After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.
In this 2nd installment, Jack is strongly motivated to get the answers he needs in order to find and rescue his father. He and his friends embark on a journey to the Monster Hunter Academy in a remote location near the border of France and Italy where he believes his questions will be answered. However, once there, he finds it difficult to blend in because it appears that he is the trigger setting an old prophecy into action. With few exceptions, Jack is ostracized either because the other boys are in awe of him or because he is envied his “special” status. Jack immediately clashes with Daniel, an instructor. It does not help that Daniel is a rival for Eva’s affections, too. The rivalry between them continues to escalate until dire circumstances of an untenable situation force them to reassess their relationship. Impatient to get what he needs and move on with his personal quest, other events continue to stymie his efforts. Eventually, he even reluctantly agrees to attend classes and training in exchange for information from the elderly but spry Head Mistress, Aquinas.
I enjoyed reading this book even more than the first one. The pacing is still fast, but it is not as frantic as book one. Jack continues to learn, and he is steadily growing into the man he will eventually become – strong-willed, impatient, loyal, and honorable. His friends are also maturing. I was glad to see T-Rex find a niche at the Academy. It is satisfying to observe Will and T-Rex gain confidence and develop their own resourceful personalities. There is still plenty of humor along with the action. A couple of places I actually teared up during a rousing and emotional episode. I am looking forward to the next installment, that’s for sure!
This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Laurie-J
Jack Templar: Monster Hunter
Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack’s fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it’s great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend “T-Rex” from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he’s the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he’s destined to be in the family business. Second, that there’s a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits…until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.
As if that weren’t enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the “One?” Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.
Praise for Book One: Jack Templar Monster Hunter
“Gunhus brings young readers a monster-filled romp to read at their own risk. In the first few pages, Jack, the storyteller and main character, warns readers not to read about these real-world monsters that would seem to only exist in fiction. The tone is set–sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek and likable; rooting for Jack is easy…Gunhus masterfully introduces fully realized characters with whom readers can connect almost instantly. The pacing is quick but not rushed, and events seamlessly progress, complete with action, cliff-hangers and surprise reveals. ” - Kirkus Reviews“The action starts right from the first chapter and doesn’t let up until the book ends. This is the first book in a series, and I look forward to reading the rest of them.” -The DMS
“Jeff Gunhus has made a terrific fast paced fantasy. I even wanted to bolt my doors and lock my windows! Five stars for the best book of the year.” -Elizabeth A. Bolt
“Everything in this book was something a reader could love – action, adventure, mythical creatures, mystery and even a touch of romance. Not bad for fourteen-year-old Jack Templar. There were so many messages to take from this book – messages of love, self-sacrifice, faith and and having the belief that you can be so much more than you are if you just believed. The words poured from the page and I just couldn’t help lapping them up.” -Sandy @ Magical Manuscripts
Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.
WARNINGYeah, you read it right. I’m a monster hunter. Back before I actually became one, I would have thought that sounded totally awesome. And don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways it is. But most of the time, I’m either running for my life or hiding in the shadows, praying the monster chasing me doesn’t pick up my scent. And I’m almost always scared to death. In a few pages, I think you’ll see why.
But there are a few things I need to warn you about before I tell you my story.
First, this isn’t a cartoon. These are bloodthirsty creatures who will stop at nothing to kill. They are scary. Very scary. Second, the only way to stop them is to kill them first…and that gets gross and messy. Third, this is all real.
You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I can almost see you smirking as you read this. But this isn’t a joke. Monsters are real and the story I’m about to tell you really happened. If you’d rather walk through life believing that monsters are only found in books or on the movie screen, then you should shut this book right now and go do something else.
I give you these warnings because the story I’m about to tell you isn’t for everyone. Not everyone can handle it. The blood. The gore. The monsters.
This life was thrust onto me. I had no choice but to take up a sword and fight. But you can still walk away and pretend this dark world doesn’t exist. Or you can walk through the door that I’m about to open and find out the truth about the world around you.
But I warn you (and this is a big warning), if you read this book, if you learn about the monsters that roam among us and the hunters who fight them, if you decide to learn the truth, then you will become fair game for the monsters to chase.
Make sure you understand what I’m saying.
If you read this book, you will be part of this world and the monsters will come after you too. You will start to see things that no other humans can see. The shadows will move when you walk near them. The creatures of the night will seek you out, testing the doors and windows of your house, looking for a way in.
And, at some point, they will find you, just like they found me, and you will be forced to defend yourself.
So, think carefully before you turn the page, because once you do, there’s no turning back.
Once a monster hunter, always a monster hunter.
See you on the other side.
If you’re brave enough.
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