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Hunter and Fox

Hunter and Fox [Kindle Edition]

Philippa Ballantine
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


Praise for Phillapa Ballantine:

"I really enjoy this author's work! She's pretty much on my must-buy list. . . "
-Felicia Day, Creator, writer, and star of "The Guild" the web series

"Ballantine's world-building is subtle. Instead of spoon-feeding or info-dumping, Ballantine gives readers exactly the amount of information they need at a particular moment. . . . I feel the urge to wave the book around and shout, 'Hey, writers! Here's how you build a world without showing all of your work on every single page!' The characterization is fantastic."
-Fantasy Literature

Product Description

In a world that is in constant shifting, where mountains can change to plains and then to lakes, Talyn is the Hunter for the Caisah, and a wreck of a once-proud person. She has lost her people, the Vaerli, and her soul working for the man who destroyed her people. All unknowing, she carries within her a Kindred, a chaos creature from the center of the earth that wants to help bring the Vaerli back to power. However, she has lost the ability to communicate with it.

Little does the Hunter know that salvation is looking for her, and it wears the face of gentleness and strength. Finn is a teller of tales who carries his own dreadful secret. He sets out to find answers to his path but ends up in the city of Perilous and Fair where he meets Talyn. He knows the danger and yet is drawn to her. Their fates are bound together.

Meanwhile, the Hunter's lost brother Byre is searching for his own solution to the terrible curse placed on the Vaerli. He sets forth on a treacherous journey of his own, which will intersect in the most unlikely place with that of Talyn and Finn. The ramifications of this encounter will be felt by all the people in Conhaero, from the lost Vaerli to the Caisah on his throne.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 683 KB
  • Print Length: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr (12 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C4B2KDI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #267,972 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid Fantasy Fare 27 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Give it a read. Its pretty good, the world is interesting and the characters pretty good. At it's heart there is of course a love story, but that's alright.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Original Fantasy Novel I've Read this Year! 6 Jun 2012
By Amanda Makepeace - Published on
Imagine an outdoor market filled with cultures from around the world. The scents, sounds and colors would be intoxicating. Hunter and Fox is all that and more. I couldn't get enough of the peoples and cultures of Conhaero and the mystery of the White Void from which they came. As I read Hunter and Fox I found myself scrutinizing the details and always yearning for more. Philippa Ballantine is easily a master world builder but it's the richness of her characters too that held my gaze, pulled on my emotions and kept me up all night.

I enjoy reading Fantasy, but it's not always my first choice. Too often I feel like I'm reading the same books, only with different titles. Not so here. When I give a Fantasy novel 5 stars-as I did Hunter and Fox-then you know it's a cut above the rest. I immediately identified with the character Talyn the Dark. She's strong and ruthless, and does the Caisah's bidding. She's not a heroine. Or is she? Everything is open to interpretation and you soon learn there is more to Talyn's story, and everyone else's too. She's not alone in her struggle. There are many things hidden in Conhaero and they all begin to take shape at once. If I say anymore I'll start spilling spoilers!

Hunter and Fox is only the first book in the Shifted World series, so don't expect everything to be resolved at the end. It's like an episode of Game of Thrones, you'll be gasping at the end and wondering how the book could end there!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Series with a lot of potential 26 July 2012
By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada - Published on
I've read or listened to in podcast form a lot of Philippa Ballantine's books. I've reviewed the first two books of her Books of the Order series, Geist and Spectyr, here on the blog and I've listened to her Chasing the Bard and Weather Child as podcasts, the latter even having me in tears on my bike ride to work because of its ending. So you might say I enjoy Ballantine's work a lot. So when PYR contacted me about reviewing Hunter and Fox, I was really pleased and agreed right away. However, while I enjoyed the book a lot, this time I was a little disappointed as the book wasn't as smooth a read as Geist and Spectyr were or as affecting as Weather Child was.

The book was strangely uneven, both in pacing and in characterisation. While the story was in itself interesting and the concept of the Chaoslands very cool, its execution left a bit to be desired as the wealth of characters, locations and storylines were at times a little confusing and left little time to explore them a little deeper than possible in the relatively short span of this novel. For example, The Harrowing, which is the event that deprived the Vaerli of their powers, is never really explained. How did they lose their powers? Did the Caisah throw a spell at them; destroy something central to their powers? And how come Talyn gets to keep some of her powers? Nothing is really explained and while I usually enjoy it when the author lets the reader discover more about the world through the narrative instead of exposition, in this case I would have liked some of the latter as it functioned more as a distraction than an enticing mystery. Similarly, there is the why and the how of the Caisah binding Talyn to him as his Hunter. Why Talyn? There might actually be an explanation for this - Talyn is descended from an important and very powerful Vaerli - but it's never quite clear whether the Caisah is aware of this fact and if it's the reason he chose Talyn.

