Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: Hunter and Fox

Hunter and Fox

By:  Philippa Ballantine

Publisher:  Pyr

Publish Date:  June 2012

Format:  ARC

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st of A Shifted World Novel

Recommendation:  YES!  Whole new fantasy world!  Be prepared for all you know to change...with chaos mixed in.

Book Synopsis:
In a world that is in constant shifting, where mountains can change to plains and then to lakes, Talyn is the Hunter for the Caisah, and a wreck of a once-proud person.  She has lost her people, the Vaerli, and her soul working for the man who destroyed her people.  All unknowing, she carries within her a Kindred, a chaos creature from the center of the earth that wants to help bring the Vaerli back to power.  However, she has lost the ability to communicate with it.

She must also deal with the machinations of Kelanim, the mistress of Caisah, who out of fear will do anything to bring Talyn down.

Little does the Hunter know that salvation is looking for her, and it wears the face of gentleness and strength.  Finn is a teller of tales who carries his own dreadful secret.  He sets out to find answers to his path but ends up in the city of Perilous and Fair where he meets Talyn.  He knows the danger and yet is drawn to her.  Their fates are bound together.

Meanwhile, the Hunter's lost brother Byre is searching for his own solution to the terrible curse placed on the Vaerli.  He sets forth on a treacherous journey of his own, which will intersect in the most unlikely place with that of Talyn and Finn.

The ramifications of this encounter will be felt by all the people in Conhaero, from the lost Vaerli to the Caisah on his throne.

First Sentence:
To hunt a man was not meant to be an easy thing - however it had become a fixture in the life of Talyn the Dark.

My Thoughts and Summary:
In a world full of chaos, and now disrupted from its normal patterns, there are people on their own missions who will collide with others in their doings.  One may disrupt all the others have done, but all have the intentions of helping their own kind, and even the once powerful Vaerli who are now lonely people beaten when found.

Talyn, the ruler Caisah's bounty hunter, hunts people for golden puzzle pieces that Talyn is told by Caisah once complete will give her the secret and truth to help her people, of which she's been working at for all 300-some years.  She's a Vaerli whom can not come in contact let alone close to another of her kind, thanks to a curse bestowed on the Vaerli from her Master, when close they will burn to death, and lost all but two of the seven magical gifts of the race.  She's not happy with her ruler of 300+ years and wonders if ever she could kill him, after she has the secret.  Then one day things start to change as she feels the excruciating pain of her brothers painful torture and sends for someone to find him for her.  Now one of the lost five gifts has returned.

Finbarr the Fox tells a story, on a subject the Caisah is not pleased with.  The story he tells is of a time before Caisah and after the Vaerli races came to Conhaero.  Finn too, has a special gift, he talks to a boy, Ysel, through a thread pattern game his fingers weave with a thread.  Ysel dreams at times of Finn to be in trouble, and tries to warn him when he can.  Finn tells tales of the forbidden, of the Vaerli before the Caisah took control hundreds of years ago, hoping to warn of what could happen to anyone and bring about a successful rebellion.  Finn realizes he needs a bigger audience and city to listen to his tale, so he sneaks into the Caisah private masquerade party and tells one of the forbidden tales of the once powerful Vaerli to raise people against him, just to have Caisah send his hunter to kill him.  One Finn has a brief history with...

Byre, a Vaerli who has been having prolific dreams and told his fortune, is trying to get to the World Builders in their own city that's hidden away.  A place he needs to go to help his people, the Vaerli, to return to their once powerful selves, who are now striped of their gifts.  He also hopes no one will discover he is the brother of hated and Vaerli black spot for her betrayal to her kind, Talyn the dark the Caisah's feared and powerful Hunter.  Can Byre survive the beatings along the way?  Will it make him stronger for what he has to do in the end?

Pelanor is a young acolyte who reached her time and is formed into the Blood Witch she desired to be and now hired to kill Talyn for her blood reward.

Wipe all you know of the world clear, and start fresh with this book!  Whole new fantasy world to explore, as it shifts around us!

