4.5 43
by Malinda Lo

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Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey…  See more details below


Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo's highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two teenage girls—Taisin, a sage who has visions, and Kaede, a brave fighter from a powerful family—must travel to see the Fairy Queen to try and save their land. A persistent winter has settled over their kingdom for two years, halting not only trade and harvests but the natural course of life itself, and threatening the survival of Taisin and Kaede's fellow citizens. The journey to the city of Taninli, home of the Fairy Queen, is treacherous, and along the way Taisin, Kaede, and their travel companions face many dangers and tests of their abilities, not least of which are Taisin and Kaede's growing feelings for each other. Lo's storytelling and prose are masterful, and her protagonists will fascinate, particularly Taisin and her relationship to death and its accompanying rituals, her visions, and the way she can occupy another's mind. As with Ash, Lo's characters are emotionally reserved, which makes the unfolding of romance between Kaede and Taisin all the more satisfying. Fans of Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy will love this. Ages 15–up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Set in the same world as Ash (Little, Brown, 2009) but centuries earlier, this stand-alone novel tells the story of Kaede, a 17-year-old studying at the Academy of Sages. When climate changes cause terrible storms resulting in the loss of crops and livestock, she, along with Taisin, another sage-in-training and seer; Con, the king's son; and some trusted guards are sent to renew an ancient treaty with the Fairy Queen, hoping that together they might restore order to the land. After many arduous weeks of travel, they arrive only to discover that the fairy realm is in straits nearly as dire as those they left behind in the human lands. Together, the three young people embark on a desperate mission to destroy the being responsible for draining the fay of their magic and wreaking havoc on the land. In spite of the prohibition against sages forming intimate relations, feelings develop between Kaede and Taisin, and the two girls must decide whether to follow their hearts or their destinies. Lo has created a wonderfully detailed world, and this dynamic and moving story of love that must find a way against nearly insurmountable odds will be as well received as Ash. Select where historical fantasy and GLBT fiction are popular.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Kirkus Reviews
Set in the same universe as, although many centuries earlier than, Ash (2009), two 17-year-olds at the Academy of Sages find their destiny and each other. Taisin already has visions, which she cannot parse. Kaede is at the school because her powerful father wished her there, but she is not magically gifted. Their lands suffer under a never-ending winter, and people are starving. When an invitation from the Fairy Queen of the Xi arrives, both Taisin and Kaede travel there with the king's son. They hope the Xi know why nature is out of joint. On their journey, the party is attacked, and Taisin's visions grow fiercer and less clear. But it is Kaede who must cross to a tower of ice and face the evil that threatens Xi and human alike. There is far too much telling rather than showing, far too many feelings described without being displayed and the mythos of its place is not well delineated. The lovely thing about this fantasy, however, is the completely natural sweetness of the attraction between Kaede and Taisin, which is unremarkable in their culture and which finds a bittersweet resolution but not an end. The promise of sequels seems obvious—Ash's fans will hope they hew to the tightness of craft of the former, not this companion. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

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Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Lo, Malinda

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2011 Lo, Malinda
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316040075


Huntress is set in the same world as Ash, but it takes place many centuries earlier. There are some significant cultural differences between the time periods.


Clouds and thunder arise: The sage brings order. Those who chase deer without a hunter Lose their way in the Wood.

Book of Changes

Chapter I

She saw a beach made of ice, and she felt her heart breaking.

The ground where she stood was frozen white, but twenty feet away, cold blue ocean lapped at the jagged shore. Someone there was climbing into a rowboat, and she knew that she loved this person. She was certain of it in the same way that one is instantly aware of the taste of sweetness in a drop of honey. But she was afraid for this person’s life, and the fear raised a cold sweat on her skin and caused a sick lurch in her stomach, as though she were on a ship during a violent storm.

She opened her mouth to call the rower back—she couldn’t bear the loss; it would surely cripple her—and at that moment she realized she could hear nothing. All around her was an eerie, unnatural silence. There was no sound from the ocean. She could not even hear herself breathing. She felt her tongue shaping the syllables of the person’s name, but she did not recognize what the name was until the rower turned to face her. Kaede.

The rower was Kaede, and she looked back with dark, troubled eyes. Loose strands of black hair whipped around her pale face; there were spots of red on her wind-roughened cheeks. Her lips parted as though she would speak. But then Kaede reached down into the boat and lifted out a long oar, dipping it into the azure sea to propel the small craft away from the shore. The droplets of water falling from the blade of the oar were tiny stars, extinguished as quickly as they burned into being. The boat cut through the water, leaving the shore behind, and just before the destination came into view, the vision ended.

She was wrenched out of the icy landscape and back into her body, where she was sitting in the empty practice hall, alone on her cushion.

She opened her eyes, blinking against the light of the single candle she had lit on the altar. Her heart was pounding, and there was an acrid taste in her mouth. Her hands, folded in her lap, were trembling and chilled. A trickle of sweat ran from her temple down her cheek.

She drew her knees up and hugged them close, burying her face in the crook of her elbow, and because there was no one to hear her, she let out the sob that reared up in her throat. The sound echoed in the vaulted ceiling of the practice room, and for once she gave in to the overwhelming feelings rushing through her. She felt gutted. She felt powerless.

She had never seen so clearly before, and her teachers would praise her for it. But she felt no satisfaction, for she could not rejoice in the vision of someone she apparently loved departing on a journey to her death.


Excerpted from Huntress by Lo, Malinda Copyright © 2011 by Lo, Malinda. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Malinda is the former managing editor of, and an award-winning journalist for her work in LGBT media. Malinda graduated from Wellesley College in 1996 with a BA in Economics and Chinese Studies, and she worked with Joe Blades at Ballantine. She earned MAs from Harvard (Regional Studies--East Asia) and Stanford (Cultural and Social Anthropology) universities. She now lives in San Francisco.

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