This is a review of the book “Hunter’s Oath” by Michelle West.
There is a nice world built up in this book, a world of magics and gods and demons walking amongst men and demanding tithe for their help. The hunter-ways of the stationary Breodanir is fascinating and well thought out, with a nice simplicity that is perhaps a bit idolized but still charming. The dark side of life isn’t forgotten, and the dark side of their God is always present.
I love the idea of the Hunter God and that in order to provide plentiful bounty for the year He actually hunts his own devotees. I love how the hunters have a special bond with their dogs and need a hunt-brother in order to keep them from being overwhelmed during the hunting. That these human hunters hardly ever cared about politics and whatnot was a nice touch, and I like the way their wives and daughters have been given a role in the story. There was so much that could have been done with this, but wasn’t, and that was disappointing.
And that was kind of what the rest of the story was like. There was so much that could be done with the presented ideas and threads in the tale, but wasn’t. The characters king of fell flat all over the board and there was nothing really special about any one of them. No, that is not true. There were special ones but they died pretty soon in the story so they don’t really count.
The Time-Travelling-Sorceress-Who-Can’t-Do-A-Thing-About-Anything(TM) was just annoying. A few glimpses of her here and there would have been interesting, but she took up so much of the story and time for someone who’s story isn’t supposed to happen until the second book of this duology! Her attempts at being mysterious and small attempts at meddling only made it painfully obvious what was going to happen and took away the surprise of it actually happening. Although, it has to be admitted, when she is actually allowed to fight Evayne a’Nolan is kind of cool but it is not enough to save her.
The language was rather flowery. Not to excess, but certainly noticeably and it got a bit annoying at times. The book also kind of drags on in certain parts, and I don’t even want to start in on the demons who want to take over the world (again).
If the book had stuck to the Hunter God, Stephen and Gilliam with the occasional odd happening later (in the second book) explained to be Evayne’s meddling, I would have loved this book. As it is I just couldn’t bring myself to finishing it.
Since I couldn’t even finish this book, I am most certainly not going to read its sequel – “Hunter’s Death”.