[The Bone Witch] Rin Chupeco

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The Bone Witch was a novel with a nice premise but the execution was not strong enough to keep my interest. Told in two perspectives, The Bone Witch follows Tea, a Dark Asha, as she discovers her powers in the past and in the present as she tells her story to a banished storyteller. Her story begins when she accidentally brings her brother back from the dead and soon she is fully entrenched in her new life as a Dark Asha, one of the rare witches who can raise and command the dead, both human and daeva. Her training means that she gains more control and she must make decisions that will affect her future and that of those around her.

There were things I really liked about this novel. I thought that the fantasy part of it–the idea of it, at least–was something that was creative. I liked that the main character was ostracized even by other witches because of her powers and that she didn’t have control over them at first. I particularly liked the idea that you couldn’t hide the feelings in your heart–unless you literally hid it behind something–because you had a heartsglass that swirled with color. The little touches like this were really well done, but ultimately The Bone Witch fell too much to the side of information dumping.

The world, when it should have been interesting, was full of too much information at one time. Despite the amount of information given to me, I don’t feel like I know much about the world. Few things really stood out. I know a little bit about the daeva, these monster-like creatures that are reborn every so many years, terrorize the general populace, and need to be put down by the Dark Asha again. Then there are all of these places that were mentioned multiple times and are likely important, but I couldn’t keep any of them straight. I’m not sure if it was because of the information dumping, the point of view, or the storytelling itself, but I just couldn’t distinguish one from the other.

I loved the culture of the Asha, however. It reminded me of what I know about the geisha culture but with the added element of fighting. I wish that the classes that Tea had taken hadn’t been glossed over, because that would have been really cool to read more about. Especially the Dark Asha. They’re a dying type of witch that are extremely rare. If they’re needed to basically save everyone, why the heck are they so ostracized? Give me more of those details! Show me more on why Tea is where she is when we see her in the present. I need to see it, not be told it.

I do think that there was some element of failure in the choice that Rin Chupeco made regarding the points of view. Half of the story was told in Tea’s point of view and the other half was told in the Bard’s point of view as he listens to an older Tea. Both were lacking in that drive that really makes me want to read a story. I felt that it was two stories in one–that of a girl discovering her power and that of a woman trying to start a war–and neither of them really meshed well with the other. Every time I felt that I was getting into one story, we jumped back into the other. It was really frustrating. Having two first person points of view didn’t help either. I should have known who they were at the end of the novel, but I didn’t. And not knowing the characters made it really hard to get into the novel.

I do think that people may like this book. There’s a really interesting magic system and the novel ends with the promise of more action in the next novel. I just wish some of that action had been in this novel. For me personally, however, it didn’t leave me with enough that I want to check out the next book. I felt that for all of the inaction in the novel, to cram all of the action at the end solely to have a cliffhanger that leads into the next book was pretty lame. When I found so much of the book to be slow and boring, that bit at the end is not going to save it. The Bone Witch needed to start more in the middle of the story and its action rather than the very beginning. The very beginning was engaging, but as the book went on it lost that spark. Ultimately, I felt like nothing happened. So while it wasn’t the worst book (although I should have just put it down and not finished it in the end), I can’t rate it any higher than this.

2 stars.

 

[The Dream Protocol: Descent] Adara Quick

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What would a world be like if dreams were controlled by the government and your place in life determined at age 15? What would a world be like if nightmares were weaponized and you could be punished for anything they determined were wrong? In The Dream Protocol, your life is lived in a grey world and your only escape is the dreams that you can afford. Then at age 35, you’re no longer wanted and you take your Descent. Deirdre is no longer content with living this way. As her mother’s Descent creeps steadily closer, she begins to rebel against the norm. When who she loves is threatened, she discovers that she will do anything to protect them–even if it means putting herself in danger.

So I will begin by saying that I’ve never had a novel length story published. But I have written and read a lot of stories, particularly young adult ones, in the last year and a half or so, so I know what I like to see in novels such as these. The Dream Protocol has everything that I like to see in a dystopian novel, but sadly, they all never go beyond the idea. I felt that this novel was built around the bare-bones of a plot, but was never fully fleshed out. As it’s the first novel in a series, perhaps this is explored in the next novels. However,  because it’s a first novel, the fact that it’s full of big ideas that aren’t fleshed out kind of damns it.

