“They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares. Monsters. Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break though. Others are not so lucky.
To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people. Joy soon realizes that they city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers, and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in – to them, Joy and her corps of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV. When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, Joy uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than actual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them.”
For a very long time, I didn’t believe in DNFing books. I simply refused to quit, and would force myself to keep reading, even if I hated every line. As I’ve gotten older and taken my reading more seriously, I’ve come to realize that not every book needs to be finished. There are too many books that I want to read and will actually enjoy to waste my time trudging through books that I just don’t enjoy. Enter Hunter by Mercedes Lackey, stage right.
This book sounded intriguing, although I didn’t have quite so intricate of a synopsis with my ARC to go off of. Perhaps I would have been better prepared for the battle to come. Mercedes Lackey has written many, many books, of which I have read none. But I love female warrior protags and usually enjoy whatever Disney-Hyperion publishes, so I went in blind but with high hopes. This book was, in a word, awful. So awful in fact that I couldn’t even force myself to finish it. I had to DNF this book at a measly quarter of the way through. I did not read far enough to encounter any of the real plot conflict, or even more than a couple characters, and barely a handful of dialogue scenes. 25% of this book gone and nothing happened.
Allow me to explain my decision to DNF this book, and why I won’t be recommending this to anyone. The first reason is, for me, the most unforgiveable: the writing. Lackey’s writing in this book (as I said, I have no experience with any of her previous works), was painful to get through. Written in the first person, the prose is juvenile and uninspired. Even though you’re in Joy’s head the entire time, I have no idea if she even has a personality or interests. Lackey spends the first 15% of the book info dumping, and not even in a clever way. It’s lazy world building, and I don’t appreciate that. Even the target audience, which is admittedly much younger than me, wouldn’t appreciate it. So fifty pages or so have passed, and we know all kinds of random information about post-Diseray agriculture and religion, but nothing about our main character besides the fact that she’s the best. Just take her word for it.
The inevitable comparison to other YA dystopian novels is undeniable, The Hunger Games chief among them. Even if you could get past the writing, the simple fact of the matter is that this book is wholly unoriginal. It is every other YA book in which a girl is plucked from her humble beginnings because of her special skill and brought to the shining capital city to become the Chosen One, discover the secret evils of society, and probably fall into a love triangle along the way. And that makes me unspeakably angry. YA readers deserve better than the same recycled plot points. And adding in monsters from another world with the oh-so-clever name “Othersiders” does not an original story make. I weep for the lack of originality in YA these days, and Hunter exemplifies all of this.
Did I finish reading this book? No. Do I know what happens after Joy reaches Apex City? No, but I could take a guess and almost certainly be right. Will I ever finish reading this? No. Do I recommend it, or it’s inevitable sequels in a forced trilogy? No, a thousand times no.
I do genuinely want to thank Disney-Hyperion for the advanced copy to review, but they have published other, far better books that you should read instead of this. Hunter comes out September 1, but so do three other books you should read instead – such as Everything, Everything, which I reviewed last week.
Have you read any books lately that you had to DNF? What are your thoughts on DNFing books? Let me know in the comments!