In the first in a new series, well known author Mercedes Lackey takes the reader on the journey of a young hunter who travel from her small town in the mountains to the big city to help against the fight with the Othersiders:
After the Diseray happened Monsters appeared. The ones from your nightmares and some you have never heard of before. The people are forced to live in Cities (Cits) with high walls and the protection of the Hunters. Joyeaux Charmand (Joy) who has been a hunter since she was a child in her mountain village has been summoned to the Capitol, Apex City, to work as the newest Hunter. Apex is where the best Hunters are located but the job is much more than Joy thought it would be. Hunting the monsters is one thing, but there are even more dangers within the city which means she always has to watch her back. Someone does not want Joy in the city and will do anything to make sure Joy is gone permanently.
Really enjoyed this book, I know I have read Lackey before but it was a long time ago and I'm thinking it was during my romance phase (yes I had one of those when I first started reading). Lackey was able to blend some of the notions that we have now, like our obsession with celebrities and needing to know everything they are doing, with a fantasy and technology based world. This book is also fast pace. Lackey wastes no time throwing Joy in to battle and it never seems to let up. Even when she is in the Capitol where she should be safe she knows that all is not right and she needs to keep her guard up. This book really does go from hunt to hunt and with all the different creature that Lackey has Joy face I did not want to put this book down.
Joy is a fantastic character and lead for this series. She is a kick-ass as a hunter who is humble but naive and almost shy when she first enters the Capitol. Really good personality, she is wise beyond her years in certain areas. I loved that she brought her small town knowledge to the big city and showed the hotshots that there way of doing thing aka showing off was not always the best way to get it done.
One of the most interesting and inventive aspects in this book for me was the Hounds. When an individual becomes a hunter they are able to summon a set of hounds from the Otherside and they fight side by side. Hounds is a term that is used loosely as they take on many shapes, sizes, forms as well as extras, like wings thrown in. In the case of Joy she treats her hounds as equals. One more thing that makes me like Joy more as a character. Honestly, I think she will become one of my favourite female characters in a series, if Lackey keeps her along this path.
World building was well done I felt like I had a good grasp on what lackey had set up and that she did not overwhelm me with too many details. As the book is told from Joys POV we get her feelings and emotions that she has when she first enters the Capitol and learns all about what is expected of her as a Hunter. I do hope there was more information about the Folk, as they were introduced right at the beginning of the book as these feared creatures but then that aspect was never really explored further. I also would like more information about the Diseray. This was a major world shaping aspect, basically made the world what it was now, but why it happened is never really explained so I hope that happens sometime in this trilogy as well.
I liked that there romance idea was a real subplot as Joy was very busy doing what she was brought to the Capitol for to be a hunter not to go one dates :) I also appreciated as this is a YA read that there was not love triangle in site.
I think this was a well done YA novel and it was nice to have a heroine who was not overly concerned about her popularity or what a guy thinks about her (most of the time, she is human after all). Great start to a series and I am very excited to read the next book in this series and see if Lackey can top this one.