Cover Image: Hunter

Hunter

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Member Reviews

Been going through my old netgalley requests and seeing what I have forgotten to give a review to and what I still need to read. I don't recall requesting this book or why. I haven't read the first book in the series and reading the synopsis present me doesn't have the same interest in this title as past me did.
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It’s been a while since I first read this book, and I admit, I wasn’t too fond of it the first time around. Knowing that I can get this way with Mercedes Lackey’s more recent books, though, I deliberately let it lie for a while, then picked it up again recently to reread it, to see if my opinions had changes any with the passage of time.

I did enjoy it more the second time around, which I’m happy to say. However, the problems I had with it the first time remained for my second reading.

Hunter was written during the YA dystopia boom and it really shows. Now, Lackey has shown no problem is the past with writing books in popular genres primarily to pay the bills, and in general I have no problem with that, because writing is art and art is work and work deserves to be paid for. I think perhaps it was published a bit too late to really capitalize on that boom, but it hit enough of the tail end of it to still do decently, as both of its sequels have been published between then and now.

A few hundred years in the future, the apocalypse (known as the Diseray, a corruption of Dies Irae) happened, and now the world contains all sorts of malevolent and destructive beasties from the depths of worldwide mythologies. Protecting the remains of humanity from these creatures are the Hunters, people with not only magical talents but also the ability to summon guardian beasts known as Hounds, a pack to guide and fight alongside in the war against Othersiders. In North America, Hunters are required to go to the city of Apex to do their jobs, and that’s where the story begins with Joy, on her way to Apex for the first time.

Once in Apex, Joy finds that not only does she have to protect the citizens there from incursions of Othersiders, but she also has to do so while essentially being a streaming celebrity. Watching Hunters fight monsters is entertainment to the citizens of Apex, and Hunters gain improvements to their lives by rising in the rankings of the entertainment industry. Joy rises quickly through the ranks, but it seems that somebody objects to what she’s doing or how she’s doing it, because she quickly finds herself a target, and whoever has their sights set on her doesn’t care who gets caught in the crossfire.

It’s not difficult to see the real-world inspirations for certain aspects of Hunter. People today stream aspects of their lives through sites like Twitch and YouTube, and become celebrities for it, giving people a way to live vicariously through others, and also providing comfort and inspiration to viewers. “Those celebrities started off with no more advantages than I have; I could be just like them one of these days.” It’s a sentiment I know well. It was employed in an interesting way in Hunter, since drone-cameras follow Hunters nearly everywhere to catch the exciting aspects of their lives, but also the broadcasts are on a delay, allowing editors to change or remove footage that doesn’t play into an established narrative. The governing body of Apex doesn’t want people to know that Othersiders are getting closer and closer to the city’s barriers every day, and so alter footage to make it look like Hunters are further away than they really are. Here we have the “circus” aspect of “bread and circuses;” keep people entertained so that they never wonder about broader complications; make them think they see everything, so they never question what’s happening behind the scenes. The way Lackey handled the discourse on whether stream celebrities are authentic or not was heavy-handed in places, but not entirely unwarranted.

I think my biggest problem with Hunter is its main character, Joy. She’s one of those exceptional can-do-no-wrong characters, and that much is made clear very quickly. She has a larger-than-average pack of Hounds, he’s proficient with multiple weapon types, she’s encountered things that Hunters in Apex haven’t and so gives advice to people who have been doing the job as long as or longer than she herself, right from the get-go. She ascends to near the top of the ratings ranks within a few days of arriving at Apex, she makes friends with powerful people, and she does things that have never been done before, such as acquiring someone else’s Hounds after that person dies, because she’s just that special. She’s no-nonsense and has little time for frivolities, she’s earnest about wanting to protect people when many Hunters want the perks that come with the job, and of course this makes her at least one enemy, especially when she decides she wants to push for Elite ranking after having been in Apex for, what, less than a month?

Frankly, this kind of character gets extremely tiring to read about, because they aren’t remotely believable outside of myth, and for an experienced author like Lackey to write somebody this way feels incredibly amateurish. There’s the oft-repeated advice that characters ought to have flaws, believable and relevant flaws, and no, a character who is beautiful and popular and talented at nearly everything but who, for instance, can’t sing, isn’t a believably flawed character. It doesn’t matter that she can’t sing. That’s not really a flaw. That’s just the lack of a talent. The two aren’t the same. The worst flaw I think Joy has is that she doesn’t suffer nonsense, but it’s handled in such a way that even then, she comes off as somehow the winner. If somebody got in Joy’s face and accused her of not knowing something, she’d just tightly point out that she knows how to figure it out and name off all the resources she’d use, and then people would be impressed by how well she handled the situation. She is (and I hate to use the term) the very image of the Mary Sue that is endemic in so many bad fanfiction pieces, the sort of character aspiring authors are cautioned to avoid writing.

