Hunter #2. Author: Mercedes Lackey.
Joy wants nothing more than to live and Hunt in Apex City without a target on her back. But a dangerous new mission assigned by her uncle, the city’s Prefect, may make that impossible.
In addition to her new duties as one of the Elite, Joy is covertly running patrols in the abandoned tunnels and storm sewers under Apex Central. With her large pack of magical hounds, she can fight the monsters breaking through the barriers with the strength of three hunters. Her new assignment takes a dark turn when she finds a body in the sewers: a Psimon with no apparent injury or cause of death.
Reporting the incident makes Joy the uncomfortable object of PsiCorp’s scrutiny—the organization appears more interested in keeping her quiet than investigating. With her old enemy Ace still active in Hunts and the appearance of a Folk Mage who seems to have a particular interest in her, Joy realizes that the Apex conspiracy she uncovered before her Elite trials is anything but gone.
As the body count rises, she has no choice but to seek answers. Joy dives into the mysterious bowels of the city, uncovering secrets with far-reaching consequences for PsiCorp… and all of Apex City. (Goodreads summary)
I continue to enjoy this fantasy series. It has interesting mythology, most especially the Hounds and the fae, but also a wide variety of monsters; but unlike some fantasies, it doesn’t revolve around the magic, myth, or romance. Joy is a Hunter; that’s her job, and it’s important, and for once in the history of YA protagonists she actually takes it seriously. She trains and prepares; then she goes out and protects the city. And yes, there are other strands overlaying; political intrigue that she’s trying to stay out of, low-level dating that she doesn’t have much time for, friends with personal problems – but these fit into her life in a much more realistic way than you usually get.
Sexual Content: Some kissing. Two incidents of flirting.
Language: 8 d***, 4 scatological term, 3 hell, 1 derogatory term
Violence: (Note: not every monster fight is listed, bc there are a lot, and quite similar, in terms of violence.) Hunter flees from a Drakken, acting as bait, then turns and watch it get smashed/killed by (invisible-ish) magic that literally flattens it. Hunters and their hounds work together to shoot(humans/tear apart (hounds) Gazers (monsters that manifest as giant eyeballs). Character finds multiple dead bodies in the storm drains. Hunter fights another pod of monsters, first shooting them and then discovering that they burn nicely. 3 Large-scale engagements with monsters, with humans using guns, grenades, military missiles, and magic. One of the Hunters is targeted by another human with a grievance, and they dual with magic. Hunters spar together for practice, tripping each other up and knocking them over, but no one’s really hurt.