Ballantine usually writes a limited number of main PoV's, I think the three in Chasing the Bard was the highest number I've come across, though my memory may be faulty and I haven't read all of her books. But as far as I'm aware she usually sticks to this limited number. Not so in Hunter and Fox, we have at least four and arguably five main points of views and I found that to be a little too many, as at times they got in each other's way. I think the book might have benefited from at least one less PoV or more pages to tell its story, but as all the PoV's are important to the story, I'd think more pages would have been the way to go, especially as it's a slim novel to begin with--275 pages in the version I read. What we do get from the PoV's is good, with my favourite being Finn's PoV, closely followed by Byre. Finn is a fun character, a bit of a rogue and a man with a way with words; he has a good heart and obviously wants to help the Vaerli escape their oppressed state. He turns out to have a mysterious background as well, but unlike The Harrowing, this mystery drew me in instead of jolting me out of the narrative. Byre, Talyn's brother, has a remarkably fresh perspective on all things Vaerli, as he was only really young at the time of the Harrowing and was raised by humans, as a result of which he's got a foot in both worlds, but belongs to neither. I found his storyline very touching and I really enjoyed the latter part of his story in the book, especially the interaction with Retira.

It's strange to find myself writing such a critical review for Hunter and Fox, for while it might seem I really didn't enjoy this book, that isn't the case at all. I think it's because I enjoyed this book and the story's potential so much, that the above points bothered me this deeply. I just wanted more: more characterisation, more explanation, just more. There is just so much potential and so much to enjoy about Ballantine's writing, that what Hunter and Fox offered left me a bit conflicted. Despite all of this I'm looking forward to the next instalment in the series to see what Ballantine has in store for Talyn, Byre, Finn and the rest. Hunter and Fox is recommended with reservations and if you're not familiar with Ballantine's writing, I'd definitely start off with her Books of the Order titles, Geist and Spectyr, to get to know her writing and learn to trust the author before embarking on Hunter and Fox.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shifted World # 1 7 July 2012
By bookworm - Published on
'Hunter and Fox' is the first book in the Shifted World series and I was really surprised how much I liked this book! - Why? - Because I usually avoid High Fantasy novels. I am just not that into completely strange Fantasy worlds. I tend to read stories with more familiar settings - like in Urban Fantasy. The good thing with Philippa Ballantine's writing style is - she never throws every information in at the beginning - so you learn about the world in 'Hunter and Fox' step by step. That way also a non-Fantasy reader can relate pretty good because it's never too much information at once.

The story is mostly told from the POV of the three protagonists - 1. Talyn the Dark - the Hunter of the Casaih (she's an adorable anti-heroine), 2. Finn the Fox - a talespinner and 3. Byreniko aka Byre - brother of Talyn the Dark - which is important to understand fully the complete story and it adds to the diversity of the story.

The worldbuilding and the different species are well developed and much more interesting than the average vampire/werewolf/fae worlds I usually read about... I loved to read about those really interesting species - for example the creepy centaur Drynis. So, this was a nice change and Philippa Ballantine might be able to convert me to a High Fantasy lover...

The book ends with a cliffhanger... now I have to wait (which I am not good at) to know how the story continues... so, Philippa Ballantine, pretty please... write faster!! =)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for fans of original fantasy! 18 July 2012
By Red and Belle @ Red Reader Reviews - Published on
Hunter and Fox had exactly what I've come to expect from Ballantine: a beautifully created world, diverse and unique characters, and a want for more. After reading two of the authors Books of the Order series last year (Geist and Spectyr) I couldn't wait to get my hands on another. For those who have read Philippa Ballantine's previous work, Hunter and Fox is set in an entirely new world filled with Chaos--quite literally. The threads of each character's life twines with the others while remaining separate at the same time as each fights for a cause before destruction and fire destroys the world.

I did have a few problems with this book. For starters, and this didn't surprise me, Ballantine gives you a lot of information in Hunter and Fox. It's setting up a sequel but this first book isn't all that long for the amount you learn. I struggled to keep all of the points of view, locations, and different plot lines separate until near the end. This is very fast-paced and I would've like to spend more time with each character instead of bouncing around 2-3 times per chapter.

Despite that, I once again enjoyed another book by Philippa Ballantine. I've found I like the sequels much better as the back story has been shared in book one so I look forward to the next Shifted World novel. Hunter and Fox is good for most ages, containing only small scenes of violence, and I would definitely recommend reading it as well as Ballantine's other work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whole new fantasy world. Be prepared for all you know to change, with chaos mixed in. 23 Jun 2012
By MelHay - Published on
In a world full of chaos, and now disrupted from its normal patterns, there are people on their own missions who will collide with others in their doings. One may disrupt all the others have done, but all have the intentions of helping their own kind, and even the once powerful Vaerli who are now lonely people beaten when found.