There are so many interesting things that are introduced in The Dream Protocol but never pan out into something more. There’s a prophecy, but we’re never shown how it’s connected to Deirdre and her family. We’re teased with hints of what the Dream Protocol truly is as we’re given accounts and reactions periodically throughout the novel, but this never expands into something more. One of my big disappointments was that I wish it had been described more. Instead, we’re given small details that don’t really flesh out the world. Everyone wore grey, the walls were grey, there was no sky…grey overwhelmingly describes the blandness of the book.

I also didn’t understand why the action was only in the last 25% of the book, especially when the bulk of the book didn’t do a good job at creating setting. It ended up making the book seem poorly plotted and unfinished, almost as if Quick only sent in half of her manuscript or someone made the decision to divide a longer manuscript into two in order to make a series. I would have been more interested in the book if the climax had happened in the middle and I then was able to see the consequences of that. The cliffhanger of the novel is roughly cut off in the middle and is really jarring.

Considering that the book is supposed to be about dreams I found it strangely lacking in details on them. A special dream is introduced in the text, but the elements of it are not further explored. They weren’t focused on them too much other than to show that dreams could easily be turned into nightmares for the dreaded ‘Mare weapon. I wanted to see more of people’s dependence on the dreams–after all, they can only dream what the government wants them to see and with a dependence on the government for dreams, they can easily control the populace. But it wasn’t explored. It was one of the loose threads that I was surprised about, considering the heavy focus on dreams in the summary.

Ultimately, this book gave me a really weird way to reflect on it. You know that feeling when you’re not really hungry, but you do the motions of eating because you rationally realize that you should eat, even if you don’t enjoy it at all and it’s purely for fuel, not pleasure? That’s exactly how I felt while reading this book. I read it just to read, just to pass a couple of hours to wile away the boring hours at my desk. There wasn’t really anything that got me really excited about it, which was a disappointment considering the idea behind the novel. I wanted to like it.

With the way the novel ends, it’s obvious that this is a projected series, although I’m unsure of the number of books planned. I did some research while writing this review, and while I’m given a short preview of The Dream Protocol: Selection at the end of my ebook, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of information online about this book (i.e., not on Amazon, goodreads, or other such sites), even though there’s a cover on Quick’s website and a “date” of projected publication set as Winter 2016 (according to my ARC). I was further confused when the news portion of her site said that a book three cover reveal will be coming soon (although this may be a typo, to be honest). I feel that there should be more information on the next book in the series, even just a basic page on them because when readers are interested in a series and there isn’t that information, they may turn away from your series out of frustration.

While The Dream Protocol: Descent was chock full of interesting ideas, the lack of expansion on them made me disappointed and affected my enjoyment of the novel. I will likely not continue the series because of that and the lack of information on the next novel. It makes me worried that I’ve invested time in a series that will not continue. Many others have enjoyed this book but it’s just not for me.

2 stars.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. The Dream Protocol: Descent was published on April 20th, 2016.

[Throne of Glass] Sarah J. Maas

 

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Throne of Glass is the first novel in a series about Celaena Sardothien, an assassin who has been toiling in the slave mines of Endovier for a year when she is suddenly released under one condition: she must fight in a competition to be the King’s Champion. Only then will she win her freedom. As Adarlan’s Assassin, she strikes fear into the hearts of people who know her name; as Celaena, she’s only a girl to the men in the competition and easily brushed aside. As the competition continues, Celaena proves that she’s not easily ignored, but soon that’s the least of their worries. Something is killing the competitors–and it’s only a matter of time before it comes for her.

If you only read the synopsis of the novel, it sounds pretty good. It’s only when you open the pages and read the first few chapters that you realize it’s not that great. This novel came out a few years ago when I was still working at a bookstore, and I remember picking it up and dismissing it as something that I wouldn’t enjoy. That opinion held true to some extent. I still read through this book because I’d heard from several reviewers that I follow that this is one of their favorite series and that subsequent books are far better. This meant that as much as this book was overwhelmingly meh to me, I had to read it to see if the series is as good as everyone says.

That said, there were things that I did really like about this book. The idea of a female assassin was great, if poorly executed. I just didn’t believe that Celaena was that horrifying assassin. She focused entirely too much on sweets and outfits. There were more descriptions of the intricacies of Celaena’s outfits rather than her actions in this competition. That is what I was interested in. It made Celaena’s vanity–and frankly, stupidity–the focus of her character rather than her supposed talents of assassination. I do like that she is vain because it is a strange flaw for an assassin to have, but it became too much when I was looking for other aspects of her personality to shine through. I just didn’t buy that she was this feared assassin, even if she couldn’t come out and say it. However, I do think that it showed her age. She was vain and childish because she is a young character. It’s just too bad that I didn’t feel that I saw much of her mature side.

