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Hunter and Fox

(Shifted World #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  175 ratings  ·  47 reviews
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 h ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published June 2012 by Pyr (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  175 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019, own
Ballantine can do so much better. The worldbuilding in this might have been interesting had it not been so flimsy, but as is, it was just too thin to leave much of an impression. Settings, plot and characters were all too underdeveloped, while the writing is weighed down with more than enough Very Important Capitalized Nouns to drive one insane. Basically, I didn't care about any of this, can already barely remember half of it despite having literally finished it five minutes ago, and have no do ...more
She-Wolf Reads
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
**A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

Full disclosure: I don’t read a lot of traditional fantasy. Sure, I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the George RR Martin series, Song of Ice and Fire, but that’s about it. Everything else I read is more along the lines of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, steampunk, with a sprinkling of sci-fi and horror thrown in for good measure. Philippa Ballantine has been on my radar for a while now with her steampu
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
originally posted at

Philippa Ballantine is an author that is well known to me, I have read two of her solo books Geist and Specter in The Books of the Order series as well as the first two books in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences which she co-authored with her husband Tee Morris. These series were quite something different in terms of genre with the first fantasy and the second being a steampunk series, but they did have one thing
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, best-bitten
How did we end up here

When Pyr sent over the first two WIDDERSHINS novels this book was in the box with them. It sounded interesting so I kept it around. I obviously didn’t get around to reading it until now but I’m glad I did.

Okay, book. You've got 50 pages. Go!

The world begins immediately with the start of the first sentence in the opening chapter. It was actually a little discombobulating with all of the world-specific words but they were put into a good context and if I was a little thrown
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Talyn the Dark, one of the immortal Vaerli (aka Breaker of Oaths), hunts the enemies of Caisah of Conhaero, Master of Chaos. As his Hunter, she rides her nykur on the Road or the Void itself to fulfill the bounty on Manesto, Ahouri, and Portree alike, to return them dead or alive to the city of Vnae Rae (aka Perlious and Fair). At the same time Talyn works to undo the Harrowing (aka the Great Conflagration) and fulfill her people's oaths with the Kindred.

Oy vey.

When I joined my first writing g
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
.... I can only hope that this book is the start of a series that allows Ballantine to grow and develop her characters in more unique, far less cliché ways. At the end of the day Ballantine sells herself short by building an incredible world with a vibrant history and interesting cultures, but focuses more on the over-done tropes.

Read my full review here:
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Hmm, not really enjoyable. Could be so much better if there would be more would builing and an additional 100 pages or so. Feels really thin. Such a shame because I feel that Ballantine has created a very interesting world and people to tell a tale about. Have the next book as well, will read it but only because I want to finish this.
Rachel- Goodbye Borders
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015
Interesting concept with the landscapes constantly changing. Overall, it was interesting, but difficult to follow because there are 3 POV (Talyn, Byre, and Finn). I found that I was going back and re-reading a little.
Melissa Hayden
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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 p
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, fantasy
I've read or listened in podcast form to 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. How ...more
Amy A
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it

Originally posted at Vampire Book Club

Talyn the Dark is the Hunter. She was taken nearly 300 years ago by the Caisah, the man who destroyed her people, the Vaerli, in the Harrowing. She has now become his “hawk.” She is a strong fighter and never loses a bounty. For this, the Caisah sends her out for prey and when she succeeds he promises another piece to the puzzle that will help bring her people back to greatness.

Finnbar the Fox is a storyteller going from place to place telling different t
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Into a shifting world, Philipa Ballantine brings us a whole new series filled with people of many races being oppressed by a ruling Casiah to the point of genocide, and a group of characters struggling through their own past and attempting to change their future. Everyone is struggling to survive in this dangerous world, and Ballantine weaves the story brilliantly to readers. With a rich cast of characters that we experience the story through, and fantastical world building, Hunter and Fox will ...more
usagi ☆ミ
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ballentine has created a totally new world (well, a totally new universe) with new races/species of people all trying to survive a wicked despot's rule in "Hunter and Fox", a wonderful new high fantasy story. While I admit it took me a little while to settle into the universe of this first installment in the "Shifted World" series, it's still wonderfully rich and completely original with a very relatable human theme. I think a lot of high/epic fantasy fans are going to like this one - I know I d ...more
Jen (That's What I'm Talking About)
My Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it - recommend (B+)
Full Review:

Hunter and Fox is a true fantasy and with that comes a complex new world full of magic and inhabited by beings with an array of abilities. Ms. Ballantine has created an intricately detailed world, full of mysticism. She spent the first three or so chapters expertly laying the foundation for her world, detailing not only the conflicts and points of the plot, but giving the reader just enough of thi
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A Brave New World from Philippa Ballantine at FANGS, WANDS and FAIRY DUST 7-5-2012


by Philippa Ballantine (
E-Book and Hardcover 277 pp
June 2012 from PYR (
Cover Illustration: © Cynthia Sheppard

There's a whole lot of shaking going on in Conahaero as the world is shifting all the time. Fortunately some things stay the same: races, brutal tyrants, cruelty. No one species in this world is all good nor is one all evil. It
Lovey Dovey Books
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hunter and Fox is a seamless blend of fantasy and adventure that will draw many readers to the Shifted World series. Philippa Ballantine paints a world that is strange and mystical at every turn, setting the stage for what is sure to be an extreme journey for the people of Conhaero. Specifically, Talyn the Dark, her brother Byre, and Finnbarr the Fox who all work to bring back the power of the Vaerli.

