“Hunt of the Fallen” by R. A. Zaugg

“The Hunt of the Fallen” starts out as a standard Young Adult Fantasy: a bucolic scene, rather simple young people in a slightly contrived love triangle, a touch of nightmare in the background: the usual setup. However, once the hero leaves the tribe and starts his quest the plot tangles, characters have more complex motivation and the tone of the story dives to a darker level. The distinction between who is good and who is evil becomes blurred, with a positive character in the employ of the evil forces and disturbing hints of a darker nature in our hero.

As the story continues the plot develops wider scope, with a tense and detailed full-scale battle in the middle, and any number of magical creatures appearing and plying their trades.

And the end reminds us that this is only Book 1. There is a reasonable tying-up of plot threads, but the overarching conflict of the series is only temporarily set aside.

While the descriptions and actions are well laid out, the writing style of this book is a bit rough, tending to tell us when we are supposed to be surprised or thankful, rather than showing the characters feeling these emotions.

One question I have is the age level of the intended audience. The beginning of the story has a gentle simplicity that would appeal to the 10 to 12 age group. However, as the story progresses the characters become more complex and the blood, gore, and violence intensifies past the level to which Elementary level children should be exposed.

I encourage those who prefer more complex (and dark) plot and characters not to be put off by the apparent lack of sophistication of the writing in opening chapters. This is one book that definitely gets better later.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)




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