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"I really enjoy this author's work! She's pretty much on my must-buy list. . . "
-Felicia Day, Creator, writer, and star of "The Guild" the web series
"Ballantine's world-building is subtle. Instead of spoon-feeding or info-dumping, Ballantine gives readers exactly the amount of information they need at a particular moment. . . . I feel the urge to wave the book around and shout, 'Hey, writers! Here's how you build a world without showing all of your work on every single page!' The characterization is fantastic."
Posted November 15, 2012
Hunter and Fox is a seamless blend of fantasy and adventure that will draw many readers to the Shifted World series. Philippa Ballantine paints a world that is strange and mystical at every turn, setting the stage for what is sure to be an extreme journey for the people of Conhaero. Specifically, Talyn the Dark, her brother Byre, and Finnbarr the Fox who all work to bring back the power of the Vaerli.
The Vaerli were a proud people with seven gifts, given through a pact with the powerful and mysterious creatures known as the Kindred. Talyn believes that the cause of all her peoples' troubles is the Caisah to whom she belongs as a bounty hunter. She believes the Caisah will be the answer to her people gaining their gifts back and the ability to unite with one another without certain destruction. Other forces are at work, though, in the Chaos lands, evident to readers as Ballantine focuses on the perspectives of other characters as well. Talyn's brother, Byre, is guided by dreams that lead him to where the history of the Vaerli began. Finn tells tales of the Vaerli hoping to expose the Caisah's injustice while trying to revive the former glory of the Vaerli. It's very intriguing that Finn, Talyn, Byre, and three of Finn's friends known as the Ahouri, have similar goals: bring down the Caisah, restore power to the Vaerli, spread the story of the Vaerli, but they all take different approaches. At first, I didn't like having more than three perspectives that changed with each new chapter. With each new perspective came another side to the story and by the end of the novel it was easier to see that a bigger picture was forming.
The Kindred that make themselves known to Talyn tell her that she's not really making the future better for her people and it's too late for her to redeem herself. I'm so used to reading about heroines who always do the right thing and even if they're a little cold they still know how to love and let others in. Talyn was so unlike status quo. She may have been too proud, but she knows the true meaning of commitment and determination. I believe she'll still find a way to help the Vaerli.
Hunter and Fox is a grand beginning for the Shifted World series and I can already picture the series gaining more momentum. The next installment, Kindred and Wings, will open the floor for more of Ballantine's complex plot and mind-blowing world!
*Book provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books
Posted July 18, 2012
Hunter and Fox had exactly what I've come to expect from Ballantine: a beautifully created world, diverse and unique characters, and a want for more. After reading two of the authors Books of the Order series last year (Geist and Spectyr) I couldn't wait to get my hands on another. For those who have read Philippa Ballantine's previous work, Hunter and Fox is set in an entirely new world filled with Chaos--quite literally. The threads of each character's life twines with the others while remaining separate at the same time as each fights for a cause before destruction and fire destroys the world.
I did have a few problems with this book. For starters, and this didn't surprise me, Ballantine gives you a lot of information in Hunter and Fox. It's setting up a sequel but this first book isn't all that long for the amount you learn. I struggled to keep all of the points of view, locations, and different plot lines separate until near the end. This is very fast-paced and I would've like to spend more time with each character instead of bouncing around 2-3 times per chapter.
Despite that, I once again enjoyed another book by Philippa Ballantine. I've found I like the sequels much better as the back story has been shared in book one so I look forward to the next Shifted World novel. Hunter and Fox is good for most ages, containing only small scenes of violence, and I would definitely recommend reading it as well as Ballantine's other work.
Posted June 24, 2012
Pip is queen of creating a complex, imperfect world that is both like and totally unlike our own in so many specific ways... and then sucking you right on into that new world without your even realizing it. I love fantasy, I always have, but certain types of fantasy can be, well, dense sometimes. Pip is never dense. Her work in the Books of the Order (Spectyr, Geist and the forthcoming Wrayth and Harbinger) is exquisite, and this new beginning with Hunter and Fox is equally if not more complex and wondrous. Talyn is the Hunter of the title, a dark, cool-hearted assassin under the thumb of the ruthless tyrant, the immortal Caisah. She is not a drone, however much she is attached to the Caisah's will; she has her own thoughts and agendas hidden beneath the calculating mask of a killing machine. The world fears her as much as it fears the Caisah, though Talyn's true wishes are to find her way back to her roots, despite the fact that her people the Vaerli have pretty much been wiped out. Her brother, Byreniko, is on the run, also seeking a way back to the beginning of their people's troubles. Finn, a talespinner and the Fox of the title, is a rebellious, storytelling fool of a man whose heart is too big for his own good; he has a great love for the incredibly long-lived Talyn, despite her horrifying deeds and reputation. Throw in a Blood Witch called Pelanor whose duty it is to destroy Talyn, whisperings of rebellion against the Caisah from the lower tribes, and some chaotic primal forces at work the wilderness, and you've got the wild ride that is Hunter and Fox.
I don't want to give too much away; part of the excitement of Hunter and Fox is the tangled web of characters and stories that you find yourself flung into, and before you can help it, you're hurriedly trying to weave each strand together to form a fuller picture. There is always a twist, though, and Pip is masterful at delivering small discoveries along the way to tantalize a reader's tastebuds. I can't wait to see what happens in the next installment... because another thing she's excellent at is CLIFFHANGERS. I fall for it every single time. Ugh. I will also say this: I recently re-read some of my childhood favorites (The Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce) and it made me feel as though Hunter and Fox is a similar kind of thing that Tamora Pierce might deliver for a more adult audience. That's not to say it's explicit in any way, but it's certainly a touch more advanced. But I loved Tamora Pierce as a kid, and it's amazing and deeply satisfying to find an author to feed me fantasy of a high caliber to match what I read as a child and go even further with adventure, magic, and mystery.
Posted June 22, 2012
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. Finn tells tales of the forbidden, 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 tale, to have Caisah send his hunter to kill him. One Finn has a brief history with...
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! 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 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 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. 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 plan on reading more of the Shifted World series. 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.
Posted June 20, 2012
Looking for a good fantasy read? Well... I found one for you, or rather it found me.
This book is filled with a wonderful and interesting world from the imaginative mind of Philippa Ballantine. It is a book filled with lots of curious and magical creatures and people and it will keep you enthralled throughout. Oh yes, I really loved the descriptions of the characters, their past, their torments, abilities, and adventures. The beasts within also hold a great intrest in me as well. All with a personality of their own. Yes, this book had me captivated from the beginning to the end.
I'd have to say that my favorite characters were the hunter and the fox, aka Talyn and Finn. When they shared the adventure in the book, I was entranced. When the book switched from their story to another simultaneous adventure, I felt a bit bereft and didn't want to move on. However, in the end I didn't mind since I became involved in the adventure put before me. Still, every time I left the Hunter and the Fox, I just didn't want to go.
I give this fantasy adventure 4 1/2 stars. My biggest complaint was the end. You get a bit of a cliffie and I was upset I didn't have the next book in my hot little hands. I recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy.
Posted August 17, 2014
No text was provided for this review.
Posted December 5, 2012
No text was provided for this review.