Joyeaux Charmand has been raised as a Hunter in a mountain monastery. Her training began early and has been assiduously cultivated by skilled Masters. At fifteen, she is summoned from the reclusive monastery to the city of Apex where she expects to employ her skills protecting the citizens. What she discovers is that there is more to her new profession than simply protecting the citizens and that there are political undercurrents that must be navigated.
The world building was excellent, and the character development was as well. Survival/magical skills are the metier of a select few whose superior talents are both inherent and trained--following the theme of several well-known YA novels in recent years. It also uses the "reality show" motif; devoted fans, ratings, and celebrity status throw Joy for a loop when she first arrives.
Reviews of this one are startlingly opposing, which surprised me as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Is there a derivative element? Yes, but there are only so many stories to tell and the manner of telling is often extremely varied. Christopher Booker says there are 7 basic plots:
- Overcoming the Monster (an antagonistic force--which may or may not be an actual monster--which is as old as Beowulf and recent as The Hunger Games)
- Rags to Riches
- The Quest
- Voyage and Return
(I realize I'm digressing, but Robert Tobias says there are 20 Master Plots and there is always Man vs Nature, Man vs Man, vs machine, vs god or religion, vs self, etc.)
Recently, the YA novel genre has embraced Booker's Overcoming the Monster plot, with some novels doing it better than others. When I finished the book, I was quite pleased with Lackey's telling and was surprised to see such dichotomy in the Goodreads reviews. One star and five stars with emphatic opinions. I would assign it 4 stars; I think its intended audience is for the younger end of the YA scale, but that didn't impair my enjoyment.
I admit to finding the beginning a bit slow and deliberately vague, but once past that initial portion, Hunter was fun and exciting with characters that interested me.
Post scheduled for Aug. 11.
Middle School/YA. Sept. 1, 2015. Print version: 384 pages.