I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book, because I was a bit bored when I read Ash. I definitely liked this book a lot better. The plot was fast-paced and the characters were much more interesting. Despite the long length of the book, the plot felt like it moved fairly quickly and kept the reader engaged. The story does not follow the traditional exposition-rising action-falling action-climax-resolution setup, but rather contains continuous climaxes as new problems are introduced.
At the start of the book, there is a pronunciation guide, which was helpful, given how much I hate not knowing how to say a characters' name.
And the characters themselves were so much better than in Ash. Here are characters that actually do things instead of waiting around for others to tell them to do something. I found the characters likeable, although a little annoying once the childish love element comes in.
But one of the things that really left me wanting more was explanations of some of the Chinese and Japanese traditions used in the story such as I Ching and qigong. References are made to oracle stones and meridians with no real details on what these traditions are or what they entail. I would have liked to see more details on such practices in the text instead of vague references.
Another thing that made this book a bit difficult was the constant shifting of narration. The entire book is in third person, but the focus of the omniscience narrator switches between characters so quickly that it is often difficult to follow and I had to reread sections to figure out who they were referring to.
In the edition I have, the short story The Fox, is included. I'd give this story three stars, because while the writing was nice, it was reminiscent of Ash in that not much happened and it left me wondering why I even read it.
Overall, I think Huntress was well-written with good characters and an interesting plot.