Interesting: I read the previous book in this series, „Ash“ and I didn’t like it much. The bland and boring all-white European fairytale setting and the
glowing vampires cliched fairies/elves where just so awful that the lesbian twist couldn’t make up for it in this failed Cinderella retelling.
„Huntress“ is said to be set in the same world but a few hundred years earlier and interestingly there is an Asian touch to the standard fantasy world (I wonder where that disappeared to in „Ash“’s time). It’s still ye good olde fantasy escapism tough, nothing special and the elves are still fucking awful (can’t decide if I hate them more then orcs and dragons but fairies a no-go) but it’s much, much better then „Ash“. I’m not exactly sure why but I think the world is fleshed out more, the character are less cut-out and there’s actually a story with a long and perilous journey, scary monsters™ and people dying. Unfortunately there is also a really stupid and unnecessary ending involving more fairy bullshit (and a cameo of the Forest Spirit from Mononoke Hime as a unicorn). I think Malinda Lo really got better in writing and storytelling between „Ash“ and „Huntress“, it’s a nice thing to witness.
This is clearly YA with lots of blushing and reddening cheeks but the (lesbian) love story is more believable and intimate then in it’s sequel. I don’t want to over-interpret the fact that while the hetero-lovestory (the usual inter-class one, but between a prince and a female guard this time around) seems to get an happy ending, the lesbian one is DOOOMED! DOOOOMED! because when you want to be a magicianesstress you can’t
have sex be in love (= bullshit).
If you want easy to read escapism fantasy outside the all white, all hetero box this is well worth a read (I’d recommend stopping after she burned evil female boss though, because as I said all that follows just makes no sense).