Dislike of character types is a highly personal thing, so I admit that Joy’s presentation won’t bother everybody, but it definitely bothered me. I felt less like I was reading about a real person and more like I was reading about somebody attempting to humanize a hypothetical future fictional hero, and that’s is far more complicated than it needs to be.

For as much as I found the presentation problematic, I am, at least, interested in how the rest of the story plays out in later books. I don’t think they’re books I’ll go out of my way to track down, but if I come across them, I’ll probably give them a try, to see if Joy becomes a more interesting character or if any interesting story elements override my annoyance with her. The city of Apex, as a character, is of more interest to me, because it seems to have many layers to it, most of which depend on keeping citizens ignorant and entertained in equal measure, as well as keeping those who know better either in appalling living conditions and scrabbling to eke out a living, or in plush comfort in exchange for their silence. This riding on the coattails of the dystopian wave, I want to know what’s in store for the city, its ruling body, the systems that keep it running, and I’m more interested in that than I am in Joy McSpecial over here.
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I thought the pacing on this one was a little slow, but the moments that were action filled were quite good. The world building was great(it's Mercedes Lackey, so yeah, duh). By the end I did feel a little underwhelmed though, and at this point have honestly forgotten portions of the story. If I decide to continue with the series I will definitely need to do a reread, so it will be interesting to see what I think about the book a second time through it.
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Mercedes Lackey's story of a country monster killer brought to the big city to hunt Fey enemies for a living combines high fantasy thrills, futuristic technology, and intriguing character development.
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I love this series. Of course, I love most books by Mercedes Lackey so I am bias.  I've recommended this series to readers of Hunger Games, Eragon, and Ready Player One.  It has a great blend of fantasy and distopian elements.  The characters are interesting and most have dimention and depth.
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(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares. 
Monsters. 
Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it's taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities,behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky. 
To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people. 
Joy soon realizes that the city's powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers,and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they're in-to them, Joy and her corp of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.
When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, Joy uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them?

Another special girl saves the world after an apocalyptic event. Add monsters. Stir it up so it doesn't resemble The Hunger Games or Divergent too much. Add a dash of romantic triangle and you have every YA dystopian novel written in the last 10 years.

Just not written as well as some of the others.

I won't read more of this series.


Paul
ARH
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This book annoyed me so much. The extensive world building got extremely boring because it was purely an info-dump. I couldn’t keep track of it. The writing style is very weird. I don’t usually like being addressed when I read a book. I don’t like it when a character talks to me as if I am a part of the conversation. She says, “you know?” at the end of sentences so many times, which makes me think she’s questioning my ability to understand her. I hated the use of “certain-sure.” That phrase is used a lot, and it bothered me so much! And it’s used like, “I need to make certain-sure...” That’s not a direct quote, but it’s close. I can’t pinpoint why exactly it bothered me, but it really did. I guess if you’re going to make up a phrase, don’t make it sound so redundant? The author, through the main character, also basically tells readers to go and read about a creature in another book (Through the Looking Glass) because she didn’t feel like describing it herself. That felt like a cop out to me, and kind of lazy writing. Describe your own creatures, and don’t tell the reader you practically copied someone else’s work!
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I grew up reading Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series and I devoured them. I was so excited for a new series but I have to say I was not a fan of Hunter and probably won't continue on with this series. It was a very slow start with just a lot of information being told and not shown. I couldn't connect with the main character which affected how much I cared about the events of the story. All in all, I think I'd rather go back and read about Talia, Kerowyn and the like instead of continuing on with this series. 

2.5 stars
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I have tried to read this several times, but it always fails to grab and keep my attention. This was just not for me.
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Didnt enjoy this book at all, i found it boring and it didnt hold my attention.
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HUNTER is one of those books where you have to immerse yourself and give the book plenty of time to fully take off. The beginning is very slow, almost painfully so. The world building is immense and full of info dumps, which slows the pacing a great deal. However, waiting for the payoff is worth it in the end. The book, once it takes off is very impressive, and I was fully hooked, it's just a matter of being patient through all of those early info-dumps. It's a bit of a shame, because I feel like this book had incredible potential, but the beginning slowness will likely deter many. Once things are set up, the fascinating world and interesting characters truly stand out, making me wish the early parts of the book would have been tightened to allow this new series to truly shine.

