Book Review: The Sacred Hunt by Michelle West

The Sacred Hunt is the first time the duology Hunter's Oath and Hunter's Death, by bestselling author Michelle West, has been available as a single volume. This author has also published under the names Michelle Sagara and Michelle Sagara West.

HUNTER'S OATH: When the covenant was made with the Hunter God, it ensured that the Hunter Lords, their land, and their people would prosper. But in payment, once a year the Sacred Hunt must be called, in which the God's prey would be one of the Lords or his huntbrother. This was the Hunter's Oath, sworn to by each Lord and his huntbrother. It was the Oath taken by Gilliam of Elseth and the orphan boy Stephen--and the fulfillment of their Oath would prove the kind of destiny from which legends were made.
HUNTER'S DEATH: The Hunter Lord Gilliam and his huntbrother Stephen must travel to Averalaan, a city once ruled by the Lord of Hell himself, the Dark Lord who once again seeks to impose his reign over the mortal lands. And only Stephen, Gilliam, Espere, and the seer Evayne stand any chance of saving the world from this most evil of fates.

The Sacred Hunt is a solid and complete story. The world, the characters, and the mythology are all well written and interesting. I enjoyed the personalities, and their imperfection, that made the characters real despite the obvious fact they they are fictional. The relationship between Stephen and Gilliam, and those in similar positions, is well built and described with plenty of growth and change- as real personalities and relationships grow. The only thing that I really did not like were the interludes when Evayne's point of view came through. As the story progressed her importance was clear, but in the beginning I just found it disruptive, bringing me out of the story for a bit. I understand the importance of what readers gained there- but while I was reading the first portion of the doulogy, even though I knew there would be a good reason for it, it just did not help the flow of the book for me. I did find the pacing a little slow, but that could have been my eagerness to get to the action, and to see where West was going to take us.

The Sacred Hunt is a reminder for me of what I enjoy from a favorite author. I am a fan of her books writen as Michelle Sagara, and know that this douolgy was originally written much earlier. I can see the dedicated world and character building, as well as a slower pace and some pitfalls that showed me how much the author has grown. A solid fantasy series, but a less engaging story than I had hoped for.

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