Published: September 1st, 2015
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 have loved Mercedes Lackey for many years. While I may not go out and buy her books the instant they hit the shelves, I am always aware of new books and I try and read as many as I possibly can. Her Obsidian trilogy and 500 Kingdoms series are amongst my very favourites. What I love is her variety. Her books range from SciFi, to fantasy and every possible shade in between. She has fairytales, dragons, mages, elves, owls and spaceships, and just about anything else you can think of. She writes by herself and she writes with other authors. A very versatile author indeed.
Hunter is the newest YA novel and captivated me from page one. Joy is a down to earth, pleasant, well adjusted protagonist who is comfortable in her own skin. She thinks problems through, isn't impulsive and allows herself time to break down and recharge once she has the job done. I just loved her non -confrontational way of dealing with bullies and the very special relationship she has with her hounds. I also loved that she acknowledges that she still has a lot to learn.
Josh, Karly and Mark were all great characters too. We get to know them a little, but are aware that there is still more to learn. There's friendship and fun, work and stress, fighting and dying - yup, she's not afraid to kill off characters, much to my distress. There is also a little romance, although only a very little and it is by no means a focus of the story, which makes this book fairly suitable for younger teens. Expect to see all those nasty creatures from old fairytales - goblins, tommyknockers, wyverns, vampires, 'folk' and any number of unusual nasties and they are all up to no good.
I'm thinking that, given the ending, there are going to be one or two more books, although this one ends fairly satisfactorily there are definitely some non-resolved issues. I will be keeping my eye open for sequels. With lots of mystery and tension, lovable characters and some intense action, Hunter was pure delight to read. I'll definitely be recommending this one.