Joy was a really strong and interesting character for me. At the start sure, she seems very Mary Sue, however, as the book progresses, she starts to come out of her shell, and her strength shines. Of course, she's very special, which is a common theme in YA novels, but I didn't find her overtly so, or unrealistic. She's a game changer, and I can't wait to see how the story progresses as she makes her mark. 

Slow beginnings aside, all in all HUNTER was really entertaining read. The perfect blend of dystopian, scifi, fantasy, and paranormal all in one, HUNTER earns a recommendation from me
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So this book is set in our future, which makes it in my opinion a dystopian novel. In said future, things were going horribly wrong and people thought the Apocalypse was coming. But not fast enough. So some religious extremists bombed the world to further the Apocalypse somewhat. The only thing they achieved though, was creating a world in which Othersiders, monsters, can come through. The only positive aspect is that some humans now have the ability to do magic as well, and they bond with Hounds -the only friendly creatures the Otherworld has brought us.
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This first book in the Hunter Series is a bit of a challenge as it often feels similar to many post-apocalyptic dystopian YA novels. However, there are many aspects that will make this series enjoyable for certain readers. 

Joyeux is a Hunter, confident of her skills, but reluctant to be called to Apex, the center of power. She's wary to be constantly in front of cameras showing off  what she does to protect the post-disaray citizens. The subtle linguistic word choices can be annoying to read in print, until one stops to think of how such a linguistic shift could happen if there was such significant technological upheaval. For Joy as a character, the first book was frustrating for this adult to read. I wanted to smack her a few times and was thankful when her hounds gave her some much needed info. Yet at the same time, I could see a YA reading this novel and worrying about her future: what would moving to college be like, should she participate in social media as she gets to be older, what is popularity and at what cost? Love? Family? Friendship? Education/training? As for plot, yes it can feel that Lackey visited a dystopian plot generator, but that's ok. It's a fun splurge read.
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Joy has lived on a mountain with the monks, being trained as a Hunter. She is a protector of the Civs (civilians) and schooled at fighting monsters. When called to leave the mountain and go to help her uncle in the city, she obediently leaves her home. Joy proves her prowess as a fighter and begins her new job as a city Hunter. The job is more complicated than she expected since more monsters are seeping into the city and the surrounding territory. She discovers there are mysterious forces at play that may be contributing to the chaos. 

Lackey spends a tremendous amount of time filling the reader in on the background of Joy’s training and the work of a Hunter. This makes the story drag on at a snail’s pace. When Joy does confront monsters, the encounters are too swift and not as integral to the action as the protracted explanations. 

On the bright side there’s Joy’s hounds. They steal each scene they are in. These fantastical creatures are creative and unique additions to the book. They are more fascinating than the characters who are shallow and one-dimensional. Joy’s personal life fails to generate drama but her relationship with her hounds is strong. 

The plot has potential and one can hope that the action will take center stage in the next book. What we need to see is more passion, character development and thrilling battles.
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DNF. Unfortunately, this book had too much info dumping and not enough action throughout the story. I was really hoping this book would have been spectacular due to the well-written blurb but it fell short for my reading tastes.
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This is a great book that offers a story along the lines of The Hunger Games but with a fantasy bent. The protagonist knows more than she is letting on as she makes her way to capital city to become a monster hunter. There are deeper layers to what is going on in the capital and we get hints of a bigger game with the appearance of the Othersiders. A great story, impeccable worldbuilding, and a main character that readers will get behind.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. However it wasn't my cup of tea so I won't review it publicly.
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This book was fun! It wasn't really substantial, but it was enjoyable with its little quirks.
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DNF (did not finish) at 44%

I remember having my interest piqued by the unique world introduced by the author but it wasn't enough to keep me reading so I eventually gave up on it.
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No lies, I originally requested this book because I saw it as my chance to finally read a novel by Mercedes Lackey.  Both because she's a rather prevalent name in the fantasy world and because she's a fellow Oklahoman. This story did not disappoint. I'm glad I finally had to chance to read one of her books! I'll definitely pick up the rest of the series and possibly some of her other works!
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