Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Hunter's Kind

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr
Check out my review of the first book.....here!

Born in tragedy and raised in poverty, Krishanjit never aspired to be anything greater than what he was: a humble goatherd, tending his flock on the slopes of his isolated mountain home

But Krish has learned that he's the son of the King of Ashanesland- and the moon god reborn. Now, with the aid of his allies, Krish is determined to fight his murderous father and seize control of Ashanesland. But Dae Hyo, Eric and Olufemi are dangerously unreliable and hiding secrets of their own. And when some truths about Krish come to light he may find himself short of an ally or two.

To take Ashanesland, Krish must travel to the forbidden Mirror Town and unlock the secrets of its powerful magic. But the price of his victory may be much greater than the consequences of his defeat....

For, deep in the distant Moon Forest lives a girl called Cwen- a disciple of the god known only as the Hunter. She believes that Krish represents all that is evil in the world. And she has made it her life's mission to seek Krish and destroy all who fight by his side. 

So, some of you may remember my Smiler's Fair review? I raved about it in an overly long review because I loved every page of it. I was so incredibly excited to find out there would be a sequel, I knew I had found another fantastically epic series to throw myself in to, and I couldn't get enough of the world or the characters. As with the first book, this sequel blew all my assumptions away and kept me surprised until the end, and with the ending of Game of Thrones, I really did need a fantasy to take it's place and tide me over. I have waited for this book so impatiently that I dived in as soon as it arrived, and it's taken me a while to read because I was determined to savour it rather than reading it in like a day, like I did with the first one. Before we get to the review though, let me set the scene/ add some tidbits to the synopsis I have included above. 

The Hunter's Kind picks up directly after Smiler's Fair, picture the scene, wafting smoke and ash, destruction everywhere and a woman plucked from the wreckage. But who is she? Is she who our characters think? Or is she someone else? The prologue serves to remind us of what happened at the end of Smiler's Fair, like as soon as I started reading I started getting flashbacks to the first book! Anyway, it lures you straight in from the first page and you're hooked. Then we swoop over to Cwen and learn of her heritage, and her mission. Once that's done, we start to see some old faces. 

We have Krish headed with his gang to some tribe lands, but obviously something goes wrong and he must flee to Mirror Town. New face Cwen is on the hunt for Krish, and she has some help in the form of Sang Ki. Now this lot are all heading towards the same place and the same confrontation and we actually meet Krish's actual father. Now, I hesitate to say Nethmi and I'll explain why later, but a burned woman is with Sang Ki, and that's a whole other political turmoil. Eric is awaiting the birth of his child so he can essentially flee to join in with all this rumpus. So as you're reading, you're reading a very complex plot, and a very intriguing one, with lots going on but that's all setting the stage for the final act. 

I enjoyed that so many of the characters continued to be linked together in little ways, it was all very cleverly done. The Hunter's Kind is every bit as awesome as the Smiler's Fair and will definitely fill the Game of Thrones void in your life....but only because it's an epic fantasy full of imagination, they're not really the same in any other way. 

The thing I loved about this book and the one previously, was how gritty it was, and how it had so many different types of people all over the place, each with different beliefs and customs and cultures and they're all fighting to survive while the Gods rise and decide to have a smack down. I love reading about all the different people and learning about them because they all have something different to differentiate them, and they're all equally fascinating, and I'm really excited for the next book to see more new lands and more new people. This book is just as sweeping as the first book as it takes us on a journey to new areas, shall we say because I can't think of the word I want right now! 

In Smiler's Fair it was obvious that the world had been painstakingly created with plenty of thought and detail, and this continues to be obvious in Hunter's Kind as we see more people, more places and more creatures and learn more...information. We see many more places in this book, including a really cool Atlantis like underwater city that I really want to know more about! Mirror Town was simply ingenious with it's houses and mirror system, and just served to prove how well thought out the book was and how painstakingly created everything in it is. But there are still plenty of other places left unexplored and I'm eager to see more! 

I love a good book map and HK has one of the best! I just can't really get over how astounding the world building is, I mean it stretches your imagination while you're reading it and the author must have one hell of an imagination to actually create it. When you read it, if you haven't already,  you'll see what I mean about all the detail. But it's not like you're bogged down with description either. Somehow the author has managed to work some magic of her own (there's legit magic in the book yes) and give you this incredibly vivid world that as soon as you start reading about, you feel yourself transported there, without bogging you down with pages and pages of description, it's like max payout with concise descriptions. I literally get sucked in to the world every time I start reading, and it's such a fantastically created, sweeping world that I never want to leave it.