I loved that Nehemia existed as a friend that she could trust and that it wasn’t one of those fake, catty friendships that I really dislike. Nehemia was a character who was intelligent and interesting. She was trapped in the Glass Palace just as much as Celaena was, but in a different capacity. I loved reading how their relationship blossomed throughout the events of the story. It took the focus off of Celaena and opened the story up into something bigger than just this competition. Their friendship is something that I looked forward to reading.

Unfortunately, the big things that annoyed me were also the big things that make a book work–or not work. I felt that while the book was very readable and made for a quick read, the plot didn’t really stand out and was kind of standard. It felt rushed and very basic. I struggled to figure out what was going on in action scenes because they weren’t always written very clearly. Another thing that made it hard to figure out what was going on was the lack of action tags around dialogue. That works during an intense scene because it makes you read faster, but when I found myself reading huge walls of dialogue-text I was frustrated by the lack of feeling behind it. How were the characters standing? What did they look like when they delievered their lines? Were they acting a certain way in addition to their tense words? I wanted more.

I did make my way through the book very quickly because there were elements I was curious about and wanted to see through to the end, but I found it overwhelmingly mediocre, to be honest. There just wasn’t that oomph that really drags me into a story and the world presented within in Throne of Glass. So this book becomes an exception to my rule of not finishing series if the first book doesn’t keep me interested. Had I not known that many reviewers find this to be one of their favorite series and that it gets better after the first novel, I would never have continued this novel. There is a benefit to waiting years to start a series, and I’m glad that I’m starting at a point when there’s five books published. I’m able to see what this series is all about in a short amount of time.

2 stars.

I received this book from Tessa for a Book of the Month club.

[Ghost House] Alexandra Adornetto

19486754Chloe thought that the ghosts that used to haunt her were gone. She thought that she was strong enough to push them away, but in the days following her mother’s death, they come back in force. They’re harder to push away. Dealing with her mother’s death, the ghosts, and her father’s grief, Chloe doesn’t know how much longer she can keep it together. Whisked away to England by a worried grandmother, Chloe’s abilities draw her into a 157 year old mystery and the ghosts that have the answers.

I was super intrigued by the premise of Ghost House. It promised that there would be “hungry dead  [eager for] a chance to claim her for their own, ” and that there was a mystery at its heart. Chloe can see ghosts and is able to ignore them most of the time, but then she suddenly can’t push them away. She’s drawn into this world that exists alongside her own. Chloe struggles to figure out her place in both of the worlds because she’s torn between them. Due to the poor execution, I didn’t feel that this was the result of the book at all. This was very much a novel where the summary and publication team works really hard to make this seem readable. For most of my time reading it, I kept looking for that zest that made it as exciting as the summary sounded. It wasn’t there.

This novel was plotted very simply. While it was described as a mystery, I felt that everything was explained to us. There were no moments where I was guessing what would come next because it was obvious what was going to happen. We’re constantly told the facts of the mystery instead of being shown it. As a result, the novel comes off as poorly written. The simplicity of the plot was nothing compared to the poor writing. At least, poor for the level of a “best selling author.” There were so many odd ways to describe the setting and the characters, that I lost track of them (“butter smooth shoulders,” anyone? So odd). It really made me feel like a high schooler wrote this. That isn’t to say that young people can’t write, and write well (because I’ve read some), but Adornetto seemed to have missed the memo that you can go into the territory of too much. And oftentimes, the very same description was repeated incessantly:

It was cool in a comforting way, like when you scalded your hand and ran it under water.

He really cooled her down with a touch. A lot. Ultimately, I expect more from someone who is a best seller, but I should learn to be disappointed.

I think the mark of a good writer is the ability for them to show their readers things that are real. I really hate being told, because it reeks of an agenda. From the moment Alexander was introduced, we were told an innumerable amount of times how stunningly gorgeous he was. As a result, it didn’t feel real at all. I wasn’t given a choice to decide which of her two love interests I liked better. The author decided that Alex was the one that Chloe would want. It wasn’t subtle at all. It wasn’t gradual. It was instant. Because of that, I really was rooting for Joe the entire time. I felt that he was a little more rounded (although he also had the instant-love sickness). He was really sweet to Chloe, even when she treated him like garbage–to the point where I didn’t understand why he was still interested in her. I think that the romance between Alex and Chloe was meant to be a little bit of a star-crossed lovers thing–because Alex is a ghost, after all–but that was not successful for me at all.

