Finalist for 2012 Book of the Year Award – Foreword Reviews
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Genre – MG/ YA Fantasy
Rating – PG
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.
I enjoyed this book and got pulled into the story right from the start. Though sometimes, the action was a bit rushed, and the monster battles too prolific, in my estimation. Jack’s clever solutions, nimble actions, and dedicated loyalty to his friends made me like him despite his tendency to smart off at inopportune moments. But, as this book is geared mainly toward young male readers, my grievances about that matter very little. On the whole, Jack is the type of leader most of us would be proud to follow.
Here is what I see as drawbacks in this book. First off, It really aggravates me when a writer teases that something major is going to happen but then it doesn’t. I had to flip back to be sure that I had read what I thought I had, and yep there it was plain as day. Also, T-Rex’s nasty habit is overplayed. I could have easily done without all the detail, but again, underage boys probably find that bit hilarious.
Here is what I particularly liked. I certainly enjoyed the whole adventure, and I am definitely ready for more. Monsters come in many guises; Jeff Gunhaus keeps the tension and the uncertainty ratcheted up to nail-biting proportions with a spin that keeps this story barreling along with plenty of surprises along the way. The conversational tone throughout appealed to me because it seemed real, not faked, and there were many humorous moments, too. That is always a plus in my book. The next book in the series is already queued up in my TBR list. It looks like Jack and his companions will have their work cut out for them as Jack learns even more about the shadowy world around him and really begins to come into his own. I’m looking forward to finding out what develops next.
This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Laurie-J
14th June – Book Review at Haunting Orchid
21st June – Book Excerpt at Mind to Mind
28th June – Author Interview at Voicu Mihnea Simandan‘s blog
5th July – Book Excerpt at Paws on Books
12th July – Author Interview & Book Feature at Kindle Nook Books
19th July – Book Excerpt at Lonely Hearts