Jack Templar: Monster Hunter
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.
Yeah, you read it right. I’m a monster hunter. Back before I actually became one, I would have thought that sounded totally awesome. And don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways it is. But most of the time, I’m either running for my life or hiding in the shadows, praying the monster chasing me doesn’t pick up my scent. And I’m almost always scared to death. In a few pages, I think you’ll see why.
But there are a few things I need to warn you about before I tell you my story.
First, this isn’t a cartoon. These are bloodthirsty creatures who will stop at nothing to kill. They are scary. Very scary. Second, the only way to stop them is to kill them first…and that gets gross and messy. Third, this is all real.
You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I can almost see you smirking as you read this. But this isn’t a joke. Monsters are real and the story I’m about to tell you really happened. If you’d rather walk through life believing that monsters are only found in books or on the movie screen, then you should shut this book right now and go do something else.
I give you these warnings because the story I’m about to tell you isn’t for everyone. Not everyone can handle it. The blood. The gore. The monsters.
This life was thrust onto me. I had no choice but to take up a sword and fight. But you can still walk away and pretend this dark world doesn’t exist. Or you can walk through the door that I’m about to open and find out the truth about the world around you.
But I warn you (and this is a big warning), if you read this book, if you learn about the monsters that roam among us and the hunters who fight them, if you decide to learn the truth, then you will become fair game for the monsters to chase.
Make sure you understand what I’m saying.
If you read this book, you will be part of this world and the monsters will come after you too. You will start to see things that no other humans can see. The shadows will move when you walk near them. The creatures of the night will seek you out, testing the doors and windows of your house, looking for a way in.
And, at some point, they will find you, just like they found me, and you will be forced to defend yourself.
So, think carefully before you turn the page, because once you do, there’s no turning back.
Once a monster hunter, always a monster hunter.
See you on the other side.
If you’re brave enough.
Okay, time for my book review:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jack Templar was a fun and fast read, a page turner the whole way. It started with a warning and the main character often talked to the audience in Percy Jackson style. The formula certainly works for the target audience, middle grade boys, and I’m sure some younger ones will love it too. I’m pretty sure young girls will like the book almost as much as boys because I once was one–young that is. I’m still female, thanks.
I think I’ve gone soft. What I liked best was the humor. I always love awkward and unpopular characters, fish-out-of-water experiences, and unlikely matches done well. Gunhus did all those well. The bully was too typical but Jack’s aunt was very cool. Eva was mysterious enough that I want to know her better, and T-Rex was genius. The pretty girl Jack longs for made another great diversion from the norm. I define normal as boring, by the way. Jack Templar was anything but normal, although the emphasis switched from humor to horror once Jack found out he was becoming a monster hunter for his fourteenth birthday.
The plot had plenty of twists. The turning points were all in place even though the story was too short to have a saggy middle. There was some intentional misdirection about a death, not exactly a spoiler in a book full of monsters. I expected someone else to die than the person hinted at, but not the person who did. I’m hard to trick, so score for Gunhus!
I want to give separate ratings, one for Percy Jackson readers and another for those who haven’t read Rick Riordan’s series. For my taste Jack Templar was a little too violent, but I can’t complain I wasn’t warned–a lot. The warnings were the only parts I thought should be cut back. They reminded me the author was using Riordan’s formula each time, losing points on originality. I would give Jack Templar a 4.0. As for the target audience, I think 4.0 for those who read Percy Jackson, recognized the similarities, and expected a longer book, and 4.5 for those who haven’t. It’s far too good not to read. Enjoy!
Author Jeff Gunhus
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Now for all the other giveaways. Please enter the Sunshine Syndicate tour and huge giveaway. Head on over to the Jack Templar: Monster Hunter Book Blast Giveaway open two more days (again, not the same as the tour giveaway). Today’s the last day for the Silver-White Book Blast giveaway offering a generous $100 prize. At A Thousand Wrongs blog you can read an interview of Paul R. Hewlett as well as enter to win an ebook copy of his children’s chapter book Lionel and the Golden Rule. You can also win a Kindle Fire, a $10 Amazon gift card or a great middle grade book by treating yourself and your kids with a special gift this Valentine’s Day! Love Middle Grade Actually is a sample of 14 exciting middle grade stories that you will love and Paul is proud to be a part of. Click here to download the book Love Middle Grade Actually.
Before you go, please tell me, are you a monster fan (or a fan of monsters)? If so, all types? Or do you pick and choose? If not, do you hate them? I’m curious. Thanks for visiting!