Series: Hunter #1
Published by Blackstone Audio, Disney-Hyperion on September 1, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours, 24 minutes
Narrator: Amy Landon
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
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.
I thought Hunter would be a great listen for me and unfortunately it fell short of my expectations. I’ve only read one other book by Mercedes Lackey (House of the Four Winds which she co-wrote with James Mallory) and I loved that book.
Oh Joy, you weren’t a Joy for me
Joy is a young hunter sent away from her mountain home to work as a hunter in the capital city of Apex where her uncle lives. He’s in charge of all the hunters in the area but there are some political under currents that are going on he can’t explain to Joy. So she’s thrown into a situation where she isn’t aware of everything that is going on (ok that happens to most heroines in YA so this works) and its a very different lifestyle then she is used to. But none of it seemed to work for me. There is of course the YA romance element and a number of ancillary characters that weren’t bad but not as strongly fleshed out as I would have liked.
Actually none of the characters really stood out to me. Joy was so bland that I felt like she had almost no personality and yet she was one of those special girls that most YA seem to feature. At any given moment rather then us getting a snippet of her personality showing thru via her actions, there was a deluge of observational info and info about how things are done or were done that would completely dwarf any reactions the reader would have gotten from Joy. Instead of reading a scenario and getting more from her you get “this is how its done, this is how these creatures act, this is what the scenery looks like” etc. Or at least that is how I experienced it. The all tell and little show made me one disgruntled listener.
Yes, yes…Too much information
This was the perfect example of the type of storytelling that just doesn’t work for me (some might love it tho). I was overloaded with details. Indeed the first chunk of the book was so info dump heavy that I almost stopped listening entirely. It got a little bit better as I continued on but I felt like this was a trend through the whole book. I think that was just the style it was going with. There was so much information that I stopped caring about any of it. I hate to be persnickity on this but it was like being spoon fed. I hate to compare again to the other book I read by Lackey but I really must because I didn’t see that sort of info dumping in House of the Four Winds. Perhaps it was a case of changing the writing style because of the target audience? Whatever it was I felt like it was a shame because I really did think if there had been some major tweaking I could have enjoyed this one so much more.
The idea of the world and the genre mashup was fascinating. Post apocalyptic dystopian mixed with a heavy fantasy / portal world element. It could have been so great for me. Perhaps with all the info and setup that was given in the first book the next book won’t be like this but I’ve decided if there is a second book (which I’m sure there will be) I won’t be reading ti.
Thoughts on the narration
I have a hard time judging the narration of this because I didn’t enjoy the story which likely makes me judge the narrator Amy Landon harshly. I tried to keep that in mind but I couldn’t help not being impressed by the narration. Joy was such a bland character and that was reflected in the narration. Was she really a bland character or was the narration bland? Usually narration can make a bland character come more to life for me but this time it didn’t. The voice characterization s Landon did for the multiple characters was acceptable but since I wasn’t really into any of the characters the voices kind of blended together. None stood out distinctly.
I’d have to say I wouldn’t personally recommend this book to adults that enjoy young adult fantasy. Though lately I’ve found it’s harder to impress me in this particular genre and age target range. So if it still sounds really appealing to you definitely still give it a whirl but I would say listen to the sample first.