AUTHOR: Mercedes Lackey
SERIES: Hunter (#1)
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
GENRE: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy
RATING: 1.5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- The plot itself wasn't overly terrible. It lacked originality because it sounded similar to Dystopian stories I had read previously. But it was still pretty cool! The monsters that Lackey worked in were pretty well researched and came from a variety of different myths and legends from various cultures and I really liked that. I felt the same about the hounds (though I felt like I didn't get to know most of them well enough) because all of them were unique to their owner. The story structure wasn't in any way confusing either so it flowed nicely enough that I understood what was going on.
What I Disliked:
- Where to begin? I'll start with Joy, our main character. The whole book is narrated from her POV and that was the real reason that it took me such a long time to get through it. She is, what is commonly known in the Book Blogging world as a 'Mary Sue'. She could not be a more perfect, nauseating, naive MC with no personality if she tried. Oh and of course, she was absolutely perfect at everything. Not once did I feel like she was in any real danger because she always seemed to have the upper hand. By comparison, the characters that surrounded her fell flat. Their personalities were one-dimensional and grated on me, and most of the characters that were mentioned as if they were important were never seen again. I really felt like Lackey was very lazy because she would often choose one character to represent the personality of a whole group (Bya the Hound was a clear example of this: favouritism if ever I saw it).
- The world-building was very confusing at times and I found myself a little frustrated while reading. Firstly Lackey is a big fan of info-dumping. Not even for just the first few chapters, but for the entire book. Literally every single situation is accompanied by a three page manual on how and why that is happening in relation to the world around Joy. It was a trawl to get through. Secondly, Lackey felt it necessary to try and give the idea that things had changed by simply changing the names of things we all know and love to a slightly different name. Guys, 'ballet dancers' are now 'ballot dancers'. What a change!
- Lackey's writing did not impress me in the slightest either. I honestly got the impression that Lackey was trying so hard to write from a young person's perspective but didn't have a true understanding of how young people speak. There was a lot of immature, teenage sounding drama and far too much repetition. She also spoon-fed the reader when it came to how to feel about a situation. Something would happen followed by a paragraph long monologue about how Joy felt about the situation and how she was justified in feeling that way. All of this was unnecessary and made me feel like Lackey didn't trust the reader to 'get' her book.
I was so disappointed by this one. The cover was beautiful, the premise really promising, but it just ended up not living up to expectations. The character's were one-dimensional, the main character made me roll my eyes far too many times, the info-dumping never stopped and the writing tone was far too 'high-school drama' which didn't suit the supposedly serious subject. I had heard a lot about Lackey's books, so I was disappointed that I didn't enjoy this one. I'm pretty sure that I won't be reading the next one in the series, unless the reviews tell me that it gets a lot better.