Reviewed by Vicky Garlick
The Wild Hunt is an incredibly unique story about Thomas Dearlove, a teenage boy who goes to stay with his strange and somewhat backwards seeming Uncle Cornelius for the summer holiday. Tom finds his Uncle’s house and those living there very strange, from the way the house is found to the housekeeper, Missus Dobbs. On finding the house lacks many modern appliances, Tom thinks he’s in for a long and dull summer, but then he stumbles upon a secret; that his Uncle is one half of a detective duo that specialise in the strange and paranormal. Uncle Cornelius’ partner, The Hound, is equally strange and mystifying and there’s more to him than meets the eye.
The main antagonist’s of the book are the mythical Spring Heeled Jack, a fiendish Victorian bogeyman with an apparent quest for a long-lost Elven crown and the Society of the Wild Hunt, an organisation that allows paying customers to hunt and kill, ‘monsters’. Tom finds his summer suddenly far more interesting and entertaining as he learns the basics of his Uncle’s detective agency and helps to uncover the mysteries terrorising Brighton.
The writing style was a quite unusual and at times it seemed a little overcomplicated, especially with regards to some of the language Tom uses. However, the plot is full of intrigue and mystery and allows the reader to look past the unusual style and focus on the story. The characters are well written and show a lot of depth and complex personalities and characteristics, which adds to the overall feel of the book. The story moves at a brisk pace and incorporates a lot of local knowledge and history. Tom meets a number of, ‘mythical’ creatures on his summer adventure and finds himself being drawn deeper and deeper into the world of the paranormal, which in turn draws the reader in.
The Wild Hunt takes two well known genres – fantasy and mystery/detective – and merges them into something completely unique and interesting. The mystery element remains throughout the story with some unexpected twists and turns. The book comes to a good climax and ties up a lot of loose ends but it’s clear there’s something larger going on, encouraging the reader to continue the series. There are a number of questions raised throughout the book, some of which are answered but a number remain unanswered, hopefully to be solved in the following book.