My biggest disappointment with Ghost House is the ending. This easily could have been a standalone novel and it would have been a good way at looking how grief doesn’t stop existing. You just learn how to cope with it and keep moving because the one who left would want you to. Instead, we were given a cliffhanger. One that makes no sense at all, although I’m sure there will be some way to explain it in the next novel. The ending was solely to force a series, and that made me mad. Especially when the writing should have been better. I don’t feel that the story and writing is enough to make this a series.

The problem with finishing books on a cliffhanger is that it leaves things unresolved for your readers, characters, and story. They’re very effective, but cruel, particularly when news of a second book has only recently surfaced. My personal opinion is that if you want to write a series–and leave end them with cliff-hangers–know where you’re taking it next. Have it ready. If you can’t handle the pressure of that, then write a standalone and make it the best thing you’ve written at that moment in time.

I feel like Ghost House was more childish than her other series. At least what I remember of them.  I remember them being enjoyable, even if they did have their own agendas. This one felt very much like it was the debut novel of a teenager, which is partially the case, but since it’s the fourth young adult book that she wrote, I was expecting more. I expected the writing to advance. Instead I got writing that was littered with clichés, odd similes and metaphors, and repetitive descriptions. Yet I feel that I know very little about the characters and the world. It was very fill-in-the-blank-y for me as a reader. I really felt like the author didn’t love what she was writing and so that translated into my experience as a reader. There was no passion.

2 stars.

[The Graces] Laure Eve

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The Graces is a story about one girl’s obsession. To fit in. To discover their secrets. To find her father. River and her mother recently moved to a small town where they can start over after River’s father left them. It is there that she first sees the Graces.  The Graces have perfected the art of appearing above it all. They’re friends only with themselves, their parents are mysterious, and all of them have odd behaviors. River knows that she needs to get in with them if she wants to have a chance at getting her father back. But things aren’t always what they seem. Everyone says that the Graces are witches; but are they? Obsession can lead you into dangerous places without you even realizing it.

It’s hard to review books like The Graces because I don’t want to reveal too much. So a lot of the wording in this review is going to be roundabout and vague intentionally. This novel follows the popular trend to have a thriller with an unreliable narrator. Unfortunately, the “thriller” aspect of this novel wasn’t there for me. I just didn’t find it very thrilling. If anything, the things that are meant to set it as a thriller just came off as a bit flat. This is because I didn’t feel that there was much or any set-up for most of the things that occurred in the novel, giving it a very disjointed feeling regarding the action. It just happened and I was expected to believe it. In retrospect, I do think I can pinpoint when and what were meant to be the “hint-hint-nudge-nudge” moments of the book, but I still don’t feel that it was strong enough. Because of that, I didn’t feel that there was much action in this book in the plotting sense.

The majority of the novel was viewed through the protagonist’s eyes, but it was like she wasn’t engaging, which was frustrating. Much of the novel was pure dialogue and the lack of action tags made it difficult to keep up with who was talking at times. River was an unreliable narrator, so while we knew that she was keeping things from the Graces, she was also keeping them from the reader. It sometimes works. I didn’t feel that it worked in the case of The Graces. I did enjoy reading River’s gradual slide into full on obsession. She manipulated the Graces by keeping things about herself secret and being a mirror for their feelings. By becoming the ultimate listener, River learned things about the Graces that other people hadn’t. Everything they told her only made her more obsessed with them. She felt that she found people who understood her. This happened right away in the beginning of the novel when River introduces herself. She’s never felt like her birth name describes her, something that Summer Grace understands. Because there’s a focus on being who the Graces expect her to be, the reader never finds out what River’s birth name is, making her more of an enigma.

Now we come to the thing that is the most difficult thing for me to describe as a reviewer. The overwhelming feeling of nothing that this book left me with. It’s rather odd; while reading this book I was fascinated with what was happening. I wanted to see what River would discover and if the questions that were being put forward about the Graces would be answered or not. The four of them run into some trouble in the book and it’s not easy to get out of trouble when people are watching you constantly and waiting for any misstep. But once I got to what should have been the climax of the story, it just fell short. There was a lack of proper buildup. Of course, I’m sure it will work for many readers. But it left me with the sense that although reading this was enjoyable and I do think Laure Eve can create characters that are interesting, I didn’t actually find the book itself that interesting. I don’t feel like there’s anything to rave about. Neither to I feel that there’s anything to talk about negatively. It just exists as it is.

