Book Review: Huntress by Malinda Lo

Queer book review! All reviews touch on genre/pot, tropes (if any), and quality of gay content, and include both spoiler and spoiler-lite versions. Catch up on my last book review of Ash, also by Malinda Lo.

Light Spoilers

Genre/Plot

If you read Ash, then you’ll be familiar with this genre. Huntress is a prequel to Ash, taking place hundreds of years prior. Basically, this is the Huntress’ origin story and how what began that tradition, but you’ll still be unfamiliar with the characters and setting in most aspects. There’s a lot more magic in this story and it works with the culture of the characters, rather than in forgotten myths and children’s stories.

As a very basic comparison, Ash is better for its fairytale genre and tone use, whereas Huntress takes on more of a young adult fiction feel. And the drop caps at the beginning of each chapter aren’t nearly as pretty.

Characters/Relationships

This story is about two characters–Kaede and Taisin. They go on a noble quest together and fall in love. It was a mostly satisfying slow burn and I was so there for it.

Gay Content

Like Ash, the queer orientations in Huntress are presented as mostly a non-issue (but arguably less so than in Ash). It is clear that straight is the default, but there are no coming out arcs or issues presented with the queer characters because of their sexuality. It’s also worth noting that the story gives a considerable amount of the time to a straight couple who accompany our gays on their quest.

Spoilers Ahead

As stated before, Ash is a better book, and not just for the genre and tone. Sadly, our main characters part ways at the end–and as a sucker for happy endings, I was a little let down. Even more disappointing was the fact that the straights did get a happy ending. maybe I’m just a little biased here, but I’m looking for that happily ever after for the characters I actually care about. However, I am pleased to report that the gays do not die.

Also important: my copy of this came with a short story called “The Fox” (I think this was the title). This story works a lot like an epilogue because it takes place after the end of the story. One might think this will do more to resolve how things ended between Kaede and Taisin, but one would be wrong for being hopeful! Only read the short story if you want more sadness!!!

Coming Up Next

Apologies for not posting in weeks. I’m on vacation camping so I’m hoping to get so more blogs written and posted this week. Next book review will be Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. Other posts coming up: A blog about going to Hayely Kiyoko’s concert and the next installment of the “How I Met My Girlfriend” series (featuring our adventures in the U.K.).

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