Huntress by Malinda Lo
Release date: April 5th, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
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.
This was the second book I read for the June edition of #AYearAThon. I had read Malinda Lo’s book Ash a long time ago and was looking forward to Huntress, which is sort of a prequel. I enjoyed this book. It was good, but definitely not as good as Ash. There were uneven and slow parts which I could have done without. Basically, it was flawed in many ways, but still completely readable and fun.
- The world is heavily inspired by ancient China, which is a big bonus because we usually get to read about fantasy worlds inspired by European cultures. The names, the traditions…I LOVED all of it!
- The growing romance between the main characters, Kaede and Taisin, is a slow burner. I love slow burning romances. The initial attraction, the character being unsure of what to do, the small steps towards sharing their feelings with the other person. *sigh* Also, an added bonus is that there wasn’t a love triangle in sight. Oh yeah!
- Both of the main characters were strong, kickass women. Kaede was more of a warrior throwing her knife and learning how to use a bow and arrow, while Taisin could utilize magic. Together they were the perfect combination and I enjoyed reading about them working together, especially as a single unit.
- There was so much girl power in this novel! Women were in leadership positions and doing the same jobs as men. Let’s see, there were female guards, advisors to the king, healers, scholars…this was honestly nice to see. So often women as marginalized, but then again, this is also a world where female/female relationship are openly accepted and even encouraged, so it’s pretty progressive in that sense.
- The pacing was all over the place! It started off slow, picked up in the middle and then dragged on at the end. When it was good, it was good. The slow parts made me question why I was even bothering. That’s why rating this book was hard. I liked it, but then got frustrated with certain parts.
- The POV changes is what bothered me the most. And boy was there a lot of it! One minute you’d be reading about something from Kaede’s point of view and then boom…it would change to what Taisin was thinking, sometimes within the same sentence! This severely limited my ability to truly connect with the characters, especially secondary characters who were traveling with the two ladies of their quest.
- I wasn’t convinced that the villain was as evil as Lo was intending her to be. The quest didn’t fully make sense. A lot more needed to be explained to prove to me that the villain had evil intentions. In the end, she just seemed misunderstood. Like, a good conversation would have ended the whole issue. I don’t know.
So, in the end, while Huntress wasn’t perfect, it still had enough things going for it to be enjoyable. The combination of a Chinese inspired fantasy world and a sweet romance make this book one that I would recommend those who are fans of Malinda Lo. If you haven’t read her books before, you need to check out Ash.