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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Didn't finish it, barely started it
The lesbian heroes we deserve
While the pacing could left something to be desired- it had lulls in unexpected places, I adored the way the characters grew throughout the piece. Malinda did a good job of giving each character their own distinct voice- literal and literary. The process of watching each character come in to their own really made the experience for me. (Though the sudden shifts in narrator were likely easier to follow on a page than orally.)
Kai De. I loved her arch and her growth- how she struggled with events that would ordinarily get brushed over in other YA fantasy novels (the reality of taking life, for example.) I also appreciated that neither girl had the Gay Panic Crisis- but rather, the panic of wondering if their feelings came naturally, or because they were fated.
Khan, probably. Got to love the side character that keeps the others grounded.