Friday, April 8, 2011

Huntress by Malinda Lo

We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful... err, wait, wrong story. :) Let me start again, we’re to see the FAIRY QUEEN! Ah, there, much better. “Huntress” by Malindo Lo is a book that you want to go check out today. It’s honest-to-goodness fantasy at its finest, not any of this pop fantasy or paranormal stuff (which I love, but I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea).

“Huntress” is essentially about two girls who didn’t know each other, but are brought together on a journey to save the world. For awhile now, the world they live in has been acting... strangely. Winter has been progressively getting longer and longer.... this year, it just never ended. Crops aren’t growing, people are starving, and the government is unraveling due to the chaos. Taisin is a talented sage-in-training who has a vision that a girl, Kaede, is to join her on a mission. What it is.. isn’t clear. After a visit from the King, it is revealed that they are to embark on a trip to the kingdom of the Xi and their ruler, the Fairy Queen.

The book is a little dense... not due to overwhelming subject matter, but just because it is primarily about this band of people on a trip and about the relationship developing between the girls. It is light on the action, heavy on the character development so it just is a slow read. Not a bad thing, just a “FYI” for those who like more action based fantasy. There is still a lot going on and some great action sequences towards the end that are worth the wait!

Malindo Lo does an exquisite job developing the relationship of Taisin and Kaede. When I try to think of a way to describe it, I visualize a scene from the book where Taisin finds a flower and uses her energy to make it bloom and thrive, despite the lack of sun. What Malindo Lo did is just like it.. she started the book with a frail connection, put it into awkward circumstances for developing romance, but she worked her magic. It then grew and blossomed into something extraordinary. It’s beautifully done. Way to go, Ms. Lo!

My only real problem with the book is that she writes from third person limited most of the time, but then all of a sudden she throws in someone else’s view. It’s just a bit jarring. It mainly goes back and forth between the two girls, but occasionally another character chimes in. It got a little confusing.

Overall though, a REALLY enjoyable, solid fantasy novel. I really enjoyed it and now really want to read her other novel, “Ash”. Fantasy fans, add this one to your “to read” list, pronto.

I was provided with a copy of “Huntress” by the publisher to review. It was released this week by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Go get a copy at your local bookstore or online today. Seriously. Why are you still here reading this? GO FORTH AND PURCHASE “HUNTRESS”. ;o)

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