Like Smiler's Fair, and unlike GoT as I have already mentioned, was incredibly easy to keep reading. The characters are all easy to keep track of, I remember who everyone is, whereas with GoT I always feel like I need to be taking notes and I could never read it in one go. Whereas Hunter's Kind I could have read in one go like I did SF, but I wanted to savour it so I dragged it out for myself, which wasn't easy because it was so hard to put down so can I get some props please?! What I'm trying to say is that while HK was incredibly complex, it was easy to follow, there was no confusion and overly drawn out scenes with too much information. I love GoT, really I do, but they're kind of a slog, whereas I can see myself re-reading this series whenever I feel like. 

Hunter's Kind is continued on so perfectly from Smiler's Fair that it's like I never left the world of the characters. Like the months of waiting never happened. It was amazing really. Much like the first book, this is very full on, there's lots of gory battles with intricate battle plans and gruesome deaths and there's no glossing over it, but somehow they're written so incredibly realistically, especially the battle plans and everything, but like the deaths aren't over done either. I think the realistic yet gory deaths make it more gritty to be honest, like hello, at one point of our existence on this planet stuff like this was a regular occurrence, just without the magic and everything. 

Ah the magic. The beasts. The Gods. I was absolutely fascinated by the magic/lore/mythology/history in the first book and continued to be in this book. We actually learned more about Mizhara and it was....illuminating shall we say. ( I just read this back and omg no pun intended haha). We learn more of the battle of the Gods thanks to the underwater city, as well as Rii. We learn more of some of the tribes and their history as well. It's all so fascinating and there's so much that there could be a book just on the history and legends of this world. Like I would pay good money for one! Anyway, I also find it fascinating to read about the Gods and their influences on the world in the book and the people, they're so different it's seriously fascinating. 

Again, much like SF, the pace of this book is fast, the flow of it is smooth. There were no bits dragging on that you wanted to skip past. But while the pace was fast, and there was plenty of action, there was still a lot of build up going on. There were smaller threads/plots that were panning out, but building up and leading up to the big plot towards the end of the book and it was so well done, in the beginning I didn't really know what it was leading towards, it wasn't until halfway in to the book I think that I was like "okay....I can see we're moving towards something huge, and I'd better settle in with supplies". 

We have a narrative that switches between a few different characters, I think it's less characters than last time, but still, each narrative was engaging and distinctive. Each switch smooth with a perfect continuation. You see what's going on in one part of the world, and how it's going to effect someone else in another part and so on, and things like that, it didn't half build up anticipation sometimes and towards the end of the book it really helped ramp up the tension and the feeling of frenzy. The thing is, the plot is complex, the politics is complex, the history is complex, and it's all woven together in to an intricate and complex web....yet you never got confused. Which is always a bonus! 

In the first book I loved all the magic, and continued to love it in this book. The premise of the book is so unique, and the world and everything in it is so unique, so I was pleased that magic was a little bit different in the world of this book. It has a price, and it also adds a very interesting moral dilemma for a character or two. The runes and the mages and the complexity of it all, it was fascinating. 

I was sad we didn't see more of Adolfo though! I loved that little guy! There were however, plenty of other creatures, less seemingly cute than Adolfo that were brilliantly unique and yet also kind of terrifying. I remember wanting to see more of them in the previous book, but now I'm like "jeez I was so wrong". So gross. 

One creature I wanted to see more of was Rii and I was not disappointed. I really do love her, she's like a giant bat, and I was so fascinated with her and her story and we got to learn even more about her and while I'm like "aw yay Rii" I'm also like "wow that sucks for you" at the same time, but then she kind of gets to get a bit of her own revenge in this book and I was cheering her on every step of the way to be honest. There was way more to her than met the eye and I hope to see even more of her, especially as I love her relationship with Eric! 

Now. On to characters. 

I'm still trying to decide if Levene is going to be the "I will kill every character whether you love them or hate them muahaha" writer or not, but so far I can't argue with any of the character deaths!
That is a direct quote from my review of Smiler's Fair, I've been using it for reference to help keep this kind of point I suppose. Anyway. I said that. I no longer stand by it. She's the "I will kill every character you love" kind of author. Seriously. There's a character death or two in this book that crushed me and I was like "NOOO YOU CAN'T NO I LOVE THAT CHARACTER WHAT ARE YOU DOING NO". Just warning y'all. Brace yourselves. 

Now, first off I actually quite like Cwen. Seriously, at times I liked her more than Krish. She's new and I loved her blunt way of speaking and some of the lines she came out with had me snorting. I also loved her relationship with Alfreda and how she took her under her wing sort of and kept an eye on her. She's an incredibly interesting character and we got to see her childhood before skipping to present day and she undergoes loads of character development and to be honest, nobody lynch me, I was kind of rooting for her. I don't know why, I found myself relating to her and connecting with her and I was genuinely on her side more than once. 

Alfreda was another character I loved, I mean, at one point I was convinced she must have been in the first book even though I knew she wasn't, because I felt like I'd known her for so long. She was another character I connected to and could relate to and I just understood her so perfectly. She had such an interesting story line, she's a blacksmith, she has a bit of anxiety about talking to people and she's not very open in the beginning so I liked watching her development, although I'm slightly worried about where she's going in the next book! Anyway, she and her brother were the perfect combination of opposites and where a truly interesting pair. 

Marvin is back. Marvan "I walked out of an episode of Criminal Minds". He really did. Seriously. Marvan wasn't in this book much, but he was sinisterly lurking about and popping up in places you didn't expect. He's still there, he's just quiet. Without his partner in crime he was almost a bit lost. I kinda felt a bit sorry for him a couple of times because he was on his todd and completely lonely, but at the same time he's incredibly disturbed, which is kind of interesting as someone who watches Criminal Minds, but like...totally creepy and murdery. He also appears to need to have a murder friend. 

Eric I feel like we got a bit more of this book, or he had a bigger part to play. I loved Eric in the first book because of his personality and attitude and it's still in evidence in this book even if he has changed a bit. I'm still rooting for him to get back to his love but I'm not cynical enough that I doubt it will end well. Anyway, I find his situation very intriguing, as well as what's going to happen to him next. I should also mention one of his wives, Drut. I didn't really like her much, she was bland, but she just got veeeeerrryyyy interesting. 

Sang Ki. How I disliked you in book one but how very far you have come. He does some serious development in this book and by the end I found him a bit less vile? I mean, I kind of felt like I should connect with him because he loves history so much and everything but he was SO VILE in book one and I was so torn. But over the course of this book he changes, and he starts to question his fathers behaviour and he made one analogy about the brother band and his father marrying Nethmi that made me realise, okay, you've changed. I actually enjoyed watching his development and at times he became a lot braver than he ever was before. He was also hanging out with the burned woman. Now he and Marvan think it's Nethmi, but we don't get a Nethmi PoV in this book to confirm  whether she is Nethmi or the person that she says she is...who isn't Nethmi, I actually can't remember the name of who she thinks she is but it began with M and I can't decide if she is or isn't or what. 

Olufemi. I really did not like you in this book. She went through a lot this book, and she's the one using the magic and having to decide whether it's worth the price and so on, and I can't really put my finger on exactly why I didn't like her but I found her so dislikable this book. 

Dae Hyo. Now in the first book I wasn't expecting to like him at all, yet I found myself getting a soft spot for him and being all overwhelmed when he got his brother. Dae Hyo is a character I connected with in the first book and who I was rooting for and in this book I was entirely on his side so when certain things happened, I was just as angry and annoyed at other characters as he was. Personally I would have left said characters to get on with it I mean the huge reveal about his people, I really couldn't even. 

Krish. At points during this book, I really started to dislike him, like I said, I was actually on Cwen's side even though I knew that Krish wouldn't die because the series is about him. By the end of the book, well, I'm still not entirely sure whether or not I'm on his side. I don't think I am. He destroyed one people in this book and nearly destroyed another, I don't know, it was at Mirror Town that I most started to dislike him for his behaviour and how he treated other people. I think its' going to be the awkward moment were I don't like what I'm assuming is supposed to be, the main character/hero. I really felt like he was trying to do something good in the beginning of the book, but towards the end he lost his path, and he appears to become every bit as evil as the Hawks believed him to be. He's getting much darker. 

This book and the series in general, is unpredictable. You never know what's going to happen next, and there are so many shocking plot twists in this book in particular. There are some really game changing reveals. The ending....it was shocking. It was surprising, and it left me desperate for the next book because it was even more of a game changer than some of the other reveals. I'm so incredibly excited to see were this goes next, but I'm not relishing the wait! 

The Hunter's Kind is the kind of sequel you hope for, it meets every expectation and then surpasses it. Old faces are joined by new, and the character development is a thing of beauty as some characters change entirely. The plot was complex, intricate and fast paced while building up to the huge climax. There's more magic, more mythology, more history and more lore, and there's even more of the world to see. Everything you loved about the first book is present in this one, but there's more of it. So much is expanded on but still leaving you wanting more. Your imagination is given a stretch, and you're left wondering at the skill and work put in to create the world of the book. 

The Hunter's Kind is a meaty, rich book that you can sink your teeth in to. It will surely become a favourite as you lose yourself in the world and find reality passing you by until you come back with a jolt as the book ends, leaving you somewhat bereft and eager to start reading it again. 

Such a meaty, rich book you can sink your teeth in to. 

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