Tuesday, April 9, 2013

eBook Review: Hunting

Ash Lenthard doesn’t call herself a vigilante. She’s merely prone to random acts of derring-do, and occasional exhibitions of tomfoolery. Her friends, the Huntsmen, have never stepped over the line while patrolling the streets of Luinhall.

That was before the murder of Ash’s beloved guardian, Genevieve.

Now, Ash Lenthard is out for blood and even when the hunt sends her to the palace, on a collision course with a past identity she would do anything to forget, Ash cannot, will not, back down.

What the summary doesn't tell you is that along the way Ash saves half the cast from dire straits at various points (in person's case twice!) because she can not because anyone particularly tells her to.  Seriously, she even says she can't help herself it just kind of happens.  A lot. (to be fair she also is laboring under a pretty intense case of regret because of Genevieve's death).

Höst says that Hunting was in response to Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, a story about a girl searching for her brother and getting into a wild amount of scrapes (considering how well to do she was) and constantly needing rescuing.  One thing Ash doesn't really need is rescuing (though on occasion she does need help rescuing herself).  Ash prepares for things and within reason can estimate how things will shake down to anticipate what she needs to do. 

She's not infalliable; her mistakes tend to be underestimating people and their motivations however.  Ash has a lot of street smarts--she can turn a phrase so its not quite a lie and adapts to situations quickly.  She understands people to a point.  Ask her why her peers are hostile towards her or why Genevieve helps people the way she does and Ash will have an immediate response.  However despite witnessing cruelty and evil, Ash is at a loss to understand the motivations of the killer hunting the herbalists throughout the city.

And to be perfectly truthful I was a little sketchy on the reasoning as well.  A lot is made of the Rhoi (Arun)'s life being put in jeporady...probably.  The mystery of who is behind some of the attack's on Arun's heir is less complicated then Höst perhaps intended.  I guessed the fiend fairly quickly though whether its because I watch a lot of detective shows or because Höst choreographed this person's involvement quite loudly is anyone's guess.

The attacks are only part of the larger conspiracy and this is when the mystery begins to break down for me.  When we find out the "true" culprit things become a bit dicey motivation wise.  Its not until late into the game that Ash and Co. make a connection between the culprit and what's going on now.  And much of that is because of something said to Thornaster.  If that phrase hadn't been said I'm not sure they would have made the parallels they did.

The best part of this book was the characters.  Ash is a delight--sometimes a bit too arrogant of her abilities for her own good, but its justified.  She's also not above a manipulation to get what she wants, which is good since its put to use throughout the book.  Her banter with Thornaster is lively and makes their eventual mutual understanding much easier to see.  Ash also keeps lively company with her "Huntsmen" and has some interesting conversations with a couple peers (though I'll admit they're given a much broader stroke of detail than the Huntsmen).

Overall I enjoyed Höst's newest work.  Its not quite as defined as her other worlds, but there's an intriguing mythology at its roots and Ash was simply a joy to read.