Hunter (Hunter #1) by Mercedes Lackey
Published Year: 2015
Genre: Fantasy (side of Dystopia)
"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 picked this one up on a whim from my local library and actually ended up enjoying it. I knew nothing about it going in, just the little blurb on the website, and figured what the heck. I've got some time to kill and here's a book to read. Match made in heaven, right? (The last few times I've done this, I've gotten burned: All the Bright Places and Girl with Glass Feet) Well, this time I was more right than I was those times...
Slotted as a fantasy, I was kind of surprised by the feel of this book. It felt very dystopian to me as I was reading it because Joy reads like The One To Save Us All, but because of the fantasy, ML was doing a lot of backstory and historical explaining to the reader. So it felt very weird for those two things to mesh together, and I'm still not entirely sure which way I would classify this book (my solution: double classification! Dystopian fantasy).
Joyeaux Charmand is young for a Hunter but she (secretly) "popped" at a very young age, so she also knows a lot more than other more experienced Hunters. This was also something that I thought meshed oddly. ML had a character who knew a lot when she was in her element, but she had completely removed her from her element, so did she still know a lot? It was confusing, and I felt like I didn't really know the full Joy either way.
I did really enjoy Joy's relationship with her Hounds. Actually, my favorite parts of the book were the parts with the Hounds...
There's this underlying current of Big Brother throughout the novel that isn't really addressed. Sure, it could just be the cameras, but ML implies that it really isn't. Maybe this will be picked up in book 2, but if this was supposed to be more of a plot line, then it should have gotten more emphasis.
Overall, I did enjoy this one and will most likely pick up book 2 (if that's happening?), but I definitely think there were some parts that could have been improved upon.
3 out of 5 stars.