This review is a hard one for me to write.  I enjoyed this creation, and there is so much I want to share with you to prepare you for this excellent fantasy read.  But I know I can't tell you it all, and I can't prepare you for all you will come across.  It is one that needs to be experienced in it's time as you read through it.  Be prepared to be blown away with the world and cultures created, then realize the story has been told before you are ready to be done.

I will admit the first few pages had me curious about the world created here.  Landscapes that change when they want and at the blow of a breeze.  Along with curiosity about the people present and why in places they are (or servitude in).  There are different cultures and godlike beings, the Kindred.  Then there is Talyn and her profession and what powers she has, powers with time.  This all bring me to feeling this is a heavy fantasy read, and I loved it!  I like books that get me thinking and draw me into a completely new world, make me curious to keep going and learn what the author has in store for me.

We have a few different POV's.  They are: Talyn the Hunter, Finn - Finbarr the Fox, Byre - Byreniko Talyn's brother, and Pelanor a Phaerkorn.  We also have the three friends of Finn - Equo, Varlesh and Si.  All these views help show how massive a world Pip has created here.  HOLY WORLD!!

I have to mention, even in one lone sentence the awesome creature on the cover, which Talyn is sitting on.  I WANT ONE!!  His name, Syris and he's a Nykur with a razor mane and needle sharp teeth horse-like creature, and no other has one or rides this one.  He and his kind are part of the chaos world we are visiting.  Many strange creatures exist here, and ones that are not so kind but more deadly.

This is a "heavier" read to me and completely different from Pip's past publications.  An EPIC feel with building a whole world from scratch and characters.  In the end you realize there is so much more happening than you realized going through.  This is one to sit back and savior the building all around, then suddenly say, "Ah!  Are they using this character to get to this character?"  With this building it's slower in action but HUGE in world and cultures.  The story line and plot sneaks up on you.  Pip does an outstanding job of telling a story through the world and characters.  You don't realize you've come so far with everything you are learning until you sit back and say "Wow.  I didn't realize we'd moved that far."  Because, I didn't realize it.  It all comes together suddenly and made me nod my head.

I've mentioned heavy fantasy a few times now, I call this a heavy read because I read slower to absorb all this world has to share and there's a lot to learn of this unique world.  I try to understand what this world is like and whats happening.  Not only are the people affected but so is the land, for centuries.  This is a strong fantasy book for fantasy lovers.

I plan on reading more of the Shifted World series as they come out.  I want to know about all the beings that came through the Void, and maybe some day learn more about the Void.  Also, the way this ended!  I couldn't believe we ended this way.  It was an ending, in sorts, but definitely one that made me go, "What!?! I want to know!"  All our major players are in a point where new journeys are to be made, and I want to read about those journeys.  So, of sorts, it's a cliffhanger ending.  I want more of Finn as he becomes the big mystery to me with what he can do and who he is.  I want to know what will come of Byre and his guardian.  And Talyn!  She has learned so much, yet has so much to see too.

I need the next Shifted World book!!

You can find this book at Amazon.com.

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.
Please remember these are my personal opinions.


  1. Going to put it on my TBR. I had a feeling when I read about it, it was going to be on it. Yay! I look forward to getting a hold of it.

    Beth ^_^

    1. Beth D. I do hope you enjoy this one. It was such a new fantasy world, and so nice to be back into fantasy as well. :) Thank you!

  2. This sounds great, Melissa! Definitely adding it to my wish-list. :)

    1. Mirjam, Thank you! Hope you get to enjoy this one as well.

  3. Oh SWEET! I have this one and will be starting on it soon. I love that you want the beast on the cover. If you find one... LET ME KNOW! I have a feeling I'll be wanting one when I read this story!

    1. Oh Melissa (books&Things) I'm really curious to see what you think of this one when you get to it. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. Ohhhhhh, it does sound good :D Want want want

    1. Blodeuedd, I was so taken by the world in this book! It is so completely new, and changing! I never knew what I would come across. And the story line crept up on me before I knew it. lol. Hope you get to give it a try.

  5. I think I will wait for the subsequent books to come out first before reading this one then...

    1. Cherry, I can understand with the ending here. I do hope you get to give it a try in the future. :) Thank you!

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