I've been a fan of Mercedes Lackey for years. She does a great job writing in the Fantasy genre, and HUNTER is no exception. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, it's difficult to say what caused the most damage: plagues, volcanoes, earthquakes, storms, bombs... or the Breakthrough, which brought the Othersiders and magic through to the world. After the Diseray, humans banded together to stay protected against the Othersiders, monsters from fairy tales and legend brought to live. Only the Hunters can stand against the Othersiders.
HUNTER is the story of Joyeaux Charmand, a Hunter trained by the Masters at the Monastery, and ordered to Apex City to join the Hunters there in protecting the Cits. While this book is technically a YA book, I think that had more to do with the age of the main character (sixteen) rather than the story, and I think this is a book that would be enjoyed by readers of all ages. While the basic plot can be seen as a "coming of age" novel for Joy, it is more complex, layered with a detailed history, magic, and even the twists of politics. Hunters are not only protectors, but also entertainment to distract the citizens from the horrors surrounding them. It's also nice to see that the author has included a healthy friendship between characters, instead of just romance. The characters themselves are well-developed, with each of the main characters having a backstory and an individual personality. The characters interact as real people would in a similar situation, without it feeling forced or contrived.
HUNTER is the first book in a new series, and holds the promise of hours of enjoyment. While the ending doesn't answer all of the questions you might have, it wraps up the correct story line with only a few dangling threads to lead you into the next story, leaving the reader satisfied but still wanting to learn more about Joy and the world she lives in.
I received an uncorrected proof through NetGalley in exchange for a review, however I also bought the hardcover book once I realized how much I enjoyed it!
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