Huntress by Malinda Lo
Posted by Caitie F on June 14, 2011
Summary (from goodreads):
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.
Malinda Lo’s first novel Ash was a beautiful retelling of Cinderella set in a distinct fantasy world. While that book was good, her sophomore novel Huntress was great.
It is set in the same fantasy world, but is centuries earlier, when the fay and human are still separated and the world has a much different culture. I could see what the world was like and really understand motivations due to the culture and circumstances in this novel, which made it very fun and exciting to read.
There are so many things at the core of this book: choosing your own path instead of following the path given to you by your parents or elders; fighting for the people you love; and the love and relationship between Kaede and Taisin. The romance felt genuine and exciting. Taisin has a vision where she sees that she will love Kaede, so the reader knows from the beginning that it will happen, which makes the journey to that more enjoyable to read.
I loved how there were multiple perspectives throughout the book. It mostly went between the two young women, but every so often it went to side characters. I thought this was really effective because it showed that Kaede’s father was not a villain like she sometimes portrayed him or that another character had more going on inside their head than others noticed. It made side characters come to life.
I actually got to see Malinda Lo at BEA at the Teen Author Carnival in a panel about kick-ass heroines. I got to hear her talk about how one of her characters is a kick-ass heroine from the beginning and the other grows into it. That was the case and watching Taisin growth into a strong female made me excited. Kaede is pretty kick-ass from the beginning, but she also grows stronger and into even more of a strong woman as the book progresses. I am really glad i got ot see Malinda talk about the importance of strong females, because it brought even more to the book to look at it from the perspective.
I absolutely adored this book it solidifies my place as a Malinda Lo fan!