Kassa's Reviews > Wild Hunt

Wild Hunt by Willa Okati
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Aug 15, 2009

really liked it

If anyone is familiar with folklore and mythology, the basic story of the Wild Hunt led by Gods is recreated here in a fantasy setting. Okati takes her own spin on the legend in a creative and absorbing tale mingling love and magic. Although at times the prose tries too hard to be different and unique, once the action starts to pick up the writing also settles into an easier pattern and allows the reader to be swept along in an emotional and action filled fantasy. This is really a fairytale come to life with all it’s gritty violence, romance, fear, and creative cast. The underlying theme of hope and love amid casual cruelty and heartache make this an entertaining read, though the true brilliance is in the story itself and the fantastical creatures brought to life.

The premise of the book lies within the fairytale where the Huntmaster, a magical being whose concepts of kindness and cruelty are not always the same as the creatures he commands, leads the Hunt. Robbie is one such creature and pawn for the Huntmaster, once a happy pet but upon encountering Delaney, he wants more with the talented musician. Unfortunately for both men, the manipulating and controlling hand of the Huntmaster is not an easy noose to escape and the cast of characters from Tam to Hugh and Black Eyed Susan all combine to give an action filled story with numerous twists and turns ultimately resolving in a high price each must pay.

Each character is both more and less than they seem and each changes as the story progresses. The twists and turns of the plot combined with the rules of magic allow for bits and pieces of each character to be revealed over the course of the story so only at the end is their full personality developed and revealed. The author’s lovely and captivating prose works incredibly well with the complex story line and creates fascinating characters that change from one scene to the next, exposing a different perspective. The use of Robbie’s corset piercing on his back was phenomenal and breathtaking. The gorgeous visual combined with the magical meaning had this small detail coming to life within the pages. Just as Delaney’s clever handling of Robbie and the piercing brought a wonderful element to the relationship and story.

The writing did tend to have too many analogies and numerous references to dragonflies, almost too many. The beginning was slightly convoluted as the author set the scene and atmosphere but the writing and prose at the start was too dense and tried too hard. Once Robbie is introduced and the first Hunt begins, the author’s pacing and ease with writing picks up allowing the reader to become swept away with the incredibly vivid and absorbing world. The resolution and cost was somewhat predictable as the author does give enough clues within the pages, but cleverly and subtly turns the attention away from the clues once they’re presented so the ending could come as a surprise for some. The final resolution was incredibly well done and showed the meaning and importance due to the more complex ending and actual cost without a nice, easy wrap up.

There are so many elements to this book that deserve discussion but the journey the author takes you on is definitely one to be explored for yourself. The lyrical storytelling style of writing will draw you in immediately as will the vibrancy of the cast and the height of emotion. The story does have some small inconsistencies but these work well given the rules of magic and mercurial nature of the Huntmaster. For any readers looking for a creative and well-crafted spin on a known legend, I especially recommend this book. It’s visceral, violent, lovely, romantic, and pure fantasy. You won’t be disappointed.
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