I recommend The Graces for readers who like extremely unreliable narrators. However, I feel that the unreliable narrator aspect was done better in books like We Were Liars and Beware that GirlIf you’re intrigued by that and the fact that there may or may not be witches involved, give it a go. As for myself, I will not be continuing with this series. It didn’t leave anything memorable in my mind and I feel that it can work as a standalone novel.

2 stars.

I received a copy of The Graces from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The Graces is coming September 1st, 2016.

 

[Henchgirl] Rita Stradling

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Dakota, our protagonist, works for her grandfather, who is part dragon. Her job is to use her powers to manipulate her grandfather’s underlings; to remind them that her grandfather holds all the power over them. Dakota can manipulate emotions in people, bending them to her will. When Wyvern, an annoying yet mysterious almost-adult comes to the island, hiding who she is from the people around her gets more difficult. All she wants is for things to go back to normal. But was her life ever really normal to begin with?

This is one of those books that had a good idea, but poor execution. I can see why there’s a lot of fans of this book, however; it’s urban fantasy, it has its own set of legends, and it has a smoldering love interest with the added benefit of enemy-turned-lover. I like that angle. What I didn’t like was the instant-love that happened in this book. Dakota, the protagonist, goes from someone who loathes Wyvern, to a kissy-kissy moon-eyed girl who completely lacks any agency. You’ve known him for about a day and a half. Calm down. She could have been this powerful character–she had the powers for it–instead she worried if his feelings for her were real. Oh, and the missing girls–that’s bad, I guess. The true issues of the world took such a backseat that they felt forgotten.

I’ve read young adult romance books that are masquerading as fantasy books before. It happens and it doesn’t always bother me. This one did, however. It wasn’t the story. The story was fine. It was the writing. I’m not sure why this book has made it so far. I’m legitimately curious, because it read horribly. Granted, in my reviews there are times where I question if I’m using punctuation correctly. I don’t pretend that I am a perfect writer, nor do I expect to be. But when there are gads of mistakes my assumption is that there was no copy-editor who read this before giving it to the reading community to consume. There were just too many mistakes. I realize that this is an ebook I received from NetGalley and that things may have changed before publishing. However, I will reiterate: there were just too many mistakes.

After the shower, I locked myself and Stacy, when she wouldn’t stop knocking, in my room which had been enough to keep my mom from barging in.

Just one of the many frustrating incorrect uses of commas in this book. There were moments when I couldn’t understand what the author was trying to convey. The author also didn’t use any contractions (that I remember), and that made the dialogue very stilted and awkwardly formal.

Overall, I wish this book had gone through a series of edits before publishing and focused more on the aspect of using Dakota’s powers to find the missing girls. The balance of romance and fantasy tipped too far on the romance side, and reminded me a bit of the creepiness of Edward and Bella’s relationship in the Twilight series.

2 stars.

I received a copy of Henchgirl from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

[Hunter] Mercedes Lackey

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Joy Charmand is a teenager with extraordinary abilities. She’s one of the Hunters, people who can call up hounds from a world hidden from our own. Together they protect the normal civilians from the creatures that passed through the barriers between our world and the Otherworld, an exciting yet dangerous lifestyle. Although people live in communities surrounded by walls that are meant to protect them from these Othersiders that stalk, lurk, and float in our own, occasionally the Hunters must deal with problems that get dangerously close to the walls. When Joy moves to the main city, Apex, she takes on more than hunts; Joy must deal with the increased surveillance and popularity the better she is at her job. And as always with a post-apocalyptic / dystopic young adult novel, things are not always what they seem to be.

Early on while reading Hunter I realized that this is meant for a younger crowd. Many young adult novels I read have a sort of maturity that Hunter was lacking. Yes, most of the time the age of the protagonist is 16-18, but from their actions and words they seem to be a bit older so I’m able to suspend my disbelief regarding their age. Joy was not one of those protagonists. She was supposed to be 16, but acted 12-14 years old most of the time. The style of writing did not make me feel that she was as old as she was supposed to be. There were many childish moments.  It read as an account that she was telling people, so I felt like I was never able to get into the action. Anytime something slightly exciting did happen, she narrated over the scene and immediately took me out of it. As a protagonist she was all over the place with the run-on sentences. It didn’t seem like she could focus. A protagonist is meant to explain the world. They’re in a unique position to do so. Instead, she’d stop herself with phrases like “This is all I can tell you about that.”

