Renee 's Reviews > Jack Templar, Monster Hunter

Jack Templar, Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus
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Jan 05, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: kids-books
Read from January 05 to 19, 2013

My daughter and I read and reviewed this book for Mother Daughter Book Reviews. Here's what we have to say about it:

DAUGHTER SAYS:

This story is about a boy named Jack Templar who, when he turns 14, turns into a Monster Hunter. Then a bunch of changes start happening in his life. He has to kill all the monsters especially the vampire named Ren Lucray. I wish the cover showed more people other than Jack so I could see what they look like. When I first saw the cover, it looked like Jack was a man, but after I read the story and looked again, I could see that he was a boy. The main character is Jack Templar who is 13 at the start of the book. He was ok. Nothing like this has happened to me in my life, but it might someday…when I’m 14!

My favorite part of the story was a bit of a surprise so I can’t really tell you but it’s about the girl that he likes and it happens near the end. I liked the parts where they described the monsters and how there were lots of different kinds of monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. I liked the Warnings at the start of the book and me and my brother even followed them by locking the doors and bolting the windows. That was cool! It was sad how some people in the book died in a not nice way when you didn’t expect them to die. It was sad because they were nice people and they sacrificed themselves.

Sometimes I was scared at the monstery parts and the last part (the surprising part that I talked about at the start of this review) and there were parts that made me sad like when the people died. I learned that even when you’re scared you should still be brave – but then you might die. In this book, it also teaches you that dying is ok.

I really, really loved this book and would recommend it to girls and boys about 8 years and older because it has scary stuff and it might be too hard for younger kids to read themselves. I might also recommend it to someone who wants to be a monster hunter (because of the warnings, you might actually need to be one!) Hmmm…I think I actually saw a vampire after I read the book.

MOM SAYS:

Any book that begins with a warning to young readers about the “consequences” of reading this book spoken by the title character himself will certainly get my attention. So, it’s one thing to get my attention (check), it’s a far different thing to keep it (check). The story contained within the pages of Jack Templar: Monster Hunter will grip you by the neck from the get-go, will keep your eyes glued to the page (except for when you think you see a shadow in the next room), and will leave you begging the author to “hurry up already” for the second book in the series. In short, Jack Templar: Monster Hunter is a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat adventure that will leave you wondering if there’s a monster hiding within the fleshy confines of your neighbor, postman, or your child’s principal perhaps?

We meet the title character, Jack “Smith” on the day before his fourteenth birthday when he is noticing strange changes to his body (i.e., he’s faster, he’s stronger, he can jump higher, and so on…). Little does he know that his world is about to be turned upside-down as he is preparing to take part in an epic battle of good versus evil. Although in this case, the “evil” consists of vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other monsters. Who knew monsters existed? No, really…monsters exist.

This is what author Jeff Gunhus does so well – the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred within the first pages of the book when the narrator desperately tries to warn his audience that monsters are, in fact, real. You are given plenty of warning to stop reading, because if you read the book, you will become a monster hunter too. How well does Gunhus accomplish this? Let me put it this way: we were advised by Jack himself in an intermission that should we continue to read, we should “put the book down and check to make sure all the doors and windows are locked.” My children insisted on going through all three floors of our house to ensure that the windows and doors were safely locked. I’m not joking…

The story itself is completely captivating and contains so many plot twists that you are kept guessing what will happen next. No one is who they seem to be, there are many turns in the plot that are completely unexpected, and you really cannot guess how it will end. We generally only read together snuggled up on the couch before bedtime, but with this book, my kids begged me to keep reading it every spare moment we had. No laments of “we’re bored” (to which I typically respond “I don’t have a problem with that.”)

Is this book scary? Hmmm….well, the narrator warns us that the content is filled with bloody scenes of battle, death, violence, and well, monsters. Yes, that’s all true. When my kids gleefully shared with their Dad what we were reading, let’s just say he was taken aback and I may have received “a look”. That being said, there is humour interspersed within the more frightening scenes which really helps to relieve the tension in the story. What I can say is that my son (6) is fearless and pretty much nothing scares him. My daughter is more “sensitive” (as we like to put it) and she just loved this book and couldn’t stop raving about it after we finished it. I think that says alot about how “scary” it is.

As for appropriateness, every household has different views on this. I know some kids who were younger than mine when they watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy; yet, it will be a long time before I let my kids watch those movies because I feel that they are very dark and violent and have mature themes. Another controversial book/movie is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know some parents who brought their daughter (same age as mine) to see the movie. My daughter has not seen the movie nor read the books. My personal opinion on this is that every child is different and parents have to make those judgment calls on their behalf. I just have to make decisions for my kids, not other people’s kids.

My bottom line:

This book was so much fun to read aloud to my kids! There is a great plot line, magnificent character development, and the right balance between humour and tension to keep you completely captivated as a reader. This book is just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. With regards to age recommendations, I’ll suggest 9 years and older because it could be frightening for very sensitive children. Also, I think both boys and girls would really enjoy Jack Templar: Monster Hunter. I really need you all to read it because, let’s face it, the world really needs more monster hunters! ;-)

*** Jack Templar – Monster Hunter was provided to us free-of-charge by the author through the Jack Templar Blog Tour organized by Kathy from I am a Reader Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.***
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Reading Progress

01/05/2013 page 120
61.0% "We've been reading this book for 2 straight days! The kids keep begging me to read MORE!"
01/20/2013 page 197
100.0% "All three of us (me and kids) loved, loved, loved it! What fun!"

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