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It’s inevitable, I suppose, that people will compare Mercedes Lackey’s new series beginning with Hunter to The Hunger Games, and it’s true, on a superficial level, they have a lot in common. Post-apocalypse living, a girl with special talents going from living in the back of beyond to the center of civilization to prove herself.
But where The Hunger Games were great, rambunctious fun (and make no mistake, I thoroughly enjoyed them!), Hunter is more complex, more meaty, more subtle and I suspect it won’t be wrapped up in a trilogy. Mercedes Lackey has built a great world, and it would be a shame to limit it to just a few books.
Joyeaux Charmand is a Hunter. After the Diseray, the change of the old world into the current one, Othersiders broke through and took over our world, bringing all the old stories from myth and fairy tale to life, and flooding the world with magic. But they also loosed the Hounds, otherworldly creatures that can bond to a person, become partners in a very real way, and the Hounds are dedicated to hunting down Othersiders.
Joy grew up on a mountain in what was the Rockies, and she was trained by the best Masters of all disciplines. But life on the Mountain isn’t known to those who live in Apex and to stay undetected, a Hunter needs to be sent from the surrounding neighborhoods; it’s been a long time since one has come from this quadrant, and people are beginning to wonder what’s up. Joy is chosen to go to Apex since all Hunters are required to report there; besides, her Uncle is very high in the government, and he wants her near him.
Obviously there are troubles and turmoil, political machinations and all kinds of action. But there’s a subtle and powerful message that Ms. Lackey is interweaving in her story about the nature of friendship, of trust, of duty that makes Hunter the beginning of what I suspect will be a powerful, possibly classic, series.
Hunter isn’t a great book. It’s a very good book. But I think the series is going to be epic.— Fran
Years ago the barrier between our world and another weakened - to the point that what was on the other side was able to cross over into ours - and it’s never fluffy bunnies, unicorns or rainbows which make the trek. No, it is always monsters, and these have very big teeth, magic and really seem to enjoy killing us.
But whatever looks out for us humans - be it god, a giant crocodile or Great Panjandrum - gave humans a bit of magic of their own to wield in defense of a crumbling world. The magic comes in the form of spirit hounds. Only a small percentage of people can call hounds, but if they are able to summon a pack (2-8) their lives are irrevocably changed. They are trained to become Hunters, people who seek out and destroy the horrors which now inhabit our world.
Joyeaux Charmand is one such Hunter. Her parents were killed in an “Otherside Incident” when she was very young. Her only living relative is an Uncle, a Prefect for the Apex (very important) and he’s sent for her…. and when Apex and the police call, you have little choice but to go. When she arrives in Apex she discovers Hunters are treated far differently in Apex than at home. Here, they are the height of celebrity, they spawn fandoms and their lives & hunts are constantly streamed to for the population to watch. But what Joyeaux finds most disturbing is the fact that Apex’s population is being lied to, and Hunters are inadvertently part of the conspiracy. Which she slowly discovers is much bigger than she initially realized.
This book is good. There is a lot to learn about in a short amount of time (and my summary doesn’t do this book justice) and Lackey is a master in giving you a lot of information without boring her reader.
But what is most tantalizing about this book are the hints, small kernels of information, which Lackey places in the narrative which make you wonder what is coming next! What led to the barrier being weakened? Who are The Folk? How are the monsters getting through the barrier? Who tried to kill Joyeaux? Is her Uncle in danger? The questions go on and on. This is why I say Hunter is a good YA book - there is a lot of world building, the story is strong, but the world details edge it out by just a hair - but the next book I have a very strong suspicion will be excellent! However it will be one of those things that you will have to start on the ground floor and read Hunter first to know/understand exactly what it going on.
Now don’t get me wrong, while the book places these small kernels for you to wonder, agonize and theorize over, the main storyline of the book is wrapped up in a satisfactory way so the book didn’t leave me with a hollow empty feeling when I finished. It just made me VERY keen to know what happens next!
*BTW - I have tried to read Lackey many times over the years and this is the very first book by her which I have really enjoyed read (aka finished)! If this helps at all!— Amber
They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.
Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it's taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.
To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.
Joy soon realizes that the city's powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers, and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they're in-to them, Joy and her corp of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.
When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, Joy uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them
About the Author
Mercedes Lackey is the "New York Times "best-selling American fantasy author behind the Heralds of Valdemar series, the Elemental Masters series, the 500 Kingdoms series, and many more. She has published over one hundred novels in under twenty-five years.