Book Review: "Huntress" by Malinda Lo

Summary from 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.

After finding myself enthralled with Malinda Lo's first book, ASH, I was looking forward to reading the follow up to it. I was a bit disappointed that the story wasn't going to be continuing Ash's story but since I had enjoyed the first book, I still wanted to reenter the world again. I found Lo's writing to once again be very beautiful and lyrical. Once you get into the story, it just flows very smoothly. I felt like I really got to know the characters and their feelings. Their world is different from ours but they still feel the same things that we do.

There is a bit more of the lesbian relationship in this book than in Ash. There's nothing explicit or even really suggestive. The world that the girls live in is very accepting of same-sex relationships. It is mentioned to Kaede that it would be impossible though to find another woman to create a political union and would be easier to find a guy. However she doesn't want that option and would rather remain single..until she meets Taisin. Their relationship is quite interesting and I found both their characters to be equally deserving of each other.

While I liked the story, I didn't like it as much as I did Ash. I'm not sure if it's because Ash was already based on the Cinderella story and Huntress appears to be an original story. Also there is more paranormal features in this book which really isn't my cup of tea. While the last few chapters were very intriguing, most of the talk about faeries and spirits wasn't really my cup of tea. Also I am probably just very unobservant and need someone to point it out to me but I didn't really notice any Chinese influence in the book even though the summary says that it does.

If you enjoyed Ash, I think you will enjoy Huntress very much. Lo has created a world that draws the reader in with exquisite writing and characters. I know she's writing her third book now. I'm not sure if it takes place in this world again but if it does, I would love to return again.

Huntress by Malinda Lo is published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers (2011)

This ARC was provided by a publicist


  1. Thanks for the review. It seems that most books these days have a smattering of same sex relations or sexual situations. Often it does nothing for the book.


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