I’m extremely excited to spotlight one of my favorite authors this week as part of the Indie & Self-Published Author Event: the awesome A.K. HÃ¶st! Today I’m reviewing her latest book, Hunting, and tomorrow I’ve got an interview with the author to share with you — plus a giveaway :) Which I am peer pressuring you into entering, because you can’t miss such great books. It’s just wrong, you guys.
AUTHOR: Andrea K. HÃ¶st
FORMAT: eBook, 264 Pages
Ash Lenthard doesnât call herself a vigilante. Sheâs merely prone to random acts of derring-do, and occasional exhibitions of tomfoolery. Her friends, the Huntsmen, have never stepped over the line while patrolling the streets of Luinhall.
That was before the murder of Ashâs beloved guardian, Genevieve.
Now, Ash Lenthard is out for blood and even when the hunt sends her to the palace, on a collision course with a past identity she would do anything to forget, Ash cannot, will not, back down.
This isn’t just a fantasy book. It’s a fantasy murder mystery. How do you resist?? I mean, it has roof running, tree climbing, strategic gossip, undetectable poisons, shapeshifting mages, secret identities, and VENGEANCE. I can’t imagine what else you might want, except maybe an amazing female lead… WHICH IT ALSO HAS. If you’re not sold yet, I have no idea why. Hunting contains everything I love about Andrea K. HÃ¶st’s fantasy novels, from incredibly detailed world building to great, complex characters. Read on for more!
There are a few constants in life, one of which is that I can always count on A.K. HÃ¶st to deliver a female lead that won’t disappoint me. The author has this to say about the protagonist of hunting: “My need for a heroine capable of getting herself out of her own scrapes produced Ash Lenthard, who does not so much kick ass, as tap-dance across the heads of her enemies.” Does she ever! Wily, resourceful, street-smart Ash has left her painful past behind, shedding her skin and becoming a boy who flies across rooftops with her band of Huntsmen. I loved that Ash is never sitting still. She’s always up and doing something, making the most out of what she has at her disposal. I love that she goes for what she wants instead of twiddling her thumbs. It gets so tiresome reading books in which the characters remain inert for long periods of time, whether it’s due to hesitation or insecurities or what-have-you. This is definitely not the case with Ash.
Plus she made me laugh, and frequently. Ash is one of those characters who is either getting herself into shenanigans or finding herself dropped right in the middle of them, and watching her extricate herself from situations ranging from awkward to dangerous is truly entertaining. She’s self-possessed, focused, and a born leader. I admired her confidence. (I’ve had really good luck recently with female protagonists who go around dressing like boys and then subsequently running circles around them. Also see: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.) I also loved her relationship and banter with Rian Thornaster, the man she reluctantly teams up with to investigate Genevieve’s murder. They were more than a match for each other.
One of my favorite things about this author’s fantasy books is her world building, which is so detailed that it boggles the mind. Ash’s world is no different; it’s a fully realized universe, and delving into it is akin to visiting a foreign country. You have to learn the language, figure out the nuances of its culture. It’s an exercise in discovery that occasionally proved to be a challenge due to the sheer volume of new things to absorb and process. I don’t mind a challenge, but keep in mind that there are no training wheels. The same has been true of other fantasy books I’ve read from this author, and I think it adds to how real they end up feeling. I loved the world introduced in Hunting, especially the complex relationship and balance between the gods, the people, and the land, which were all connected and intertwined. I read a lot of fantasy so it’s always refreshing to see new concepts and ideas in a genre where a lot of tropes are often re-used. Just another thing I’ve come to expect when I read A.K. HÃ¶st!
It takes a bit of an adjustment period to orient yourself in the world of Hunting, which is pretty complex. Lots of words, names, and cultural details to learn, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Ash Lenthard is an unforgettable heroine you can’t help rooting for, whether she’s falling down wells or protecting the people she loves. You may also like The Medair Duology (The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost), also by Andrea K. HÃ¶st, and the first of her fantasy novels I ever picked up. (I loved them too!)
Tomorrow: an interview with the author, and a reader’s choice giveaway!! Be sure to check out all the other great authors being featured this week via the #IndieSelfPubAuthorEvent hashtag! Help us support self-publishing and indie presses!