Got another book done. I ended up reading a lot less over the holidays than I was hoping or planning, but you know all about that. So my large stack of books sat gathering dust and is now running out of renewals. I’m now trying desperately to get through them all before then. With this one now complete, I’ve got 4 more with only 1 renew left. And to illustrate how much of a book-whore I am; I picked up another 5 more yesterday. AND I’m now convinced I’m going to be getting a card for the neighboring library system……thankfully that can wait for a bit while I get through these……unless I add more.
Series: Hunter Series; Book 1
Author: Mercedes Lackey
ROTS Setting: EU, Near Future, Post-Apocalyptic, Higher Magic, Supernatural
Synopsis: Joy has lived a terrifying, yet stable, life. In the aftermath of the Diseray, when the magical and fantastical collided with our current reality, everyone’s life is terrifying. When her uncle gives her an ultimatum she can’t avoid, she’s thrust into world of twisted politics and shady deals. Now she must face the monsters at the door along with the ones poised to stab her, and her uncle, in the back.
Recommendation: Mid-Late Teens. The reading is easy and the plot isn’t too complicated with only minor gore, but a fair amount of violence.
I was mildly concerned when I started reading this book. Supernatural fantasy is generally not my style of books and I was concerned how much supernatural there would be here. Thankfully it was well done and I didn’t feel bogged down in the supernatural aspects and it focused on the fantasy/magical aspects a lot more. The whole book felt like a Lackey work, but I did think it came a cross a little watered down and a tad over simplified. The setting and characters seemed drab and washed out compared to some of the other books I’ve read recently. Part of it might have been how the book was narrated as the main character seemed to need to explain everything. Also the main character is so OP (overpowered) that I never once felt her life was in danger and the only reason she wasn’t an arrogant bully was because her childhood teachers would have beat her to a pulp and likely beat it out of her by that point.
Joy, Joyeaux Charmand (Yep that’s her name…..add “er” to the end of her last name and she’s a pokemon!), grew up in a mountain village and was trained as a Hunter at the nearby monastery. It’s a super secret monastery that shouldn’t have been training Hunters but did anyways. So Joy was already pre-trained and far superior to pretty much everyone when she’s forced to go to Apex, the capital city for “training.”
A Hunter is a person capable of magic and has the ability to summon Hounds. A Hound is an otherworldly creature, the only magical beast/monster, that works with humans and can be summoned from the Otherside to help fight the other Othersiders/monsters. They usually take the form of a dog or wolf. Othersiders are all the mythological, traditional and religious creatures and monsters which entered our reality during the apocalyptic Diseray.
If you don’t believe me when I say that Joy is OP, just compare the power and skills of Joy in the beginning and then at the end of the book. You’ll also note that other than a single initial assessment she is never given any additional training. Her “mentors” spend more time explaining things about the city or the area they are Hunting in than actually instructing…..because they never actually instruct her. Every aspect of her training, power, skills, and Hounds is so riddled with plot holes and deus ex machina that it makes everything feel artificial. Her abilities make her feel like a fanfic character. I’ll leave you to actually draw the lines but it’s clear Joy is extremely overpowered.
As a character, Joy isn’t that bad. She’s three-dimensional, feels real and her personal history match her actions. As a whole she isn’t even that annoying. She even grows and changes as a person a little bit…..not too much because of the constant god-mode vibes, but I’ve read way worse main characters.
The romance aspect was underwhelming even for a guy who generally finds teen romance a point in favor of human extinction. It felt more like she found a boy who was easy to look at and she could trust than any deeper feelings. There might have been some love triangle vibes but the dude had already said he wasn’t available which was a bit of a shame because I could have altered a handful of words and had a perfect love triangle going…….now that I think about it I wonder if the love triangle was edited out…….Huh.
It was…..odd how every religion/belief system was given equal status except for Christianity which was stereotyped and then have the skewed stereotype applied equally to all individuals. It was so in contrast to everything else described in the world it felt like it was done purposefully, maliciously or to make a point, or through blind ignorance. Like I said, it was just…..odd, and could have easily been done better or removed.
I loved the setting and recent history of the universe. I really liked how all the aspects of Apex were handled. It honestly reminded me of a setting you and I would have come up with, Jared. I just wish it and the characters came across more……vibrant……intense? So in summary you’ve got a book with good plot points, decent secondary characters and a masterfully painted landscape that has been desaturated and hidden behind a main character that is dwarfed by cartoonishly oversized weapons, skills and abilities.
And with that, I’m done. I still recommend this book, but I am a little concerned with where the next book will need to go to keep Joy moving up and growing. Whatever happens will determine if this series ends up in the Not Recommended pile or not.