Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

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Our Score
Hunter is the first in a YA fantasy trilogy set in post-apocalyptic America.
 

Synopsis

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.

Monsters.

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 corps of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, she 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…

Pros:

 
  • The premise is unusual. Unlike most post-apocalyptic fiction, this one has fairies, dragons, red caps, goblins–all your basic fantasy creatures, and they’re all evil. Coupled with cool technology, all the aspects meld together to make a fresh sort of dystopian fiction.
  • The story is rich in conflict – personal, familial, political. All of these work together to create a rich mystery that a reader will keep turning the pages to uncover. 
  • The characters are likable, especially Joy. You root for her and her menagerie of magical dogs (which are really cool).

Cons:

 
  • The writing is clunky in places. But story is king, and this is a great story. Despite my inner editor wanting to reword things, I pushed through to the end, but this and the following are the reason I’m rating the series as 4-star instead of 5-star.
  • My chief complaint is the anti-Christian overtones. “Christers” are responsible for the nuclear war that toasted humanity. Apparently some went rogue and thought the advent of the Rapture needed some help. (OK, that could be plausible with some deranged fanatics, BUT…) Christians are depicted as ignorant, misogynistic, and misguided. Worst of all is the implication and their end-times beliefs were both wrong and misguided. While the main character makes friends with a Christer, she is seen as the tolerant one. He’s portrayed as a good, moral guy with misguided belief. You really like his character despite these “flaws,” but all three books in the series take potshots at Christianity.

Final Word

 
I enjoyed the series, despite its anti-Christian barbs. The third book, advertised as the thrilling conclusion, left a few unanswered questions so I could see another book being added at some point. If it were, I would read it.
 

Discussion Questions

 
  1. Do you think books that are anti-Christian should be avoided? 
  2. Have you ever been confronted by friends or strangers who have made jokes or insulted your faith? What did you do?
  3. Do you prefer fantasies where creatures such as dragons, vampire, and fairies are good or bad? Why?
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Lisa Godfrees
Lisa Godfrees is fascinated with creatures that don't exist, especially jackalopes. Cactus cats are a close second. When not searching for elusive mythological beasts, she types middle-grade and YA fantasy. Looking for your next read? Check out her website for recommendations on great science fiction and fantasy books from a Christian worldview. Visit her at www.LisaGodfrees.com.

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