Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Hunter's Kind

The Hunter's Kind is the second book in The Hollow Gods quartet and therefore this review may contain spoilers for Smiler's Fair.

Having fled the ashes of Smiler’s Fair, it’s time for the King of Ashaneland’s son and Moon God reborn to gather his followers. With Dae Hyo and mage Olufemi at his side, Krish travels to foreign lands and discovers that loyalty isn’t easy to find. Back in the Moon Forest, forces are gathering and their quarry is Yron. He may have been raised a lowly goatherd but now Krish is the land’s most wanted man.

These are men, Cwen reminded him, not monsters. Though from what Sang Ki had told her, the monsters were preferable.

As the title suggests, The Hunter’s Kind focuses more on those who follow the Hunter and the sun god Mizhara rather than the moon god. As the book opens, we are introduced to Cwen, a young girl who has been marked to become a Hawk, a servant to the Hunter. We learn much more about this presumed god who was only a fleeting presence in the first book and about the people who serve her.

There are a lot more revelations up at Salvation too. This was the element of the first instalment that I wasn’t so sure about. But I found myself much more invested in Eric and his wife’s future. And I’m still loving Rii, the giant bat creature he befriended.

Of course, Krish is still central to this world order and we follow him through different lands as he tries to find followers. His friendship with Dae Hyo is pushed to its limits and he struggles with his choices as he starts to realise he holds a power over people. And power always comes at a cost.

You've made my people your tools - at least have the courage to use them.

I surprisingly enjoyed the character development of Sang Ki. A character introduced as a villain, he becomes so much more rounded, perhaps softening a little and actually making friends of sorts. I think his isolated childhood and his overbearing mother did him no favours, but now he’s out in the world, we see his glee at visiting distant lands that he’d only ever read about. And his relationship with the burnt woman that he believes is Nethmi, the woman who murdered his father, goes to show how there is a chance for change in this world.

The story shows how people who believe in the same thing can be worlds apart and want very different things. Many of Yron’s followers are not nice people, to put it mildly, and so far from the kind of person Krish wants to be. Some of the people who want him dead would probably agree with his ideologies but they can’t see past the fact he is the embodiment of their god’s enemy.

He'd begun to see how people found strength and purpose in numbers. Maybe that's why the villagers of his home had been so weak. They'd been too few.

The loss of life in a pointless war is rather saddening. The connection to some characters is so well done, they may be flawed but they are people we want to see grow, yet they don’t get the chance. It is very much an unglorified war.

At one point I was worried it was descending into the kind of hopelessness that exists in so many comparable series. Without giving too much away, I would say it redeems itself and has a small degree of positivity. It turned itself round just in time to make it one of my top reads so far this year.

The Hunter's Kind is published by Hodder and is available now in hardback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

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