Release Date: 5th May, 2011
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.
Before I start gushing over this title, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to ATOM Australia for giving me a copy of this amazing book! It was bloody brilliant! Now I'm a huge fan of Malinda Lo's debut novel, Ash, and when I heard about her writing a prequel of the book set in the same world as Ash, I pretty much had a fangal freakout moment! And I can definitely say HUNTRESS doesn't disappoint! It's a wonderful story about coming of age and a beautiful, well-set environment with a sweet romance that blossoms between two very strong female heroines.
In HUNTRESS, Kaede, the daughter of the King's Chancellor, wants to escape the political marriage her parents have arranged for her. Taisin on the other hand, wants nothing more than to become a Sage. So here in this story, we have a non-magicial girl and a magicial girl. The two of them are the shining stars of this dark tale and I was amazed how great they were! I think what I love most about Lo's writing is how she uses her beautiful language and weaves it into this encompassing fantasy world of hers, while focussing on a romance between two girls. I love stories like these. One time, I'd read a review where someone said they felt uncomfortable about it being about a gay relationship, but I found it quite beautiful. It's about time someone addresses a new kind of romance and Malinda Lo does it just right: her writing is rawly emotional, layered, and just damn . . . solid.
While the story is filled with fascinating magic, riveting action, and an unpredictable plot (though I guessed what would happen by the end of the book), it was the romance between Kaede and Taisin that really made an impact on me. To watch how their feelings grow and then watch how they try and deny their affections . . . it was nice to see these girls develop as characters and feel - like themselves - overjoyed when they finally let go of responsiblities (even for a little while) and become aware they're falling in love! It was so utterly beautiful and heart-warming. What I loved most about Kaede and Taisin as our main heroines, was how strong they were and how they were the complete opposites to one another, in personality wise. In a way, they complimented each other and I'm thankful for it. In addition to these characters, I loved the supporting cast: Con, Shae, Tali and Pol. Each character had a purpose in the story and were solid til the very end (though two didn't exactly make it til the end but you'll have to read it and see what I mean).
To be honest, I think HUNTRESS is soooooooo much better than Ash, even for a prequel set centuries beforehand. With its astounding sense of adventure about bravery and unconditional love, this book has definitely become a dear favourite of mine for 2011! I highly recommend to anyone who loves the likes of Melissa Marr and Robin McKinley!