HunterAuthor: Mercedes Lackey
Genre: YA Fantasy, Dystopia
Expected Publication: September 1st 2015 by Disney Hyperion
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
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 received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley.*
Goodreads is filled with DNF reviews of Hunter and I can't blame those readers who didn't finish the book. I, myself, was tempted to DNF this one, too. I mean, this could be waaaaay better. You have there an interesting premise, Ms. Lackey. Reality TV in a fantasy dystopian setting? Okay, so maybe it sounds too The Hunger Games, but c'mon, there are a hundred ways this could be unique. I'm not saying it's not. It's just that it lacks something that will make this stand out. So, on with the lists:
What I liked:
- I liked the concept of Hunters, of people with magical abilities who fight the Othersiders. And that on top of them, there are still the Elites. Double awesome.
- The Hounds! The mythology surrounding the book is intriguing. I enjoyed the different creatures – the Othersiders and the Hounds – mentioned in the book. There is a really diverse mix of mythological creatures in this book that makes it colorful. You don't know what is coming out next.
- I liked that even though Joy is a Hunter, there's still a vulnerable side to her and she allows herself to feel fear and despair. She's not coldhearted. She breaks down, although she's smart not to let other people see her moments of weakness. And she's got a good head on her shoulders.
- A few other characters: Armorer Kent, Karly and White Knight.
What I didn't like:
- I am not a fan of the writing. It's like 90% of the book is Joy's internal monologue. I want interactions! I want dialogue! I didn't get a lot of that. There's infodump early in the book, too.
- I was confused what the conflict really is. Joy's thinking about a lot of things, but it's never really clear what she needs to be careful about. Vague uncle is vague.
- The pacing is somewhat slow.
- The supposed-to-be impactful events turned out to be anticlimactic. I mean, hey, these scenes should make me feel something. But it felt like the author rushed through these parts. I read Joy's reactions, what she was feeling, but I didn't feel it, too.
- The world-building. Did I mention the infodump? Despite all the things that Joy bombarded me with in the first 10% of the book, I still had a hard time picturing this dystopian setting. Maybe it's like Panem, maybe not?
- I WANT MORE MAGIC!
I'm not sure if I'm going to pick up the sequel when it comes out. Like I said, there is an unresolved conflict (whatever that is), so maybe that will be explored deeper in the next book. Hunter is an okay read, though. If you can get through the first half of the book, that is.