Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.
Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.
With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.
HUNTER is one of those books where you have to immerse yourself and give the book plenty of time to fully take off. The beginning is very slow, almost painfully so. The world building is immense and full of info dumps, which slows the pacing a great deal. However, waiting for the payoff is worth it in the end. The book, once it takes off is very impressive, and I was fully hooked, it's just a matter of being patient through all of those early info-dumps. It's a bit of a shame, because I feel like this book had incredible potential, but the beginning slowness will likely deter many. Once things are set up, the fascinating world and interesting characters truly stand out, making me wish the early parts of the book would have been tightened to allow this new series to truly shine.
Joy was a really strong and interesting character for me. At the start sure, she seems very Mary Sue, however, as the book progresses, she starts to come out of her shell, and her strength shines. Of course, she's very special, which is a common theme in YA novels, but I didn't find her overtly so, or unrealistic. She's a game changer, and I can't wait to see how the story progresses as she makes her mark.
Slow beginnings aside, all in all HUNTER was really entertaining read. The perfect blend of dystopian, scifi, fantasy, and paranormal all in one, HUNTER earns a recommendation from me.