Author: Malinda Lo
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown
Cover Designer: Alison Impey
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT
Summary: 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.
First of all, I just LOVE the cover. You come across a lot of good covers in YA, but this one is exceptionally beautiful. I love the snow and the pale purple background. Also, the spine is pretty. I love it when books have pretty spines, because then they look so nice sitting on your bookshelf. And then there was something you don’t come across often in YA: the contents of this book were as beautiful as the cover!
When I first started reading, I was worried that Huntress wouldn’t have enough similarities to Ash, because it was set only a few centuries earlier. But as I read farther, I stared to recognize landmarks and cultural references, so my worries disappeared.
The gorgeous, beautiful writing that made me love Ash so much was present in this book too. I even re-read a couple passages just so I could savor the lushness. Here is one of my favorites, from page 116:
“She had never known that ice could take on so many shades of blue: sharp lines of indigo like the deepest sea, aquamarine shadows, even the glint of blue-green where the sun struck just so.”Doesn’t “aquamarine shadows” sound like the title of an Owl City song? I don’t see how you can NOT love a book with writing like that.
Another thing I loved so much about both Ash and Huntress is that being gay was viewed as completely normal. Malinda Lo’s world is devoid of homophobia, and there is no emphasis on the girl-girl relationships.
But Taisin and Kaede’s relationship was not the main focus of the book. There was lots of conflict with the dying world and their journey to see the Fairy Queen. Even after I thought it was over, there was more! I was constantly in suspense!
I think the only thing that’s keeping me from giving this book 5 stars is the ending. After I finished the book, I thought, "No! It should should have been like [insert alternate ending here]!", and nearly started sobbing before I realized that the ending was not quite as sad as I made it to be. I think the fact that the book was over made me more sad than the ending itself. And now that I think about it, any other ending would have been too happy. So it's good that it ended the way it did. I just wish that it didn't end!
Overall, Huntress was a dauntless fantasy, with a perfect blend of action and romance. No matter what you like to read, I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait for more from Malinda Lo!