If Hunter had been written in third person, I could have probably forgiven most of my problems with Joy. In first person, however, she came off as a character that was trying too hard. The author was forcing her to think about things that were reminscent of Katniss from The Hunger Games series. There was no emotion behind the words.  She was saying them, but they just came off as stilted and dead, especially when she’d move to shiny things the next moment. Joy ended up being very boring as a character. As a narrator, Joy was too personal. I’m not a huge fan of directly addressing the reader. It was done in a grating way and every time it happened it grabbed me by my neck and threw me out of the story.  There were many times where I felt like I was being talked down to which is not a quality I like in a book.  I was far more interested in the side characters and when a story is written in first person they’re unable to shine.

The info dumping in this book was horrendous. I can forgive some info dumping while the world is being built for me in the first few chapters, but it was info dumping in all the wrong ways. The things I wanted to know about, like how the world worked / survived the first forays of the Othersiders, different types of Othersiders, and how hunting, calling the hounds, and magic worked were given only cursory sentences. These are the things that could have benefited from more descriptions, but instead they’re cut off. Or we’re told that if “you’re wondering what it looks like” imagine this, or look at this picture, OR, I don’t know, you could maybe describe it because you’re the protagonist / author? It truly came off as lazy writing. There’s not a ton of describing in a world that could benefit immensely from world and creature building. Instead, we were given info dumps on the differences in clothes (paragraphs that were completely unnecessary), foods that were not like the “real” food back at her mountain home, or characters that she missed so much but never showed up in Hunter. Give us an info dump on your hounds! They can talk and travel between the two worlds. I’d love to hear more about that. At the same time, however, do it in a natural way. I couldn’t believe how often the phrases “If you want to know” and “You’re probably wondering” were used in Hunter. It made my writer’s heart cry a little bit.

Instead the “world building” happens by the misspelling of simple words. I understand the pressure of creating new words and phrases for a fantasy story. You need to create something that’s strange, yet familiar. You do this by creating completely new things, in my opinion. Spelling “Saturday” as “Satterday,” “Champagne” as “Sham-pane,” and “Vegan” as “Vaygen” is not how you do it. Anytime a strangely spelled word came up in Hunter I wanted to scream. If it was meant to be a way to show how Joy was a hick from a mountain village, there are better ways of doing it than causing editors to cringe.

Much like Joy, the fantasy elements in Hunter were all over the place. I was really interested in how the Hunters were the only ones who could call up hounds from the Otherside, and how all of the hounds looked different and communicated or didn’t communicate. Unfortunately that’s not what Hunter is about. There’s more. Those who can call up the hounds have magic. From there we have wizards and magic, but they’re not necessarily able to call up the hounds. Moving on from magic there are people who can read minds, sometimes without even trying. The people who can read minds don’t go out in the world, because that’s the job of the Hunters. They use their hounds to hunt the Otherworlders, things that look like dragons or a floating eyeball, but it also includes a version of the Fair Folk and vampires. I hope I’ve been able to convey how incredibly full the novel was. There was just too many different fantasy elements contained in Hunter. There’s so much that the interesting and new things were unable to be detailed enough to keep my interest. Hunter should have focused on the new fantasy elements and dialed it back from the figures of myth and legend.  It should have been one or the other.

Ultimately, the entire time I was reading Hunter I was waiting for it to get better. With a premise that sounded like an exciting mix between Attack on Titan and the reality show aspect of The Hunger Games, two things that I enjoyed, I had hoped that I would have enjoyed Hunter more than I did. I was very underwhelmed by a main character I could not connect to emotionally at all and a story with “twists” that I predicted chapters before they occurred. Any time anything happened to Joy were were supposed to realize how speshul she was. It was shoved down our throats. Hunter ended up being a novel with a super speshul Mary-Sue protagonist who only parroted what other characters in other novels have done better. I am incredibly frustrated that Hunter left me feeling this way. It’s only an okay book, but perhaps someone who is in their pre-teen / early teen years would enjoy it. I will not be continuing this series.

2 stars.

I was provided with an advance reading copy courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Hunter will be available on September 1st, 2015.