The Vaerli were a proud people with seven gifts, given through a pact with the powerful and myst
Austine (NovelKnight)
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 remaini ...more
Amanda Makepeace
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Maybe it’s the Anthropologist in me, but 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. 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. Philippa Ballantine is easily a master world builder but it’s the richness of her char ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
'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 als ...more
Libby Lanser
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: High Fantasy
Recommended to Libby by: A friend
I believe a friend bought this book for me or we bought it together. I just recently picked it up to give it a try. I quit a little ways in. It does not feel like a book I would personally read. I was thrown into this entirely new world with stuff I cannot imagine and am not given enough detail to grasp. I am unsure if this is part of an already established world in other books or not. I do not get the Vaerli differences and that of their oppressor. The female lead is hard to relate to and irrit ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish, 2012
(originally reviewed on Starmetal Oak Reviews)

This is one of those times where I did not finish a book, not because it was bad, but because I just couldn’t get into it. Hunter and Fox is a pretty standard fantasy: set in a place with an evil overlord, magical beings and taverns all over the place. There is some good world building here with the different races and an event called the Harrowing which basically decimated one of them.

I think what made this book hard for me to get into is the chara
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was really loving this book and then about 60% of the way into it, something happened and it started to feel like a grind. I think ultimately, I was tired of Talyn being such a puppet. There's a point where things really turn against her and I thought then that she would wake up and see the truth but she just kept on her "gotta get my prey" war path. (view spoiler) ...more
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Looking for a good fantasy read? Well... I found one for you, or rather it found me.

This book is filled with a wonderful and interesting world from the imaginative mind of Philippa Ballantine. It is a book filled with lots of curious and magical creatures and people and it will keep you enthralled throughout. Oh yes, I really loved the descriptions of the characters, their past, their torments, abilities, and adventures. The beasts within also hold a great intrest in me as well. All with a perso
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I have read Philippa Ballintine’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and was eager to begin this series. The two novels are as different as night and day.

Hunter and Fox had all the elements in it to be a classic fantasy tome yet Ms. Ballantine could not get it right. Perhaps it was the varying numbers of storylines, characters or maybe she just tried to compress too much into a 340 page book.

A considerable amount of information is thrown at the reader. All sorts of information is given yet someho
Rika Kiomi
Aug 19, 2012 rated it liked it
An enjoyable book, complete with the lyrical wording and in-depth world one expects to find in a Ballantine book. There's some good interest in it, lots to explore both world- and story-wise... and I'd have given it four stars for all of the above, except that the book begins with a few questions (as it should) but ends with much of them unanswered, and many more added into the mix. It would make a decent first novel in a series, but I finished it feeling strangely disappointed and more confused ...more
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
The universe that this novel takes place in is a uniquely imaginative one; as vibrant as it is dangerous, it blends together many fantasy elements in a unique way, in a world that is far from the traditional medieval fantasy setting of castles and wizards that I'm more used to. At times, this world is brilliantly realized through the experiences of its characters; at other times, it's like trying to watch a video that won't buffer higher than 240p when it ought to be 1080p. Most of the character ...more
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Well first I want to say that this book is not 340 pages long...its only 277.

Now I want to say that I liked the idea of this book and the characters seemed like they would have been really likeable and easy to relate to if they were explored more in depth. Like in the beginning someone was being tortured but I didn't care cause I didn't know him or who he was....The only character I really like was Finnbarr and I can't figure out if that is just because he was called "The Fox" or because he was
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
A fantasy novel about hope, the burden of memory, finding out who you really are, embracing the gifts you have, the power of names, and the necessity of change. It's a story of journeys -- the characters seldom stay in one place and must travel to find the answers they need, with a continually shifting puzzle of near truths. The world-building and weight of history are too large for this relatively short novel, and it is hard to follow so many characters that experience such significant revelati ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
What happened to this author? I liked Geist and thought it was well written, with an interesting magic framework. But I couldn't even get through the sequel, nor was I enthralled by the Braun and Books novel that I tried (briefly).

This novel suffers from the same symptoms. Interesting magic ideas, but horribly awkward writing. I wanted to see more of this world, but couldn't take any more clumsy description of people's emotional state or adverbs used to describe how people talked. This felt lik
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
While Ms. Ballantine is a mistress of world building, the characters in this story captured my imagination and kept me engrossed from start to finish. In a world of chaos where the landscape can shift dramatically, Talyn has lost her soul in her quest to save her people. One of the few surviving Vaerli, she has become a hunter for the creature who destroyed her people. Fear and despised, she won't quit her quest. Finn the Fox has his own quest. He has been obsessed with Talyn for a long while. H ...more
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Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa is a writer and podcaster of fantasy fiction.
Immersed in books from an early age, she moved onto to become a librarian. She'd been dreaming of being a writer since a teenager, but in the last ten years she's devoted herself to it.
She's the author of the Books of the Order series from Ace Books. Geist, Spectyr, Wrayth (2012) and Harbinger (2013)

Other books in the series

Shifted World (2 books)
  • Kindred and Wings (Shifted World, #2)

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