Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hunter's Oath - the pretty cover makes up for the publisher's lies

b Hunter's Oath by Michelle West:  I must admit: I bought this book for its cover.  Well, I found it because of its author (a buddy from my bookstore days really loves this author), but I adored the cover colors enough to get it when I had a coupon for the used bookstore.  It has blue and green and every combination of them both, and I am a sucker for those lovely jewel-tone colors.  Of course, before I bought it, I looked everywhere to make sure it was a standalone novel.  There was no indication on the back cover, any of the inside covers, or at the end of the book that this was anything but a standalone novel. 

It's a fantasy with some fascinating mythology and one of those characters I usually adore who has pretty much sacrificed everything for some higher purpose and is somewhat miserable.  (This is a repeating theme.)  You're pretty sure it's a good purpose, but she has to be ruthless to stay on task, and there are some devastating moments, as a result.  She doesn't live in/experience time like everyone else, so most of the time, her early experiences are confusing and (needlessly?) mysterious.  Things start to build and come together slightly more coherently by the end when the plot threads begin to intertwine.  The other main protagonist is a nice guy, and you're pretty sure he is totally going to get the short straw in the end.  The occasional foreshadowing seems to support this theory, which may be why it was so hard for me to get into things in the beginning.  I mean, if you're told this guy is going to die horribly by the end of the story, the nicer of a guy he is, the less you want to get attached.

It's not brilliant or anything, and it's a bit difficult to get into (I am told this is kind of typical for this author), and it uses some techniques that I'm not fond of in my current less-than-mental-best state, but it's pretty compelling once you get involved with a lot of the characters. I used it as an exercise book (book to read while exercising), and that backfired a bit in the beginning when it was hard to get attached to, but towards the end, it was causing me to extend my exercise time unwisely.  And then, it just ended. 

I was wondering for about the last quarter of the book how it could possibly end satisfyingly in just that book, but there were no indications it had a sequel or was part of a series.  By the end, I knew there had to be another book.  This fact was pretty irksome.  I don't like being deceived like that.  But I'm still reading the sequel.  I'm not sure what that says about me.  The sequel has a shiny cover.  I'm so weak.

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