Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review - Huntress

HuntressHuntress by Malinda Lo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was at the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association)conference in November and was NOT one of the pucky people to obtain a pre-release copy of Huntress there although I heard the author speak and lusted after on. Two weeks later I went to the NCTE (National Cozuncil of Teachers of English) and snarfed up a copy the second I saw it available. I like books that are outside th normal fare. Huntress is not only different from Ash, it is different from any other paranormal or fantasy. It is only loosly a prequel to Ash, they are both set in the same universe where fairies and other creatures co-exist with humans in a not to easy alliance. Several hundred years seperate the two books, and the relationship between the species is different, but you lose nothing by reading them in either order, there is no true connection.

BTW, I enjoyed Huntress even more than Ash. This book took me to a world where the fate of humanity rests on the shoulders of two extraordinary teenaged girls, one in training to be mystic, the second a huntress. Although they had been in school together, neithe had paid much attention to each other until they find themselves on a quest to answer the call of the Fairy Queen and try to overcome the mysterious blight that is devistating the human world. And in the course of this quest, the two girls fall in love.

Theirs is not a world where being a lesbian is considered a fate worse than death or cause for being ostricized. In one scene the king's son who accompanies them on their quest to find the Fairy Queen, asks the huntress if he will need to fight her for the love of the female guard traveling with them. The big issue between the huntress and her family is not that she is a lesbian, but that her father has already set up a politically advantagous marriage for her, just as he did her brother. Her mother explains that politically advantagous marriages involving two women are rare, and she will just have to obey her father. So she jumps at the idea of this quest to keep her away from her father and the unknown future husband he has chosen for her, at least for a time. The mystic has another problem. If she is to fulfill her destiny she desperatly wants she must remain celibate. But she also wants a future with the huntress she now loves. She has a vision of something terrible happening to the Huntress, and, as one member of the party after another dies or is injured she fears she will lose the girl she loves.

This sets up the final conflict between the two. Huntress doesn't have the traditional happily ever after ending, but once the ending arrived I realized it was inevitable. There was nothing else the author could have done and retained the integrity of the world she created. And that is the mark of an excellent storyteller, that she gives the ending a reader can accept as the RIGHT way to end the book.

I truly want to see more of this world and hope there will be more books coming.

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