I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Hunting monsters was supposed to be the hard part. When Joy came to Apex City, all she cared about was protecting the Cits from the dangers lurking outside protective barriers. She understood the need for the secrecy surrounding her Hunts—no need to cause a panic by announcing just how real a threat the Othersiders pose.
But as she quickly discovered, the conspiracies of the city run much deeper. And a dangerous new covert mission leaves Joy with a target on her back once more. Under the orders of her uncle, the city’s Prefect, Joy begins patrolling the abandoned tunnels and storm sewers under Apex Central. With her large pack of magical hounds, she can fight the monsters breaking through the barriers with the strength of three hunters.
Then she starts finding bodies. Psimons are turning up dead in the bowels of the city with no apparent injury. Reporting the incidents makes Joy the uncomfortable object of PsiCorp’s scrutiny—the organization appears more interested in keeping her quiet than investigating. Joy’s situation grows more precarious and her relationship with her Psimon boyfriend Josh begins to fray. Long-held tensions between PsiCorp and the Hunters seem to be reaching a breaking point.
While infighting threatens the stability of Apex City, Othersider forces are gaining strength and momentum outside the borders. Joy desperately seeks answers to figure out who her real enemies are before she and everyone she cares about are locked into an all-out war…
ABOUT MERCEDES LACKEY:
Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times best-selling American fantasy author behind the Heralds of Valdemar series, the Elemental Masters series, the 500 Kingdoms series, and many more. She has published over one hundred novels in under twenty-five years.
I’m really excited to be able to review this book as part of the blog tour. I loved Hunter and the sequel delivered exactly what I wanted.
Like the first book, Elite starts right in the middle of the action. Now that Joy is an elite–essentially the special forces of monster hunting–she gets to go on the really dangerous and exciting missions. I loved all of the monsters taken from lots of different mythologies and the creativity of mashing them all together. Not only are her hunts different and more dangerous than in Hunter, but they escalate into full on battles that not everyone can survive.
I also really loved the emphasis on training in Elite. Joy spends a lot of time learning how to manipulate the magic she already has in new ways. This lead to really interesting battles like when she View Spoiler » used a simple and small wall to destroy a stampeding pack of minotaurs. « Hide Spoiler It also gave Joy some development from a skilled hunter into a leader. I definitely see a future for her that is far more than rehashing the old hunts of the first two books and I can’t wait to see where Lackey takes it.
One of my favorite story tropes is the presence of fae – can’t lie, but won’t tell you the truth, smarter than you, stronger than you, has more magic than you, and morally ambiguous. Hunter introduced one fae, a folk mage, and I found myself disappointed that he played such a minor role in the story. He is back in Elite, although I have more questions than answers. It’s another reason I’m excited to see this series continue. I want to know what game he is playing and I want to know more about the fae culture within this world.
Favorite Moment: Not really a spoiler, but a funny moment later in the book. View Spoiler » There is a psimon that keeps ordering Joy around and I loved how she refused to be cowed by him. When he orders her to wait around, she makes sure she gets called out as a Hunter to avoid seeing him. Not only that, but she commandeers his transport! « Hide Spoiler
O.o: This one isn’t really a spoiler, but it does deal with character development later in the book. It is also the only negative thing I have to say. View Spoiler » The tensions between Joy and Mark Knight’s new wife, Jessie, felt weird. Certainly, it is a believable conflict, but it played out awkwardly and I hate this story trope to begin with. Every time Joy rolled her eyes that Jessie felt threatened made me feel like Joy secretly harbored feelings for Mark. The whole thing left me feeling kind of meh. « Hide Spoiler
Tl;dr: Like Hunter, Elite is full of action-packed Hunts and a lot (A LOT) of memorable characters and monsters. There are enough mysteries that you are never sure who to trust, but enough good guys that there is always someone to root for. It’s a fun read in what is shaping up to be a great series!