Title: Hunter (Hunter #1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Fantasy / Dystopian / Sci-Fi
Publisher: Disney – Hyperion
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
Kindle Edition: 384 Pages
Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.
Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.
With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why
“I see you, Hunter.” There it was, the traditional opening of a battle. But not a duel. Good, that meant I could cheat, and I intended to.
I received an advance review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into with this book. Having never read anything by Mercedes Lackey, I went to Goodreads to scope things out. I was disappointed by what I found. Most of the top reviewers didn’t even get a quarter of the way through this novel before they gave up. While that made me nervous, I found the synopsis intriguing enough to give it a shot. I am glad I did.
Hunter sucked me in immediately. The main character’s internal monologue is not only informative, but charming. The author used this time to establish her unique dysoptian/fantasy/sci-fi hybrid setting. Combining that world with Joyeaux’s modern teenage voice makes for a very engaging read. By the time the real action began I had a grasp on the world and could focus on the story instead of trying to puzzle out the setting.
I was disappointed in the story arch. The author chose to be vague about the identity of the antagonist, leaving the climax to feature a relatively unimportant character. It is clear that she has grand plans for the story over the life of the entire series, but she failed to establish enough in the debut book to keep readers hooked.
While I found the world to be interesting, the main character is not. Joy is your typical YA Heroine: young, smart, and the best in her field of study. She is a unique snowflake. I had hoped that she would develop into something more than a Mary Sue, but was disappointed. The more you read the more special she becomes.
This genre-bending debut may be lacking on several fronts, but I still found myself drawn in. I devoured the book as fast I could and even with a lackluster ending, I wanted the sequel. The concept for the world is just unique enough to make me want to see the author’s vision. And, I do believe she has one.
Recommended for: Readers who enjoyed the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi.