It’s nice to read new books that I already know I’ll enjoy. This means authors I like and usually preexisting series. And Elite, the sequel to Hunter, came out last Tuesday. Since I was so disappointed by the oversized paperback that Hunter turned out to be, I decided that there was no reason waiting another year to get the next book. Admittedly, I would’ve checked it out from the library instead, but I’d have to wait for a copy to be available, which can take an unknown amount of time with a new release.
So I returned to Lackey’s dystopian, magical world, where things are really starting to heat up. I don’t think I explained the world last time, so I should probably remedy this. Something happened in our world that caused the barriers between worlds to rupture, allowing all sorts of creatures from the Other Side access to our world, and they all like humans. For dinner. Most will just eat our manna, our life energy, but some will also go for the meat. Or blood. Or whatever.
The only good Othersiders are Hounds. Each Hunter has a pack of two or more Hounds that will fight for and alongside them against the monsters. In return, the Hounds devour the manna of all the monsters they and their Hunter kill.
Now, there are also Folk out there. Elves, essentially, though that has yet to be proven within the world of Hunter. But it’s an easy guess since Lackey loves elves and I have a number of books featuring them as well as her name on the cover. Folk can be mages, can be psychics, can have any number of abilities. They come in two types, feral and civilized. Civilized are far more dangerous because not only do they have brains, they can use them quite well. They are as smart as we are, if not more so.
As I mentioned, this book is upping the ante on the fights. The last book was not only an introduction to the world, but also much more focused on the media culture. Because becoming an Elite Hunter removes the individual’s channel (as they no longer need to worry about the rankings), that aspect is much reduced. Joy still has to do some fanservice, but it’s usually people who happen to be near where she’s working, such as maintenance workers who need to fix a thing, but there will probably be monsters in the way that a Hunter needs to clear.
The OtherSiders, monsters, Hounds, and Folk alike, are generally based on myths and folklore. We’ve seen knockers, redcaps, goblins, vampires, trolls, ogres, and thunderbirds, to name just a few. Anything new that appears is researched by people called folklorists in hopes of turning up ways to defeat and deter it.
The Hunter series is, I think, a great new young adult series that plays to Lackey’s strengths as well as hitting young adult tropes. The main character is a teenage girl who is smart and relatively independent. Her world is influenced by, but not limited to, fairy tales and folktales. She has multiple potential love interests. She ends up in dangerous situations and battles, yet you can still keep track of what’s going on, at least where Joy is concerned. She lives in a world of advanced technology where reality TV is her own life. She has multiple mysteries to figure out, but some elements only show up now and again, allowing the reader to focus on Joy’s daily life. She’s very skilled at her job, having powerful magic as well as kickass combat skills. Her first mentor was gay, but divorced because her wife was afraid of her not coming back from a Hunt one day.
As you already know, I love almost every Mercedes Lackey book that I read, so it’s no surprise that I was thoroughly enthralled by Elite. After all, I have about eighty books by her, if we’re only counting full books and not novellas, and not collections, and not anthologies. The woman’s written over a hundred books, and the quality on most of them is high. I’m grateful that my mom picked up something with her name on it on a whim, because I’m sure my life would be different in a number of ways otherwise.