Hunter, a novel by Mercedes Lackey, is a rather interesting book. It is more of a dystopian novel and takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, which is very different from this author’s other books, which are generally fantasy. The book is about a girl named Joyeux (Joy), who is a hunter, which means she hunts magical beasts that come from another world and managed to get through the barrier to Earth. Joy travels from her secluded mountain home to a fortified city where she realizes that the citizens do not take the monsters she hunts seriously and treats hunting as more of a game. The citizens believe they are safe, while the problem of these terrible monsters had consistently been getting worse. On top of this, Joy is wrapped in constant scrutiny in a spiderweb of secrets and doesn’t know who to trust.
Hunter is kind of like The Hunger Games, with a few twists, and it is a mashup of dystopian, mythological, and post-apocalyptic ideas. The heroine of the novel is a lot like the heroines in all popular modern YA dystopian novels, with the idea of a shy, quiet girl being special and therefore the only one able to save the world. Joy is an unlikely hero from a humble background, and is just so humble, so kind-hearted, and so smart. The author also constantly touches on this idea, reminding the reader that Joy is different. This makes it hard for a reader to see Joy as a believable or likeable character, as she is too perfect with no flaws whatsoever.
I generally enjoyed the book. It came across a little bit as an info-dump after info-dump, with an example being a page only on the origins of breakfast food. The ending of the book also left too many questions and was rather anticlimactic. Joy’s narration was also slightly annoying and came across as being a little bit arrogant. Her character could have been better developed, but Hunter is more carried by plot and less by character, so I still thought the book was a worthwhile and fascinating read. Although some people may find it difficult to get into, once they get past the first fifty pages, the book becomes extremely engaging and readers really want to know how the scenario turns out. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels, as this book will be right up your alley. This novel had lots of things that were always happening and it was really intense. A reader who enjoys action novels should also think about picking up this book. It is less focused on romance and more focused on Joy’s job as a hunter which is a refreshing change from most dystopian novels. Overall, although very different from Lackey’s other fantasy works, I consider this book a worthwhile read.