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Huntress and other stories
Just read the Novella in Five Fortunes
HUNTRESS BY RENEE CARTER HALL
This is a very nice and sweeping tale set in an alternate Africa with anthropomorphic lions villages and somewhat nomadic hunters. This intelligently combines the human and realistic dynamics of human villages with the hunting schemes of lions in the natural world. In Huntress, all the big game hunters are females with their own way of life and traditions. Yet, they are also tied to the villages for trade... and recruiting.
This is a multi-layered coming of age story as Leya goes from child to adult, trying to find her place in the world. Yet, as no time is she an outright outcast. She finds her place several times in the course of the story, and often enjoys the sensation of fitting in. And, it's not that she outgrows her place in the world so much as it becomes time to take another place.
Leya's story was very refreshing in this way. Leya's not a super-skilled Huntress; Leya is not rejected at every step. Leya grows and does not create a single enemy along the way. Everyone is supportive; but they also have their emotional needs. In this way, it reminds me of the best chick-lit novels: growing and exploring both your skills and emotional landscape... and yet there's still action; it's not all in Leya's head.
I haven't read the short stories yet. Soon.
A fantastic read
If there is a common theme among the stories in Huntress, it is the journeys one takes through life and what it takes to be somewhere you are fully comfortable with. So much of the symbolism is given over to paths or rivers, winding their way to parts unknown, and the places they pass on their way to the final destination.
The titular novella, Huntress, tells the story of Leya. She has wanted, all her life, to be a part of the roaming bands of hunters that supply the heavy meat to the many villages of her people. To do so, she has to cut herself off from the village where she grew up, something that ends up being surprisingly difficult for her. But even as she finds what she thinks she wants, her heart yearns for something else.
I think but for one story, all of them hit the same theme of finding ones own place in the world. Even then, the points at which they do so are both sad and happy and triumphant, and sometimes incomplete. I liked the placement of the stories, as the last one was about a minor character in the novella, her past explained as to how she got where she was.
While I was glad that the stories told stories about the past and the future, the world was so rich that I would love to just know more about it. A direct sequel would probably be wrong as I think all the stories that have been told are told, but something... else. Something more I yearn for.
If you've seen this and have thought about buying it, I really think you should pick it up.