Elite (Hunter, #2) by Mercedes Lackey
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 6, 2016
Genres: young adult, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy
Format: Paperback (ARC)
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As many of you know, I really didn’t like Hunter. That book was a prime example of how you can have a great and exciting concept, but how poor writing and lack of character development (for both main and secondary characters) can make the entire thing a bore.
I read this book, Hunter‘s sequel, because I received an ARC for the second book. And, even though I really didn’t want to read it after finishing Hunter, I buckled down and forced my way through, because it’s an ARC, and I felt obligated to review it. (Believe it or not, I don’t receive many ARCs.) So here it goes.
Somebody on Goodreads said that this whole series would be much better placed as middle grade, and I couldn’t agree more. The writing read like something better suited for ten- to twelve-year-olds than for fourteen-year-olds, and Joy seems closer to that age range than to sixteen, anyway. (Is that how old she is? I can’t even remember.)
But being middle grade wouldn’t solve most of this book’s fatal flaws, such as severely underdeveloped characters, a bare-bones romance, and a negative character arc not given much build-up. (Which is interesting in theory, but ends up being just as boring as the book’s other aspects. Our villain has genuine motive, but it’s not developed enough, and I think one of the reasons why his descent into villainy is not compelling to read is because he’s not developed enough.) Everything in this book needs more: more meat, more substance, more depth. (And, honestly, middle grade readers deserve high-quality books, too. A younger target audience doesn’t allow for lower-quality work.)
Everything except more pages, that is. I will never understand how Lackey is able to write a plot where things happen, but everything feels and reads like filler. I read only the dialogue, and I still had a decent comprehension of what happened during the story. All those pages of description and internal musing were pretty much unnecessary.
There are so many characters in this novel, but none of them ever really come alive. They lack that breath of air, that spark that would make them dynamic and different and unique. These characters are nothing more than words and quotation marks on a page, including Joy. I couldn’t connect with any of them, they were so dull.
And, speaking of dull, the romance between Joy and Josh is snooze-worthy. They have no chemistry–and I’m not just talking about hormones. Yeah, they’re nice people, but there’s nothing special there. We’re not really told why they’re together, other than that Joy thinks he’s cute. But that just doesn’t cut it for me. Sorry.
The only thing that improved is, because this is the second book, there was less of that awkward info-dumping that inundated the first book. Also, the characters weren’t insufferable, even though they weren’t memorable, either. These things made Elite more tolerable than Hunter. But it’s not enough for me to want to continue to the third book. We still have no answers to any questions, guys, and I don’t have the patience to sit through one more book of this to find out things about characters/a story I don’t really care about. I wash my hands of this series with a sigh of relief. Perhaps, if you have a young (pre)teen ready to make the jump into young adult fiction, I’d recommend this to them, because it’s not that big a jump, really. I just hope it wouldn’t put them to sleep first.
Thank you so much to Teen Author Boot Camp for giving me this ARC after I won a contest, and to Disney-Hyperion for supplying it. No compensation of any kind was exchanged. I am grateful for the opportunity!