Joy wants nothing more than to live and Hunt in Apex City without a target on her back. But a dangerous new mission assigned by her uncle, the city's Prefect, may make that impossible.
addition to her new duties as one of the Elite, Joy is covertly running patrols in 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. Her new assignment takes a dark turn when she finds a body in the sewers: a Psimon with no apparent injury or cause of death.
Reporting the incident makes Joy the uncomfortable object of PsiCorp's scrutiny—the organization appears more interested in keeping her quiet than investigating. With her old enemy Ace still active in Hunts and the appearance of a Folk Mage who seems to have a particular interest in her, Joy realizes that the Apex conspiracy she uncovered before her Elite trials is anything but gone.
As the body count rises, she has no choice but to seek answers. Joy dives into the mysterious bowels of the city, uncovering secrets with far-reaching consequences for PsiCorp... and all of Apex City.
It's been a while since I read the first book in this series, but I had no trouble jumping right into ELITE and the characters. Joy and crew were tested and tested again again in ELITE. The trials they faced were incredibly intense and I felt like we rarely were able to come up for air to take a breath before the next crisis would happen. It made for one heck of a roller coaster ride of a read. But even though the plot and danger continued at a frenetic pace, there still was plenty of time for character development and the various relationships between them all. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Joy and the White Knight, especially once his fiancee came to town. While Joy, and this series seem to skew on the younger side of YA, there are times where the maturity jumps several paces ahead, which kept it interesting as I prefer the older side anyway. Joy herself progressed an impressive amount from who we originally met in the first book. I can't wait to see how she continues to grow.
Frenetic pacing and interesting characters aside, it's the world behind this series that really steals the show for me. The combination of Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic and Folklore/Fairytales with Hunters who protect the naieve citizens almost gladiator reality TV style. I particularly enjoyed the added twists and turns with the PSI secrecy, and the waters getting murky on good vs evil with the folk. The next book should be mighty interesting to say the least.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable installment in a very unique and fascinating series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the next book.