Joyeaux Charmand is a young Hunter, chosen from her village to join the Hunter corps of Apex, protecting its Cits from the Othersiders—fantastical, menacing creatures—and also protecting the secrets and people of her village back home.
Joyeaux has the arduous task of figuring out the rules of her new environment while showing that she is worthy of her position. She also discovers that there will be cameras almost every step of the way, televising her journey to millions of eager fans. Before she even arrives, her skills are put to the test: Othersiders are breaking barriers thought to be impenetrable and using tactics that they were unknown to have. Even worse, someone or something is helping them, and Joyeaux decides to try to find the source. Armed with wit as quick as her reflexes, her magic, and her equally enchanting Hounds, Joyeaux embarks on a journey that sets her questioning the motives of every person she comes in contact with as well as the larger system that was built to keep people protected. Lackey builds this magically post-apocalyptic world briskly: some 250 years after the nuclear catastrophe that caused the pole-reversing Diseray, bits and pieces of our Earth, both geographical and cultural, remain. Joyeaux’s narration is spellbinding, the prose easily balancing the technology of the future with the traditions of the past.
Captivating, dynamic, well-paced, and thrilling. (Science fiction/fantasy. 12 & up)