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Hunter's Death by Michelle West
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263543,310 (3.91)13
Member:redrose
Title:Hunter's Death
Authors:Michelle West
Info:DAW (1996), Paperback, 672 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:sff, fiction

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Hunter's Death by Michelle West (1996)

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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
This duology (Hunter's Oath & Hunter's Death) is one story in two books, not really two separate novels.
After reading the Greg Keyes "Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" books, I was
in the mood for some more epic fantasy; however West's books compare
very badly to those.
The story starts out with a somewhat promising premise: The Hunter
Lords of Breodanir are an elite class, pledged to their hunter god.
However, each Lord is oathbound to a Huntbrother, picked from the
peasantry, who lives as partner and brother for life - which is often
not that long, as hunter Lords and Huntbrothers are regularly killed
in their ritual hunts.
The story follows Stephen, Huntbrother, and his Lord, Gilliam. Stephen
turns out to be an intelligent young man, hungry for learning, while
Gilliam is crude, crass, and tends to behave much like his beloved
hunting dogs. The hunt is his only interest.
If the story had just stuck with these two characters and their
personal conflicts within their own society, I think I would have
liked the story.
However, soon a Wise and Beautiful Sorceress, Evayne, shows up. She is
one of the most one-dimensional characters I've ever encountered. No
clue is given to her background, personal feelings, etc. She warns of
Evil Demons, trapped underground, who want to break out and Take Over.
(Very cliche.) For some reason, which I can't quite remember, as it
felt very contrived, in the second book, Stephen & Gilliam have to
travel to the foreign city of Averalaan and help Evayne stop the
demons.
That's an extremely short summary of what is in reality an extremely
long and often tedious story. I nearly gave up on it at times, but
then it would pick up and catch my interest for a bit - so I did
finish, but overall I would say it never gets better than mediocre. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Finally reading the second book of the Sacred Hunt (I've only had it sitting on my shelf for eight years…) marks my long-overdue return to the books of Michelle West (a.k.a. Michelle Sagara). Her writing is as dense and elegant as ever (and oh-so-hard to read if you're not in exactly the right mood for it), the characters complex, and the intersecting mythologies cleverly conceived and layered. Just as importantly, it's giving me some of the background to the Sun Sword books that had me scratching my head when I first read them, and reminding me of what I liked about them so much. And interestingly, some of the things that annoyed me ten years ago please me now (particularly in terms of characterisation). I feel a re-read of her books looming at some point! ( )
  salimbol | Nov 7, 2013 |
Often when I begin sequels I always have that faint thought nudging at the back of my mind: Will it be as good as the first? Or will it fail to live up to what came before it? What surprised me here is that I didn't even bother to think that. I just assumed that it would live up to expectations - which shows the quality of West's writing as a whole - and indeed, it was just as good, if not better.

The first book, HUNTER'S OATH, had revolved around things I don't usually find "appetizing" in novels - dogs, hunting, medieval-style fealty don't particularly interest me - although I had allowed it to pull me in all the same. But this time, it's got that same delicious sense of intrigue and suspense, all set in a much more fascinating place - the courts of Averalaan. Court intrigue is what I live for, and this book had more than enough to pull me in and keep me there.

Hunter Lord Gilliam and Huntbrother Stephen are the lone Breodani bumbling their ways through the capital Averlaan, a city unlike anything they've ever known. There are mages there, Artisans, nobles, Queens - and demons. For Averlaan, and the whole Empire, are no longer safe; demons are infiltrating the city, intent on doing - what? No one knows - but Gilliam and Stephen may prove by the end to be the keys needed to save everyone.

There is so much going on in this novel that I'm not even sure if you could call Stephen of Elseth the main character. There's Jewel, the poor girl who steals off the streets but can sense the future; Kallandras, an assassin-turned-bard; Evayne, the time-traveler - and many more. Each and every character with even the smallest part in the plot gets a full canvas upon which to sketch their lives and thoughts and motives. It's all done carefully, building up to the main battle, but each part leading you there is also fascinating. A lot can be read into the character's actions: while West describes everyone in exhaustive detail, she leaves it open in such a way that guessing at character relationships is really quite enjoyable.

The result of all this build-up, perspective-switching, and analyzing of motives and ambitions is an epic tale with characters you really care about. By the time the climactic events happen, all those characters are firmly and solidly real - so real that the book became, to me at least, really powerful. West is an amazingly skilled writer, and I applaud her careful attention to the fostering of each subplot, character quirk, and historical reference. She manages to pull everything together thoroughly. HUNTER'S DEATH does not disappoint. I loved it! ( )
  ioet | Jun 11, 2011 |
Definitely my favorite book. This series has an interesting magic and belief system. GREAT CHARACTERS!! A thoroughly engrossing and entertaining read. ( )
  jgadams | Jan 13, 2009 |
Awesome world building, complex and rich without being overdone. I was completely immersed while reading, emerged wide-eyed and promptly shoved it at my friends. The point of view changes may irritate some people but the relationships developed between the central characters are very rewarding. ( )
  Black_samvara | Aug 17, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michelle Westprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0886777062, Mass Market Paperback)

In the sequel to Hunter's Oath, the Dark Lord and his evil minions once again menace Averalaan, and the Hunter Lord Gilliam and his huntbrother, Stephen, guided by Yvaine the seer, journey to the ancient city to confront the powers of darkness. Original.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:47 -0400)

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