Sunday, 27 September 2015

Hunter: Mercedes Lackey book review


by Mercedes Lackey

Rating: 3 Star

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, the reviews on this book all seem to come down firmly in either the love or hate category. After careful consideration, I'm somewhere in the middle with my 3 star rating.

Meet Joyeaux (Joy) Charmand. She's a 16 year old hunter from a post apocolyptic world who is tasked with keeping what remains of humanity safe from a wide variety of monsters from the "otherside".

Charmand posseses a wide range of magical skills and also has the support of a pack of mystical hounds that she can summon for hunting. Together they make a mean team who regularly dispatch a wide range of mean creatures including vampires, goblins, and "gazers". 

Life is tough where Joyeaux grows up. It's a snow-covered, mountain top village, with a huge monastery perched on top of it, and we spend a lot of time in this first novel in the series learning how the villages make the best of their limited resources and how everyone really works together to survive. In fact, there is so much description on this, I found it held back the pace of the novel whilst you get through it all.

One day Joy is suddenly summoned to the capital city Apex by the Prefect (who is her Uncle) to be a hunter there. Through Joy's eyes we then get to see the contrast between simple countryside living and the lives the "cits" or citizens inside Apex have. 

Once Joy arrives at Apex, things get a lot more complicated. Not only are Hunters tracked live 24 hours a day on TV for the Apex cits to follow and support, but the number of monsters creeping into the city is steadily increasing, and to top it off, someone seems intent on killing her.

The Hunter plot line touches on many themes/motifs that will be familiar to many. We have a heroine who is inserted into an unfamiliar environment and then has to fight their way to survival against difficult odds. We have mysterious conspiracies and controlling government forces who watch her every move, and we have magic and monsters.

So, anyone who likes Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Discworld, Divergent etc. will either really like the fact that this book sits in similar territory or will feel that it is too similar to other stories. I personally wasn't put off too much by the similarities to other works, but I did feel that this book focused too much on setting up the rest of the series in places. Having said that, I thought it was an enjoyable read and I look forward to catching the next instalment.