When a monster brutally kills her parents, Ara is saved by two beast hunters.
Welcome to one of the March 24th stops on the blog tour for The Beast Hunters by Christer Lende with Audiobookworm Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author interviews, and audio excerpts!
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About the Book
The Beast Hunters
The Beast Hunter of Ashbourn Book One
by Christer Lende
Published 3 November 2021
Page Count: 219
Published 7 February 2022
Length: 5 hours and 21 minutes
Narrator: Jonathan Johns
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
When a monster brutally kills her parents, Ara is saved by two beast hunters. Becoming their apprentice, she discovers serums, secret bestiary knowledge, and remarkable abilities – all to save unsuspecting souls from the same fate her parents suffered. But, terrifying creatures lurk everywhere and Ara must master the art of beast hunting quickly if she is to uncover the elusive beast plaguing the village of Cornstead.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
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I was granted complimentary audiobook access to The Beast Hunters by Christer Lende via the Authors Direct platform as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Audiobookworm Promotions. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
The Beast Hunters is a quick read featuring a teenaged main character in a fantasy world full of very real monsters of all shapes and sizes. Ara’s parents are gruesomely slaughtered by a monster that invaded their house, but Ara herself is saved by the band of beast hunters who slay this creature before it kills her as well, and she tags along with the crew. Learning everything she can about monsters and how to kill them, Ara forms a found-family sort of bond with this unlikely gang of outcasts and builds a brighter future for herself in the fallout of tragedy.
Overall this is a fun read with a lot of unique monsters and great one liners. I loved all of the key characters, but it took a while to warm up to them. Everyone felt quite flat at first, and I really can’t pinpoint when they elvoved into well-rounded characters, but at some point in the second half I realized that I suddenly had a connection to them.
I’ve noticed that a couple of other reviewers complained that the dialogue is too modern for the setting, but this is high fantasy, so anything goes. Most high fantasy worlds are built on the blueprint of medieval Europe, but that doesn’t mean the people of this world are at a medieval ages point in their own timeline. Plus, it’s very much a YA title. I think the modern dialogue can be forgiven!
I was struck by how gruesome this book can get at points, though. We open with quite a bit of body horror as a beast kills Ara’s family. We get hints that her sister died in an equally horrible way and later on Ara has a very graphic vision of that memory. Besides these scenes, the book she’s reading to get caught up on all the beast hunter required knowledge spares no details in terms of how all of these creatures kill. On one hand, the amount of world-building information crammed into this story and conveniently dolled out by way of Ara’s little textbook is fascinating and the delivery is clever. On the other hand, the gory details really didn’t seem to fit the tone of the book overall.
I reviewed an audiobook copy, so I must also comment on the narration. The audiobook narrator is Jonathan Johns, a new narrator to me but an accomplished one according to Audible. Overall the narrative performance was good. It was easy to listen to and keep characters straight. This certainly wasn’t my favourite audiobook performance, though. Some passages felt quite dry and the different voices performed for some characters were annoying and distracting. (Ara frequently sounded like an out of breath old man.) I think it would have been better if every character had the narrator’s natural speaking voice.
About the Author
Christer Lende began writing in a library, which sounds fitting, only he was supposed to be there working on his engineering degree. He is a professional screenwriter, working with the Norwegian movie producer behind “One Love”, “Who Killed Birgitte” and “All about my Father” Bjørn Eivind Aarskog, together they are eveloping the manuscript for a Norwegian thriller. Bjørn hired Christer after reading The Beast Hunters, trusting Christer could bring his vision to life.
Christer lives in what Norwegians call a city, but people from actual cities would call a town. Of proud Viking blood, he honours his ancestors by
heroically sitting in front of a computer writing Fantasy and Science Fiction books. He believes in writing a little bit every day, through weekends, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, even his own birthday. When he’s not writing, he takes care of his two dogs and tries to broker peace with his girlfriend. He’s often found at a gym, trying to compensate for his height issues, or lazily playing video games.
Christer did get that master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, despite procrastinating by writing fiction in the library, and works for a large IT firm, but writing and storytelling are his passions.
About the Narrator
Jonathan is a Cornish audio book narrator based in sunny Cornwall. He has a talent for character work and descriptive narration which draws in the listener and envelopes them into the story. He is an avid gamer and family man. He is never too far from something sweet!
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