Hunt (Freya Snow: Book One) by L.C. Mawson
Freya Snow, the unknowing child of magical beings, has grown up in foster homes her whole life. Moving once again in her teens, her discomfort at a new situation grows as her powers begin to emerge and she discovers that the social worker who has organized her new home is actually her magical guardian and mentor.
Freya has only one friend, an older girl at her last foster home, Alice,who is high-functioning autistic and whose disinterest in most social norms and trends Freya shares. Unsurprisingly for a child who has moved multiple times and perhaps borders on the ASD spectrum herself, Freya finds it difficult to make other friends. But at her new school she is approached by the somewhat odd Damon, who is not English and is unfamiliar with many of the cultural references of the school and society. The two become allies and then friends as Freya’s world becomes much more complex, confusing, and dangerous.
The basic premises of Hunt will be familiar to readers of young adult fantasy: the magical child from another world whose powers begin to develop in their teens, bringing them to the attention of the powers of evil and good from their own realm. But for this premise to be convincing, the magical world must be internally coherent, fully understood by the writer, and that internal coherence conveyed to the reader. In the case of Hunt, this coherence is missing. While introducing such a magical world in small hints and explanations, to build interest and plot, is a valid device, in this case it leads more to confusion than epiphany. Whether or not this stems from a lack of understanding of her own magical world by the author, or a lack of telling the story in a way that explains that magical world, is not clear.
Hunt would have benefited, in my opinion, from being a longer book, told from two points of view, the second being from the magical realm, which would have given the author an opportunity to more fully flesh out the structure and conflicts of that world. As part of a planned series, these may be revealed in later books, creating from a promising but flawed first volume a substantial and fully realized universe.
My personal rating is two-and-a-half stars for this story from a young writer who is learning her trade. I’ll be interested to see how Lucy Mawson develops as a writer over the next few years; I think she’s worth watching.
The author provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are completely my own.