Kaede and Taisin are nearing the end of their time at the Academy of Sages. Kaede has struggled with the academy and has only remained because her father is the King’s Advisor. Her strengths lie closer to the earth, no magic. Taisin is one of the most gifted sages the academy has seen. When the sun stops shining, crops fail and the people of the kingdom start to rebel out of frustration and hunger, Oracle Stones are cast and Kaede and Taisin are thrust together on a journey to see the Xi, a fay kingdom that most no longer believes even exist. Brought together with a single purpose, the two must fight many obstacles to reach their destination and perhaps each other.
While this novel is billed as a prequel to Ash, it easily stands on its own. The coming of age is almost standard in young adult fantasy. The lush details intertwined seamlessly with the character development and a lesbian twist is not. The reader walks away with a strong picture of the world and the creatures that inhabit it. In spite of this, the pace is never slow and the direction the story is going is quickly revealed. What will grab you though is the characters. Not just Kaede and Taisin who are complicated and intense characters but also the side characters that you grow to care about just as much. Ash took my breath away. Huntress has much the fantasy reader will enjoy and GLBTQs will be refreshed by a world where no one cares who you love. 2011, 371 pages