Book one of The Hunted
By A.R. Kahler
Available now from Spencer Hill Press
I've heard good things about A.R. Kahler's Immortal Circus series. (After all, what isn't to like about books set in circuses where strange things happen?) But I have so much to read that it's hard to go back and catch up on a series. So when I saw that he had a new book out in a different series, I decided to give it a try.
MARTYR is set in a post-apocalyptic war. Some people have magic powers granted through the use of spheres. Some of these people worship a dark goddess and managed to unleash a plague of various types of zombies on humanity. Tenn is a Hunter, one of the people with magic left to fight the monsters. The Hunters aren't widely liked, since they're viewed as somewhat responsible. (And, oh yes, it's the magic people who can turn into monsters or create more.)
Still, Tenn and the other Hunters do their best. But when Tenn's magic acts up on a routine patrol, he finds himself being pursued by Tomás, an incubus, and other members of the Kin (that is, the people who unleashed the monsters). Between the pursuit and his suddenly out of control powers, Tenn is in way over his head. The only people he has to rely on are his boyfriend and the twins (two other Hunters), but they might not be powerful enough to survive Tenn's new enemies.
I found MARTYR very thrilling. It's a chase story, which keeps up the momentum. I thought that Tenn's emotional state was well conveyed. He's in a time of turmoil and grief, and his powers force him to dwell on his most unpleasant memories. I did find the worldbuilding a bit confusing at times, since it was very similar to our world except for the spheres. Where the spheres always a thing? When were they discovered? What is going on outside of the US? How far do the monsters spread?
MARTYR is a fun dark YA story, with potential to become something better as the sequels deepen the world. I liked the main characters quite a bit, so I'm eager to see their future adventures. There's also plenty of answers to be found about why Tenn is so important.