Spirit Hunter - Katy Moran
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 7th June 2010
Other Titles by this Author: Bloodline, Bloodline Rising
Two empires are at war.
This time, the Empress of China is sure she will destroy the Horse Tribes for ever.
She sends a deadly weapon across the desert with her army: Swiftarrow, her Shaolin spy. But Swiftarrow has more than one mission to complete. He must also find a new recruit for the empress, a young barbarian to train as Shaolin: swift as a shadow, more silent than death.
Out on the Steppe, a young Horse Tribe shaman dreams of a great battle and the slaughter of her people. She knows that war is coming. She must stop the bloodshed. But how?
Spirit Hunter is the story of a girl being crushed by grief and a boy overwhelmed with regret at causing it.
Both of the main characters of Spirit Hunter, Asena and Swiftarrow, are in very difficult situations and states of mind. And through split narration, Katy Moran captures the pitch of their emotions perfectly and the nature of their intertwined lives. It is also told in the very rare present tense, making it feel as if you were right in the heart of the action with Asena and Swiftarrow.
The beliefs and customs of an ancient Chinese civilisation that are depicted in Spirit Hunter are fascinating. I really love the idea of everybody having spirit horses and a few - the shaman - that can see them and be able to tell what kind of person you are. I think it’s extremely cool. There’s also the wall-dwellers (people who live in the city of T’ang) with the Shaolin, their all-powerful queen and scores of courtesans. It really is another world.
I have to admit that Spirit Hunter did let me down in one respect: the love story. I was expecting a fiery, passionate, forbidden love, but in actuality, they were rarely together. When Asena and Swiftarrow were together the negative emotions were so strong that their declarations of undying love at the end seemed a little out of the blue and I didn’t quite believe it.
Spirit Hunter is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that will strongly appeal to fans of stories set far back in history.
For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge