Author: Mercedes Lackey

Published By: Disney-Hyperion

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                I love Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series of novels, but haven't read many of her other book series.  I know that they contain various elements of magic, some set in the future and some in the past, but that's all I know.  So, when I was offered the opportunity to check out the first book in a new series by the author, I decided to expand my horizons a bit and check out Hunter.

                Set in the distant future, our novel takes place after an apocalyptic event known as the Diseray.  Atomic weaponry destroyed much of the planet and opened a rift between our world and the Otherworld, a place in which the demons of our worst nightmares are made reality - things we have only read about in mythology books are actual beings bent on our destruction.  Humanity would not survive but for the few individuals possessing the power and the abilities to face these Otherworld beings and destroy them.

                The luckier members of society survive in enclosed communities, kept safe by walls and Hunters that stop the Otherworld beings from getting through.  Others are not so lucky.  Joyeaux Charmand is a teenage Hunter who lived and protected the lands surrounding the mountain monastery where she was raised.  Unfortunately, she learns she can no longer stay there - the Apex and her uncle are calling. 

                One of the most powerful men in the most powerful city on the planet, Joyeaux's uncle has the best intentions in calling his niece away from the only home she has ever known.  Though the government and news media will never admit it, beings from the Otherworld are getting past the formidable walls of the Apex and only the most powerful amongst the Hunters will be able to figure out how and stop them. 

                But there may be a traitor in their midst and Joyeaux, already a wary stranger in a big city, realizes that she can trust precious few with her life and secrets.  There is no better reminder of this than an ambush meant to destroy her that leaves one of her most trusted allies dead.  Can Joyeaux survive another attempt on her life while trying to find out how the Otherworlders are gaining access to the Apex before the city and its occupants are overrun?

                I was kind of taken aback that Mercedes Lackey would jump onto the dystopian world bandwagon.  It seems that everyone nowadays has a dystopian, post-apocalyptic story to tell.  But, I have to say, I really enjoyed this novel.  Sure, it has some definite Hunger Games elements, like the treatment of Hunters as celebrities, but that's about where the similarities end.  I loved the resurrection of monsters from all different mythologies and horror tales such as giant floating eyeballs, Tommyknockers, garden gnomes, vampires, the big-headed alien stylized Folk, wyverns and more. 

                Joyeaux is an extremely likeable character that we get to learn about from her own point of view.  I enjoyed the concept of the Hounds, Otherworld creatures that are linked to their Hunters and aide them in defeating the demons they find themselves up against.  I also liked that the Hunters and Hounds magic is not everlasting - that they need to feed (whether it be on real food like the Hunters or Otherworld demon energy like the Hounds) in order to replenish their strength. 

                The storyline of Hunter is quite interesting - a horror meets fantasy tale set in the dystopian universe full of action, suspense and a nifty little mystery to solve.  This novel is a great start to a brand new series by Mercedes Lackey and I just can't wait to read more!  Keep 'em coming!


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