Author: Malinda Lo
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA (Age 15 and up) Fantasy, Adventure
Published: April 5, 2011
Overall Rating: 4/5
Cover Rating: 4/5
Cover Comments: I really like this cover! It reminds me of Mulan, one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the simple beauty with the pale background and the contrasting girl on the cover who looks pretty awesome with a staff (It's so un-girly. Yay!).
First of all, thanks to Georgia McBride for this ARC! I won it from a #YALitChat giveaway on Twitter, which happens every Wednesday night!
This book is the first one I've read by the author. I won it from a giveaway, and I couldn't wait to get started when I got it! After all, it is Asian. I think the biggest thing about this book for me is the fact that it's the first GLBT book I've ever read, so of course I read it with an open mind. This book is a companion prequel to Ash. It's set in the same world, only a long time before the events of Ash. I have not read it yet, but I have checked it out from the library and it will be one of the books coming up next. :)
I love the author's writing. It's beautiful and descriptive. I felt like I was there on the adventure with Kaede and Taisin and Prince Con. This book pulled me in with it's magical, fantastic world, and it's well-developed characters. Each of Taisin's dreams and visions enhanced the story and made me wonder what was going to happen next. This book has happy moments, wistful moments, mysterious moments, and some scary moments.
**spoiler warning** If you have not read this book yet, and do not wish to have the book ruined for you, please stop reading from this point on. (The synopsis is at the end, though.)
I found myself predicting (as usual) what was going to happen, and I was wrong almost every time. Which is kind of a good thing. I wasn't even disappointed. (Which I normally am. Then again... that only happens with love triangles.) The two main characters, Kaede and Taisin, were captivating, strong characters. They put aside their own thoughts to protect their own kingdom and people. They were brave and iron-willed in the face of danger, their personal relationship, and the deaths of their companions.
I think that the one part I did not like about this book was the ending. I thought Taisin and Kaede and Con were done after completing their first mission with the Fairy Queen, but then another one is given. It kind of made me surprised and disbelieving at the same time, because I figured it was all done and over with. I felt like the ending was a little rushed, especially since the rest of the book was pretty slow-paced (in a good way).
I am, however, satisfied with the very ending. I can't give too much away, but the author gave us an ending that might be a little sad at first, but one that is the most reasonable and one that, in the long run, we will be glad was written.
I would ask for more, but I think that the book ended well enough and satisfying enough to not have another. Although I do always wish for more. I never want a book and its world to end!
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 Taninli, 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.