faery merely succumbs to Ash's will), I was left with a contented sigh of appreciation for this story.
I went to the library to pick up a few more books that I had put on hold many moons ago. These, too, will easily make it to my favorites list of 2009.
Darklight by Lesley Livingston
The sequel to Wondrous Strange, which I enjoyed quite thoroughly. Have I recently mentioned my love for all things faery?
Splendor by Anna Godbersen
The fourth (and final?!) installment of the Luxe series. Early twentieth century New York never seemed so glamorous.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
I'm most excited about this book. Probably because I ate up The Time Traveler's Wife. But this story sounds rather intriguing as well - twin 20 year-old gals from Chicago head to London to live in their late aunt's flat, uncovering secrets and mysteries about her neighbors and her past.
And I'm still waiting for these to show up with my name on them on my library's hold shelf...