Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Huntress by Malinda Lo

Set in the same fantasy world as Malinda Lo's Ash, Huntress is a prequel that stands on its own. Something has gone awry with the seasons and widespread famine is a possibility. Taisin and Kaede are both 17-year-old girls who have been chosen to be part of a covert group who will respond to an invitation to visit the Fairy Queen's court at midsummer. The hope is that the fairies will be able to provide assistance in dealing with the world's dire lack of sunshine.

Taisin is alerted by her prophetic sight that she will be deeply in love with Kaede at some point in the future, but she is adamantly opposed to this happening. It's not because she has any objection to same-sex romance, but rather because Taisin is determined to be a sage at the Academy and that job comes with a vow of celibacy. It makes for a lot of sexual tension in the story. Meanwhile, their mission is fraught with danger every step of the way.

Huntress has more of an Asian flair than Ash; a sort of I Ching meets fairies and unicorns. I happen to like Ash better only because I have a soft spot for grief themes and also for retellings of traditional stories (Cinderella, in this case). Both books are great for teens and adults who enjoy fantasy with strong female characters. Queer content is a bonus!

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