Book Review: Huntress by Malinda Lo

Title: Huntress
Author: Malinda Lo
Details: Hardcover, 384 pgs.
Published: April 5th, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Library


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 novelAsh is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

Huntress had been on my wishlist for so long that I think I had forgotten what it was about.  I knew it was a fantasy with Chinese influence and that’s it.  I think going into a book not knowing what to expect is good.  Then every twist can be a total surprise.  And I had plenty of surprises in this one!  Good surprises!  
This book was definitely a fantasy and I thought it was actually light on the Chinese influence (I was kind of comparing to Cindy Pon’s books) which was fine.  Not a big deal.  It was definitely very different from Cindy’s books, but almost as good (I still liked Cindy’s books just a bit more, but they are so different that comparing really isn’t fair ;).   I thought that the story line was really good and only had a few issues with the book.
My first issue was POV.  It was told third person and Malinda actually did a good job relaying the emotions and turmoils of the characters.  A very good job, actually.  But there were times, mostly in the beginning, that the POV changed so abruptly to relay what another character was thinking or feeling that it was a bit disjointed.  It threw me just a bit.  In the whole scheme of the story it really was a minor thing, especially since later that mostly cleared up.  And I really was impressed with her ability to show each characters inner feelings so we were able to connect with them on a deeper level.  That doesn’t happen all the time with books in third person.
Another issue, minor issue really, was that the last bit of the book, the final conflicts, were really fast.  Now the big conflict, that was okay.  I mean I was wanting it to hurry cause I was about to have a hernia from holding my breath.  But then there’s one more little thing that has to be done for everything to be okay and that felt maybe a bit rushed.  I think maybe a bit more suspense could have been thrown in.  However, maybe she knew we were all getting light headed from holding our breath, so she decided to have it go more quickly 😉
This book has LGBT themes.  I was surprised because for some reason I didn’t know that, but I liked it.  I liked how it was done and it felt natural and right for the story.  I liked that it wasn’t an issue in the book, it just was.  I was glad that it was there and I think that it’s important for teens to feel like it’s just natural.  
Overall I really liked this book.  It was a fast read for a fantasy and it has a map (major bonus points!) which is nice to be able to follow where they go.  It had adventure, (the whole thing was basically a long trip to the fairy lands) it had scary creatures and magic and the author wasn’t afraid to take things in scary places.  I definitely recommend!

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  1. I definitely agree with what you said about the LGBT themes — it’s nice that we’re moving into an era when it can be in a book without it having to be an “issues” book, that people can accept it as being a natural element of the story. I’m really excited to read this book =) Thanks for the great review!

  2. So glad to hear you really liked this one! I read Ash last year & liked, but didn’t love it. I had some issues w/ relationship depth, but I definitely liked it enough to want to read this one! Haven’t gotten a chance to read it though! I’ll have to do so soon. :)

  3. I’ve had this on my TBR forever too! I’m happy to hear you liked it. I need to read this and Ash and Cindy’s books. I think I will love them.

  4. I’ve had Huntress for a while now, but I haven’t read it. I think I’ll enjoy it, but for whatever reason, I haven’t picked it up yet. I didn’t even realize it was told in multiple POV’s or know exactly what it’s about, aside from it being a prequel/companion to Ash. I’m curious about it though, especially since you did enjoy it.

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