April Review: A Guy's Review of a Novel not Written for Guys
Author: Julie Hall
Publisher: Julie Hall
A little background and disclaimer. Huntress is not a book I would normally pick up. One look at the cover, and I could tell that I was not anywhere near the target audience. The book is clearly written for young women. However, I met Julie and her husband at a writer’s conference. I was so impressed with them and their seminar that I decided to check out her novel. I must confess, though, I was so embarrassed that I made my daughter purchase the book and get it signed in my place. Sad. I know.
So why would I, an adult male, review a book meant for young women? Because I promised you, my readers, reviews of books worth picking up.
Huntress is one of those books.
Imagine waking up to find that you are dead. You have no memory of your previous life. You don’t know anyone. Everything is new and unfamiliar. And, oh, you’re assigned the task of demon hunter for your afterlife. Got that picture? Well, that’s the new world of Audrey, the protagonist in Huntress.
The entire story is told from Audrey’s perspective. As the reader, you get to navigate Hall’s take on the afterlife through her eyes. Her discovery, her insecurity, and her wonder are all part of your experience. Audrey is convinced she’s been given the wrong assignment. Nothing about her feels like a hunter. Training is a chore, and each day only reminds her only of her weakness. But don’t make her angry. Like the Hulk, she can be surprisingly ferocious when the right buttons are pushed.
Logan is assigned to Audrey as her trainer, an assignment about which he seems less than thrilled. He is an experienced hunter whose methods ride the line between trying to break Audrey and helping her realize how strong she can be. What you see is all you get as he rarely opens up. His emotional walls always stay firmly in place. All that changes in one moment when he and Audrey find themselves in a tight spot—but I’ll stop there to keep this spoiler-free.
Ramona is the perennial best friend to Audrey. The one person Audrey feels any sense of comfort around, she is the one helping Audrey adjust to the afterlife. However, Audrey cannot shake the sense that Ramona is holding something back.
Kaitlin. Is she a rival? A friend? A mentor? It’s hard for Audrey to figure Kaitlin out. One moment, she can’t stand the sight of Kaitlin. In others, she is thankful she is there to show her the ropes. Only time will play out who Kaitlin will be in Audrey’s life.
My favorite part to this book was Hall’s incorporation of her faith. I felt like I understood the author’s own faith journey by the end of this read. Distinctly told from a Christian perspective of the afterlife, Hall does a masterful job weaving matters of faith into a story that is interesting and not cheesy. Characters and concepts are pulled right from the Bible, but the book avoids being preachy. Characters are realistically flawed, and faith is not depicted with a “and they lived happily ever after” tone.
Now, as an adult male, I honestly had a hard time getting into the first person, female perspective on romance and relationships in Huntress, but again, I’m not the audience for which Hall wrote this book. The writer in me appreciated the need for deeper character development, while the male in me was glad there was plenty of swordplay and action sequences. Despite not being the audience for Hall’s work, I enjoyed the story immensely.
I would recommend this book to young women, especially young women of faith, and those who enjoy YA fantasy. The book is clean with no language or sex. Romance is present, but clean. Violence is there, but there is no gore. Christian faith is a huge part of this story, which will appeal to some and not to others. In time, I hope to check out the other books in the series to continue Audrey’s journey.
I will confidently recommend this book to those for whom it’s intended, including my own daughter.
Available on Amazon.
No disclaimer. I did not receive anything from the author, nor was I requested to write this review.