Author: Mercedes Lackey
Publication Date: 6 September, 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: A Hunter Novel, book 2
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Dystopian
Age Recommendation: 12 and up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
Hunting monsters was supposed to be the hard part. When Joy came to Apex City, all she cared about was protecting the Cits from the dangers lurking outside protective barriers. She understood the need for the secrecy surrounding her Hunts—no need to cause a panic by announcing just how real a threat the Othersiders pose.
But as she quickly discovered, the conspiracies of the city run much deeper. And a dangerous new covert mission leaves Joy with a target on her back once more. Under the orders of her uncle, the city’s Prefect, Joy begins patrolling the abandoned tunnels and storm sewers under Apex Central. With her large pack of magical hounds, she can fight the monsters breaking through the barriers with the strength of three hunters.
Then she starts finding bodies. Psimons are turning up dead in the bowels of the city with no apparent injury. Reporting the incidents makes Joy the uncomfortable object of PsiCorp’s scrutiny—the organization appears more interested in keeping her quiet than investigating. Joy’s situation grows more precarious and her relationship with her Psimon boyfriend Josh begins to fray. Long-held tensions between PsiCorp and the Hunters seem to be reaching a breaking point.
While infighting threatens the stability of Apex City, Othersider forces are gaining strength and momentum outside the borders. Joy desperately seeks answers to figure out who her real enemies are before she and everyone she cares about are locked into an all-out war…
No longer a simple Hunter, as if that was ever the case, Joy is now one of the Elite. She came through her trials, thankfully and is right back in the thick of things. As an Elite her missions are more dangerous and complicated than ever and Joy thrives in this environment. She's putting everything she has into being the best Elite Hunter she can be and working happily and willingly along her peers.
Mercedes thrusts us right back into the action, as we are brought into the middle of a hunt in the first pages of Elite. We get to see first off Joy in her new 'world', being the brave, strong, quick thinking, smart girl we've come to know and love. I really enjoyed seeing her at work right away and that the book doesn't start of with the 'normal' retelling of what happened in book one. I will say that there really isn't much going back to book one in any detail so if you haven't read it you may feel like you are missing out on some pretty key points, in particular understanding the idea of the Otherworlders.
Speaking of Otherworlders can I just say how much I love Joy's Hounds. Her team of 11, basically Hades Hounds, that have bonded to and with her and are always at her side for the hunts. I love that we get a look into their personalities since Joy is able to converse with them, I'd actually like a lot more of them. Which brings up a major grrr for me and keeps me from giving this book more stars. I wish Joy would ask more questions. She'll think things, like 'where do the Hounds actually go', 'what does their home look like', etc but she tells herself she can't ask or doesn't have time to ask, or doesn't want to know and she does this a lot. Joy, I want to know and I can only understand if you ASK THE QUESTIONS!
I really enjoy the idea of this book, the dystopian with a bit of a fantasy thread thrown in. The creatures from folklore and mythology. It is a nice twist on your regular dystopian taking the book from just characters that are willing to martyr themselves for a world that has been destroyed by man's ineptitude (typically) to a world here where reader's imaginations can really come alive. Yes, we still have the typical character development it seems with the strong girl who is trying to make others proud, trying to keep the world safe, but it gives us a world that doesn't feel drab and uncaring. We get a world that feels bright with possibilities and keeps us on our toes as we discover along with Joy new creatures and new ways to harness the magic of the world.
I enjoyed watching Joy really work on herself, learning ways that she can be stronger and not relying on those around her. She is truly a strong female character proving that girls can do anything. I loved her relationships with the other Elite, the joking and teasing, always with an undercurrent of respect. I loved (for a while) her relationship with Knight....this is an area I struggle with because I can say it went the way I expected but not the way I desired. I am not a huge fan of Mark's girlfriend/wife, but I don't think Joy helps in that situation so I don't know that I can put all the blame her but I have to wonder if there is a reason I find her not likable. Maybe it is just wishful thinking, haha. Joy's relationship with Josh is well.....it just is, I don't have a lot of investment in the two of them. The romance in these books are not overly heavy or graphic. You will note that I recommend the series for even young almost middle grade teens because at least through book 2 romance in this series is second (or third) to anything else going on and the little that we get is tame. It might make a few younger teens giggle but it certainly won't scandalize them. My oldest is 10 and I would consider this series for her in about a year or so.
I don't know how long this series might be, it obviously will have at least a third book as we discover new creatures and that the Psimons are up to something and answers haven't been given to a lot of things, but I see the possibility of this being a longer series than a trilogy. If it is just a trilogy I think book three is going to be chock full of information and I am a bit afraid it might be an overload. I am really looking forward to seeing where this story goes and watching Joy continue to grow.
The Hunter series is a mashup of Divergent, Hunger Games, and a little Percy Jackson. If you or your teen(s) are looking for something with apocalyptic leanings, magic, mystery, action, fantasy, and suspense this is a great choice. This series would also be an excellent choice for high school teachers to have in their classroom. I think you would have great success with this book for a vast number of your students because it will keep your advanced readers entertained and coming back for more and keep your late readers engaged and reading.
~HAPPY READING ~
2 sets of Finished Copies of HUNTER & ELITE (US Only)
Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times best-selling American fantasy author behind the Heralds of Valdemar series, the Elemental Masters series, the 500 Kingdoms series, and many more. She has published over one hundred novels in under twenty-five years.