Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: Huntress

Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo's highly acclaimed novel
Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

I was such a fan of Ashby Malinda Lo that I couldn't wait for Huntressto hit shelves. Huntress is something of a prequel to Ash. Kaede and Taisin's story is told in Ash, but here we get to see the story unfold. Taisin is a student at the Academy moving towards her goal of becoming a sage. When she gets visions of herself on a journey, she brings it to her teachers.

In her visions, she sees herself, Kaede (another student), and Prince Con on a journey to Taninli, the land of the sidhe. Stories say that humans and fey once had a connection, but they have cut themselves off from each other for so long, that the humans aren't even sure the sidhe still exist. Until they get an invitation from the queen herself. Their land is dying. Each summer is less and less like summer until the year that spring doesn't seem to be coming at all. So these three set out on a journey with three guards to see if the queen can answer the question of the seasons not changing.

Kaede and Taisin are both training to be sages. Taisin seems to have a knack for many sage duties while Kaede has none. But being the daughter of the king's Chancellor, much is expected from her. Including marriage to Lord Win. Taisin knows from her visions that she and Kaede will fall in love, but she's refusing to let that happen. After all, a sage must make a vow of celibacy.

One thing I loved about both Huntress and Ash, was that we have straight characters and gay characters, and they are who they are. A character comes out as being gay and that's that. There are no arguments. No being ashamed. No issue with their life choices. And, personally, I think that's beautiful. That's how this world should be. Everyone should be free to love who they love without others' taking issue. Most of the time, LGBT books center around issues that occur when a character "comes out" because, unfortunately, that's the world we live in. But I think it's nice to have a book that doesn't revolve around a character being gay. That it's just a part of who they are.

I'm generally not a fan of high fantasy, but I loved this book. It was beautifully told, and I adored the characters. Kaede and Taisin were adorable together, and watching their love grow was beautiful. The supporting characters were great as well, as was the story. I'm looking forward to reading more from Malinda Lo in the future.


Lucia (iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books) said...

Lovely review. Lo's writing really is beautiful, and Kaede and Taisin were a great, natural couple. :)

Midnyte Reader said...

I haven't read any fantasy in so long. These books seem like a great way to get back into it.

Midnyte Reader said...

Love that their sexual preference is a non issue...as I think it should be in real life. This sounds like a cool story, but I still have to read the first one.

Sandy said...

So glad to hear that Malinda Lo's second book is great and not a slump :). It makes me happy when author's continue to write good stories. I need to get my hands on this book soon because I loved Ash and it sounds to me this book continues on with what Ash had - strong female characters and love that's just love ^_^.

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