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Huntress by Malinda Lo

Huntress (edition 2012)

by Malinda Lo

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4043826,397 (3.75)21
Authors:Malinda Lo
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
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Huntress by Malinda Lo

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book, because I was a bit bored when I read Ash. I definitely liked this book a lot better. The plot was fast-paced and the characters were much more interesting. Despite the long length of the book, the plot felt like it moved fairly quickly and kept the reader engaged. The story does not follow the traditional exposition-rising action-falling action-climax-resolution setup, but rather contains continuous climaxes as new problems are introduced.

At the start of the book, there is a pronunciation guide, which was helpful, given how much I hate not knowing how to say a characters' name.

And the characters themselves were so much better than in Ash. Here are characters that actually do things instead of waiting around for others to tell them to do something. I found the characters likeable, although a little annoying once the childish love element comes in.

But one of the things that really left me wanting more was explanations of some of the Chinese and Japanese traditions used in the story such as I Ching and qigong. References are made to oracle stones and meridians with no real details on what these traditions are or what they entail. I would have liked to see more details on such practices in the text instead of vague references.

Another thing that made this book a bit difficult was the constant shifting of narration. The entire book is in third person, but the focus of the omniscience narrator switches between characters so quickly that it is often difficult to follow and I had to reread sections to figure out who they were referring to.

In the edition I have, the short story The Fox, is included. I'd give this story three stars, because while the writing was nice, it was reminiscent of Ash in that not much happened and it left me wondering why I even read it.

Overall, I think Huntress was well-written with good characters and an interesting plot. ( )
  CareBear36 | Aug 18, 2015 |
I found myself swept up and engaged in this story of two people who fall in love, despite themselves, almost. Kaede wants to be a celibate sage, wants this desperately, her dreams are filled with Taisin, who wants desperately to escape her life, to engage in relationships with women, to not marry the man her father has chosen to further his career and his family. They go on a mission to help restore the seasons, something is off, the faerie seem to be involved and the two of them are drawn to help. Along with Con and some soldiers, they have to fight their way and learn to work as a team to fix this.

I liked it, loved the characters and their story, left wondering what was going to happen next with Kaede and Taisin and what would they do. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jul 6, 2015 |
Ash had a very smoky original fairy tale feel to it, Huntress has a different sort of clarity to it that is surprisingly accessible. I really enjoyed the read. ( )
  librarycatnip | Jan 12, 2015 |
Maybe it's because I listened to this as an audiobook, but I could never really get into the characters the way I did in "Ash". I enjoyed the world building and the plot as ever, and the style and words make this book definitely worth the Finished. ( )
  Mothwing | Jan 4, 2015 |
Huntress is a low stress, fairly simple young adult book about two girls who go on a quest to save their kingdom and happen to fall in love with each other along the way.

The book starts with Taisin, a seventeen year old training to be a sage, having a vision. She sees herself watching a girl she loves deeply row away to what’s probably her death. Taisin’s vision is proven to be crucial to a journey to visit the Fairy Queen, a visit that’s hoped to save the kingdom from starvation and the strange and dangerous creatures that have started to appear along the border. Taisin, Kaede, the king’s son, and three guards are thus packed off on this dangerous quest.

Huntress has both its good points and bad points, but I’ll start with the good points. For one, I liked the atmosphere of the world. Lo was able to communicate well the threat the kingdom was under, the coldness, the perpetually grey sky… the Great Woods really evoked a sense of darkness and malevolence. I also liked how the magic was set up and tied into the world.

I liked the major characters all right, even if they never really came alive to me. Taisin, Kaede, and Con (the prince) all had basic personalities and were at least distinguishable from one another.

Huntress also benefits from being something different than the normal YA fantasy fare – how many books are there in an Asian based setting where the two female protagonists fall in love? I also liked how the drama between Taisin and Kaede wasn’t because they were both girls. The world Lo’s created doesn’t seem to have any homophobia, and the drama’s instead due to Taisin wanting to become a sage, which means taking a vow of chastity.

Also, Con wasn’t in unrequited love with one of the lesbian protagonists. So kudos for that.

For the bad points… Huntress has third person omniscient POV that shifts around constantly. I actually didn’t find it annoying in here as I have in other books.

As a result of the vision that Taisin has in the beginning, there’s a sort of paradoxical instalove. Taisin has feelings for Kaede before she even knows Kaede. At least on Kaede’s part things were more gradual.

The villain was incredibly weak and underdeveloped. Plus, there was a long monologue near the end. Urgh.

Speaking of the end, the climatic Grand Confrontation felt very brief. It needed more depth and time spent on it. Most of the book was spent on characters traveling to the climatic Grand Confrontation, which also was pretty vague and mystical – sort of like what Robin McKinley writes for her confrontation scenes.

This next paragraph is vague but might be considered spoilers, so read at your own risk. I wasn’t happy with the ending. I get that it was realistic in the the future is uncertain, I think. A choice may have been made at the end, but the character’s decision was not explained, which leaves me confused to as if there even was a decision. I also feel like the idea of a possible third choice was being set up, but it was not explored. Overall, I would have liked the ending to be more wrapped up.

I would recommend this to people looking for a romance subplot between two girls, non-white characters, or girls going on an adventure.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Dec 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Two teenage girls—Taisin, a sage who has visions, and Kaede, a brave fighter from a powerful family—must travel to see the Fairy Queen to try and save their land. A persistent winter has settled over their kingdom for two years, halting not only trade and harvests but the natural course of life itself, and threatening the survival of Taisin and Kaede's fellow citizens. The journey to the city of Taninli, home of the Fairy Queen, is treacherous, and along the way Taisin, Kaede, and their travel companions face many dangers and tests of their abilities, not least of which are Taisin and Kaede's growing feelings for each other. Lo's storytelling and prose are masterful, and her protagonists will fascinate, particularly Taisin and her relationship to death and its accompanying rituals, her visions, and the way she can occupy another's mind. As with Ash, Lo's characters are emotionally reserved, which makes the unfolding of romance between Kaede and Taisin all the more satisfying. Fans of Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy will love this. Ages 15–up. (Apr.)
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To Amy Lovell
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"Clouds and thunder arise: / The sage brings order. / Those who chase deer without a hunter / Lose their way in the Wood." / -Book of Changes

She saw a beach made of ice, and she felt her heart breaking.
The ground where she stood was frozen white, but twenty feet away, cold blue ocean lapped at the jagged shore. Someone there was climbing into a rowboat, and she knew that she loved this person. She was certain of it in the same way that one is instantly aware of the taste of sweetness in a drop of honey. But she was afraid for this person's life, and the fear raised a cold sweat on her skin and caused a sick lurch in her stomach, as though she were on a ship during a violent storm.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031604007X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:19 -0400)

Seventeen-year-olds Kaede and Taisin are called to go on a dangerous and unprecedented journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen, in an effort to restore the balance of nature in the human world.

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Average: (3.75)
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