Talyn, the ruler Caisah's bounty hunter, hunts people for golden puzzle pieces that Talyn is told by Caisah once complete will give her the secret and truth to help her people, of which she's been working at for all 300-some years. She's a Vaerli whom can not come in contact let alone close to another of her kind, thanks to a curse bestowed on the Vaerli from her Master, when close they will burn to death, and lost all but two of the seven magical gifts of the race. She's not happy with her ruler of 300+ years and wonders if ever she could kill him, after she has the secret. Then one day things start to change as she feels the excruciating pain of her brothers painful torture and sends for someone to find him for her. Now one of the lost five gifts has returned.

Finbarr the Fox tells a story, on a subject the Caisah is not pleased with. The story he tells is of a time before Caisah and after the Vaerli races came to Conhaero. Finn too, has a special gift, he talks to a boy, Ysel, through a thread pattern game his fingers weave with a thread. Ysel dreams at times of Finn to be in trouble, and tries to warn him when he can. Finn tells tales of the forbidden, of the Vaerli before the Caisah took control hundreds of years ago, hoping to warn of what could happen to anyone and bring about a successful rebellion. Finn realizes he needs a bigger audience and city to listen to his tale, so he sneaks into the Caisah private masquerade party and tells one of the forbidden tales of the once powerful Vaerli to raise people against him, just to have Caisah send his hunter to kill him. One Finn has a brief history with...

Byre, a Vaerli who has been having prolific dreams and told his fortune, is trying to get to the World Builders in their own city that's hidden away. A place he needs to go to help his people, the Vaerli, to return to their once powerful selves, who are now striped of their gifts. He also hopes no one will discover he is the brother of hated and Vaerli black spot for her betrayal to her kind, Talyn the dark the Caisah's feared and powerful Hunter. Can Byre survive the beatings along the way? Will it make him stronger for what he has to do in the end?

Pelanor is a young acolyte who reached her time and is formed into the Blood Witch she desired to be and now hired to kill Talyn for her blood reward.

Wipe all you know of the world clear, and start fresh with this book! Whole new fantasy world to explore, as it shifts around us!

This review is a hard one for me to write. I enjoyed this creation, and there is so much I want to share with you to prepare you for this excellent fantasy read. But I know I can't tell you it all, and I can't prepare you for all you will come across. It is one that needs to be experienced in it's time as you read through it. Be prepared to be blown away with the world and cultures created, then realize the story has been told before you are ready to be done.

I will admit the first few pages had me curious about the world created here. Landscapes that change when they want and at the blow of a breeze. Along with curiosity about the people present and why in places they are (or servitude in). There are different cultures and godlike beings, the Kindred. Then there is Talyn and her profession and what powers she has, powers with time. This all bring me to feeling this is a heavy fantasy read, and I loved it! I like books that get me thinking and draw me into a completely new world, make me curious to keep going and learn what the author has in store for me.

We have a few different POV's. They are: Talyn the Hunter, Finn - Finbarr the Fox, Byre - Byreniko Talyn's brother, and Pelanor a Phaerkorn. We also have the three friends of Finn - Equo, Varlesh and Si. All these views help show how massive a world Pip has created here. HOLY WORLD!!

I have to mention, even in one lone sentence the awesome creature on the cover, which Talyn is sitting on. I WANT ONE!! His name, Syris and he's a Nykur with a razor mane and needle sharp teeth horse-like creature, and no other has one or rides this one. He and his kind are part of the chaos world we are visiting. Many strange creatures exist here, and ones that are not so kind but more deadly.

This is a "heavier" read to me and completely different from Pip's past publications. An EPIC feel with building a whole world from scratch and characters. In the end you realize there is so much more happening than you realized going through. This is one to sit back and savior the building all around, then suddenly say, "Ah! Are they using this character to get to this character?" With this building it's slower in action but HUGE in world and cultures. The story line and plot sneaks up on you. Pip does an outstanding job of telling a story through the world and characters. You don't realize you've come so far with everything you are learning until you sit back and say "Wow. I didn't realize we'd moved that far." Because, I didn't realize it. It all comes together suddenly and made me nod my head.

I've mentioned heavy fantasy a few times now, I call this a heavy read because I read slower to absorb all this world has to share and there's a lot to learn of this unique world. I try to understand what this world is like and whats happening. Not only are the people affected but so is the land, for centuries. This is a strong fantasy book for fantasy lovers.

I plan on reading more of the Shifted World series as they come out. I want to know about all the beings that came through the Void, and maybe some day learn more about the Void. Also, the way this ended! I couldn't believe we ended this way. It was an ending, in sorts, but definitely one that made me go, "What!?! I want to know!" All our major players are in a point where new journeys are to be made, and I want to read about those journeys. So, of sorts, it's a cliffhanger ending. I want more of Finn as he becomes the big mystery to me with what he can do and who he is. I want to know what will come of Byre and his guardian. And Talyn! She has learned so much, yet has so much to see too.

I need the next Shifted World book!!
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