After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.
Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack’s fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it’s great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend “T-Rex” from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he’s the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he’s destined to be in the family business. Second, that there’s a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits…until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.
As if that weren’t enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the “One?” Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.
Well, do you even need my review after all those awards? Like it or not, here it is:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jack Templar the first time around was very exciting and creative except for one thing–the warnings ala Percy Jackson. This time the only warning came at the beginning, and after that, non-stop action, more creativity, great characterization, danger and monsters, and did I say non-stop action? With the skilful descriptions, I visualized almost every scene like a movie. Let’s just say if this book can’t hold a reluctant reader’s attention, not even Percy Jackson can.
What’s not to love? At first I thought Jack’s rival was too predictable. But then Gunhus used that expectation in a very unexpected way, giving us a peek into his motivations that turned the rivalry into an opportunity for understanding and maybe companionship. All through the book, I enjoyed the way Jack learned to seek the good in others, even monsters. I’m not saying whether it always worked. That’s for you to find out. So to answer my question, there’s nothing you won’t love once you read how it turns out. Well, except for a few mistakes and the ending. I wanted more.
I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. If you check my other reviews, you’ll see very few this high. It’s hard for a middle grade book to appeal to adults. Gunhus did it.
Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.
So, before you go, tell me if you ever get as caught up in a kid’s book as I did with Jack Templar. Then I hope you read the books yourself.