Hunter (Hunter #1)
by Mercedes Lackey.
Imagine if the separation between fiction and reality wavered, and terrible things from myth and legend and imagination suddenly came to life. This is the setup of the world of Hunter, which is our world several centuries in the future after just such an event occurs. Humans live behind their walls, constantly fighting off attacks from the creatures of the Otherworld. Joy is a Hunter, trained since childhood to fight these creatures. When she is summoned to join the ranks of the country’s best Hunters in the capital city, she quickly learns not all is as it seems- both with politics and with the Otherworld activity.
I enjoyed this. It’s a mix of adventure, fantasy, mystery, and just the beginning dashes of romance. I liked that some of the names and geography of the world was similar enough to be recognizable, but that it had morphed enough to be believable as the distant future. I especially liked the mix of elements from mythology and folklore that made up the Otherworld hordes. It does seem kind of hodge-podge at first, but given the weight of one of Joy’s first encounters it becomes clear there’s a driving force (or rather, persona) behind all of the multitudes.
I saw a review of this book where the reader thought this was trying to be just another Hunger Games. I have to disagree. There are some surface similarities: the main female character comes from the boondocks into the city, televised fighting to distract the general populace. But that’s where it ends. For one thing, Joy has an actual legit job to do: fighting off incursions of things from the Otherworld. The fact that the government televises censored versions of their work is a by-product, not the main point. And while there seems to be a faction in the government that wants to eliminate Joy, there is no one central tyrannical figure like in the Hunger Games. In fact, based on this first book, the biggest opposition Joy is going to face isn’t even human.
Overall, this is a good read, and I’m looking forward to book #2. If you like action-adventure with a dash of myth and a welcome break from the usual YA romance tropes, definitely give this a try.