Sunday, August 2, 2015
Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
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.
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.
Imagine that our world was deeply damaged by our own failure to care for it, that it was now inhabited by powerful magical creatures that attacked humans for the energy that is released upon death. The living inhabitants are regulated and controlled by a central government that dictates not just where one lives but the professions available (Hunters, Military, Psychi that are able to read people's minds, as well as the standard professions that keep the world running. Only those that perform highly valued functions are granted the right to live in the protected areas. Salaries and benefits are all based on one's usefulness and rank in this new society.
Our heroine Joyeaux Charmand is a young hunter who has been ordered to move to the Apex to work as a hunter. Joy is coming from a remote mountain area where a secret and hidden monastery holds a powerful group of hunters and teachers. Not only must she conceal the monastery's existence, but she has to adapt to the very public and commercial culture in the Apex.
She finds that the hunters are observed, recorded, and their days are transmitted on cable tv. Each hunter has her own channel with daily updates. Their rankings determine their perks as well as help to distract the greater population from analyzing the stresses and dangers that come from the monsters that live around them. Joy is quick to understand the politics and the stakes, but she's entered a deadly arena. She must determine who she can trust and how best to protect her uncle, a high government officer, from subtle political traps.
As Joy makes her way through the hunter culture, she finds friends and allies and we can't help but root for her. She's more than a team player, her focus is on protecting the Cits and her fellow hunters regardless of the risk to herself. Her sense of honor seems almost old fashioned and make her stand out among the more jaded Apex hunters and politicos.
Every hunter commands magical dogs that aid in their hunt. With 7 hounds, Joy doesn't just have one of the largest packs, her hounds are particularly gifted and strong. I loved that though Joy goes through terrifying ordeals, her behavior wins over other hounds and that her pack grows. I enjoyed Hunter so much that I wanted to order the second book in the series halfway through reading the first book.
About the Author:
Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times best-selling American fantasy author behind the Heralds of Valdemar series, the Elemental Masters series, the 500 Kingdoms series, and many more. She has published over one hundred novels in under twenty-five years.