I’m uncertain whether it is because I’m currently playing the very oriental themed Mists of Pandaria or being a European that makes the east seem exotic, but it added extra appeal to this story by Malinda Lo. I can’t even remember why I added it to my TBR pile so long ago, but I’m glad I did.
The story is a refreshingly straightforward one. Two young heroines both not yet eighteen; Taisin and Kaede are dispatched from where they are studying at a school for sages to find out why the weather has stayed wintry for years with each year worse than the preceding one. Why are two schoolgirls sent on what is most likely a perilous mission? Because Taisin had a vision that contained both her and Kaede. What’s even more surprising about the vision was her deep feelings of love for Kaede despite the fact that the two have barely crossed paths at school.
As you may surmise, whilst this is a young adult fantasy novel, it’s also a same sex romance. However, as has been stated in other reviews, the fact that both are women is not really relevant because the focus of the romance is, as it should be, on their feelings for each other as two people. The only difficulty actually, is the fact that Taisin wants to become a sage but that means a life of celibacy and free of the complications of a relationship in order to focus ones mind.
This book is very much about the journey referring to both the heroines’ quest and their burgeoning relationship and whilst the former is indeed fraught with peril and tragedy, the latter is no less bumpy but certainly heart warming. However, because the journey is the primary focus the ending feels a bit crammed in because no sooner do they think they may have solved the problem with the weather than they find that there is still more to do and that is literally within the last 5% or so of the book.
This didn’t detract form my enjoyment of Huntress, though. Whilst I know this is set before Ash, by the same author, I’ve not read that so I don’t know if these characters are mentioned in that but I would like to see them again. Unfortunately, reading Malinda’s Lo website, she has no plans to write a sequel.