Friday, November 13, 2020

Weekend Reads: Ashen by H.L. Burke (Lizzie)

Skin the actual color of ash isn't part of your typical Cinderella retelling, nor is a tiny Scandanavian-like village or powers that could kill someone with a touch, but those are part of why I enjoyed H.L. Burke's YA fantasy retelling of Cinderella Ashen. It's unique plus all the normal stuff--great characters and romance.

Here's the blurb:

Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.

Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

Not only did I love the premise for this Cinderella retelling, Lizbete is a likable, sympathetic character. Her powers and the why behind them are intriguing (I can't tell more about the why without spoilers, but that was interesting too). Brynar, her long-time friend and romantic interest, is likable as well. His struggle with what to do for his future (follow his talents or his father's footsteps to become mayor) and his relationship to Lizbete are understandable. I was a little annoyed with Lizbete for refusing to forgive Brynar for avoiding her for a while, but she gets over it eventually. I liked the secondary characters as well, and the story world, so it was a very good read.

Have you read Ashen? Do you have a favorite Cinderella retelling?

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