Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Huntresses' Game

The Huntresses' Game by Joe     Jackson

In the fifth entry of author Joe Jackson’s Eve of Redemption series, protagonist Kari has a recurring dream where she fights alongside a colleague that had been turned into a vampire, Annabelle, her reverie ending with her neck being bitten. Back in the real world, Kari regrets not killing her former friend when she had the chance, goes to the Demonhunter Order campus to train recruits, and thinks about the Demon Prince Taesenus crippling her brother-in-law Typhonix, Ty for short, although he proves to be shrewd at managing his sister-in-law’s estate. Kari, in the meantime, is on the brink of attaining the highest rank in the Order, that of Avatar of Vengeance.

Unfortunately for Kari, she can’t train her recruits due to rain, and instead does admin work and brushes up on the journals of Jason Bosimar. She thinks about Annabelle being the final roadblock before becoming Avatar of Vengeance, and knows her husband Grakin is dying from Dracon’s Bane. She receives an invite to King Koursturaux’s court, a gift suggestion being sheet music by a musician called The Ivory Maestro, given the ironically-female King’s love for playing piano. Kari brings her newborn daughter Uldriana on her trip to the demon king’s court, and is shown the rope of Koursturaux’s home.

Kari goes hunting with the demon king and even spars with her, with the two having a hostile conversation before they separate and Kari returns home. Her brother-in-law Aeligos joins her on her trip to Fort Sabbath to scout the enemy, having a few encounters with Annabelle before their final confrontation and battling a dragon named Zaliskower, as well. Before the final conflicts, Kari goes to the Dragonfire Mountains and passes through a portal into the heavens, where she meets the friendly dragon Alamarise, who plays part in the aforementioned fights.

The story ends on a depressing, yet mildly-hopeful note, with the fifth entry of Jackson’s franchise overall being very much on par with its predecessors, given its well-described and engaging battles, although there are some issues; for instance, it wouldn’t have detracted from the narrative at all to call Koursturaux a queen instead of a king, and as with the yarn’s precursors, some reminders, kennings, and descriptions of the appearances of the important characters would have been welcome so this reviewer could visualize the plot better. Even so, fans of the previous books will likely enjoy the fifth one.

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