Note: A copy of this book was provided by Kelsey Jordan in return for an honest review by The Author Visits team.
Review by Kristin Lundgren - The Author Visits
The Lycan Hunter rises above the usual paranormal book into almost High Fantasy with it's complex world building, mythology and rich cast of characters. It is the story of Kyran, a Talos (wolf) member of the beast/human hybrid shapeshifters, the Lycans, and leader of his pack, and of Alexis, the top female Hunter, whose job it is to wipe all Lycans from the earth. Kyran strives to bring about peace between Lycans and the Hunters, whose 8,000 year old war has been kept secret from humans. He believes that by bringing about understanding, he will fulfill the prophecy "When the Lycan and the Hunter come to an accord, the fallen goddess will be restored," and end the Forever War. That goddess is Narn, who is the mother of all Lycans, but because of creating a new race on earth, which is outside her purview, she has been forever banished from Nunginn, the grove of all life, where they also return to be born again, and the slate wiped clean. Gardas is the home of these gods.
Various other gods created The Hunters, the Prophecy, and dictated how Lycans could be killed. Each Lycan has one soul mate who is destined to be their life partner. When Alexis goes out after a rogue Lycan, and is wounded, it is Kyran who finds her and nurses her back to health. Can their newfound relationship survive what is to come, with meddlesome gods who can walk the earth, back-stabbing comrades-in-arms, and various factions pitted against each other?
This paranormal romance had a large and wide backstory, with a great cast of supporting characters. The descriptions of battles were terrific, and exciting, and the romance was tangible, almost leaping of the pages. There is plenty of humor in the banter, and in one god in particular who is fond of violent video games. The balance of the story between what feels at times to be true fantasy and the modern world works. Yes, they watch TV, and have access to good medical supplies, but they also live in caves. The characters have strong moral codes, and are dedicated to their family and friends. They are willing to literally go to the ends of the earth and back for them. I like the idea that there are more beast/human hybrids to explore in this same setting, and thus flesh out some areas that I felt needed to be developed further. The hero is a true alpha male in all ways, but is not over aggressive to women, and not at all condescending, since in this book, there are matriarchal packs and patriarchal packs. His mother is a leader of a female pack. His father was leader of his pack before him, and his brother is his right hand man. The heroine is a little hot-headed and there is less backstory for her in the beginning, but she grows on you.
What I had more trouble with is something I also liked - the complex backstory, which is introduced in the prologue. That backstory, as rich and complex as it is, is introduced without any framework of the story that will ultimately grow from it and thus did not make sense to me, so I spent a lot of time going back and forth between it and the story, which isn't as easy in a ebook, and grew frustrating at times. It was hard to keep track of all the places and people in the mythology, as the names were all made-up, and some were tricky to sound out in your head. I tend to read out-loud in my head as I go, so that's an issue with me for many fantasy books. In that respect, as with the characters, it had that War and Peace feel to it of a broad, sprawling canvas that needed Cliff notes to keep track of everything and everybody in the early part of the book. There is a glossary at the back, but in my rush to read it, I didn't note that it was there at the back of the book as listed in the Table of Contents. Putting it in the beginning would have helped, or a short pre-note to the prologue or after it.
My main other complaint was the use of a familiar trope in fantasy/paranormal. The hero and heroine must be together for various reasons, but in the beginning are pitted against each other, and so this love/hate starts, which must be broken down as the book progresses. Although here it was broken down faster than most. This device is used a lot in romance as well. But she does manage to keep this fresh by not focusing too much on that, and allowing the characters to develop a relationship, albeit fairly fast. The romance bloomed a little early for my tastes. I like a slower burn. There were a few grammatical errors, or word choice errors, but they didn't affect me or pull me out of the story.
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