Huntress: Life After, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Death was only the beginning.
No one's afterlife is as depressing as Audrey's - at least that's what she believes after waking up dead without her memories and being promptly assigned to hunt demons for the rest of eternity. She's convinced there's been a cosmic mistake; after all, she'd rather discuss the color of her nails than break them on angelic weapons. It doesn't help that her trainer, Logan, is as infuriating as he is attractive.
When an ancient weapon of unparalleled power chooses Audrey as its wielder, attracting the attention of the ruler of Hell, Logan is the only one she can trust. With the Satan's eyes now fixed on Audrey, a battle for the safety of the living looms in the shadows.
Fans of The Mortal Instruments, Supernatural, and This Present Darkness won’t want to miss this epic story of unfailing love and adventure.
What others are saying:
"The romance is sweet, mysterious, frustrating, and perfect." (Jaymin Eve, USA Today best-selling author)
"Julie Hall is destined to be one of the great fiction writers of our time." (Rebecca Hagelin, best-selling author and columnist with The Washington Times)
"Huntress will have you holding your breath and falling in love." (Kelly Oram, best-selling author)
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 48 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||December 04, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #167,625 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#167 in Religious Fiction for Children
#241 in Teen & Young Adult Christian Fantasy
#14,664 in Teen & Young Adult Fantasy
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2017
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Top reviews from the United States
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Yes I am a Christian. I'm not trying to be a hypocrite. My honest personal reasoning for my decision is this:
Religion is very personal and should be treated with the utmost respect. Everyone has the right to worship as they choose without judgement or partiality. I don't like when writers create a story under the assumption that every Christian believes or worships (or should believe or worship) just as they do. I much prefer it when they follow C.S. Lewis's advice that your beliefs are the under current of the story, a basis of who you are that comes out in your writing style, not preachy with calls for repentance and other such nonsense--preaching should be left to the non-fiction genres where the readers are looking specifically for that.
If I read a Christian fantasy book (or any kind of fiction written by a Christian), I want to find the similarities and comparisons in the story and characters based on my own ideas of Christianity, but it will not be a story that could be offensive to someone who was not Christian, that to them it would just be a really great story about good versus evil, like The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. So as you can see, given my own personal preferences, it's not always safe for me to read something labeled Christian, because to me, it often feels like a ploy for the author to use creative license to be more on the preachy side than I'm comfortable with.
Huntress, does reference God and Satan, but it does not point to any specific religion or belief system, just the overall idea that there is a God and a Satan or Good and Evil.
I liked this book for a few key reasons.
Audrey, our heroine, has died and crossed over to the other side. Once there she learns she is meant to be a demon hunter for the rest of eternity. What I liked about Audrey's story: Because she can't remember her earth life, she has to re-discover who she is, and what she believes. There's no pressure for her to be a certain way, think a certain way, behave a certain way. In fact, freedom of choice seems to be a big theme in the book. I appreciated this approach. I also enjoyed Hall's depiction of what heaven is like and how people relate to one another there--its very much like earth, simple, beautiful, but far more advanced in some really fun ways (think instant wall color change just by your thoughts and preferences, and superb food that just magically appears in your room. And even cooler is the materializing armor that is stronger than Mithril that withstands demon claws:).
The idea for the need of demon hunters: On earth Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the race of men, with the help of his demonic minions. "Demons grow stronger by destroying the people here on Earth. They latch onto people and encourage them to do all sorts of things that ultimately hurt them in the end. The more lives the demons ruin, the greater they grow, but their hunger doesn't stop with the living. If the lives of the living are food to them, then we're (the demon hunters) a drug. Sometimes they even seek us out because of it...like an addict looking for its next fix. It makes some demons very unrpredictable and even more dangerous." God's solution? Send down members of the deceased with advanced training and skills to destroy the demons before they can destroy his children. Hunters, demon hunters. Armed with a flaming sword, our weak protagonist grows in power, strength, and skill in her destiny. A clean love story, good characterization, zero profanity, mixed in with some cool fighting made this a good read.
I laughed out loud at some of the authors explanations for things such as: What happens when a demon hunter who cannot be seen by humans bumps into one. "They trip." Ever wonder why sometimes you trip over thin air? Could be you just tripped over a demon hunter:).
And some of her thought provoking insights: "We're not supposed to be looking to the right or left to see how we measure up."
"Life, and even the afterlife, is a dance between being prepared and letting go. The wisdom is knowing how to prepare and when it's time to let go."
"I believe the plan for my life was greater than the one I lived out."
"God uses all situations for good in the end, but we have the freedom to royally screw up."
"Everyone falls. You have the opportunity to be built up even stronger than before..."
"It's not the kiss that does it, its's the covenant--the promise to one another."
"I created you with both a heart and a head. And the reason fro that was for you to use both. When you try to follow one without considering the other, you will make bad decisions..."
My only misgivings were these and they are probably just me and were minor enough that I couldn't put the book down and bought the second book right after I finished.
Audrey's sometimes cluelessness can make her seem more stupid than naive. The reader usually will figure things out before the character in books, but some things were just so obvious it just made her look like an idiot. For the most part her character growth was believable, but sometimes her flaws felt more contrived than natural.
There were moments of info-dumping that came uncomfortably close to preaching, but based on what I said above, it really is just my opinion. It might not seem that way for those who regularly read Christian fantasy. But it pulled me out of the story several times. I liked the underlying message she was trying to portray, but sometimes it wasn't so underlying. This increased in the second book to the point my review for Warfare goes down to four stars.
It was often hard to reconcile the "heavenly" ideas, teachings, and realm living, with the darker demon hunter side of the story. The "hunter" action was always short lived and could be slightly repetitive with the same things happening to Audrey in nearly every battle. I would have preferred seeing a little more of the hunting on earth, their protection in action--this does increase in book two, but still not enough for my liking.
It's definitely worth the read. I couldn't put it down, despite the things that bugged me just a bit. The editing is good, the story fleshed out, and they have beautiful covers--three things that can be hard to find in Indie published books.
Slow at times, and fast at others, the story offers quite a variety of visuals and emotions. As part of her training, she is involved in a few missions on Earth that have surprising twists. Overall, an excellent introduction to the environment and some delightful characters. I look forward to what follows.
Let's just say I was barely a third of the way into the book, and I had to order the next book in the series. It is hands-down incredible! I don't think another fictional book series has ever been this life-changing for me. The plot is completely different than anything I've ever read before. The characters are so relatable and the love story is irresistible! But what still has me reeling is the way Julie Hall writes about the after life and the characters' faith walk. This book was so timely for me - just read the book already! And do yourself a favor and just get the whole series at once, because I couldn't read them fast enough!
Top reviews from other countries
Audrey wakes up with no memory. She soon discovers that she is dead and that this is the afterlife. Without any explanation, or the usual orientation for souls, she is assigned to a military unit that assists angels in hunting demons on earth. Audrey finds this baffling as she feels more like the sort of girl who enjoys make-up and purple hair colour than swords. Fortunately, her trainer, Logan, is a hot mess of repressed emotions, so she is able to focus on him rather than on training. Her lack of talent and enthusiasm not withstanding, she soon finds herself being given a super-rare flaming angel sword and having a personal (and extremely looooong talk with God).
Audrey is a terrible soldier. She turns every order that she is given into an emotional debate, which is less worrying than you might think as she completely ignores them anyway. She is impulsive, surviving through sheer luck and multiple rescues. She whines constantly and spends more of the novel analysing her own feelings than, oh, say, learning how to fight with her nice new sword. In her favour, practically the first thing that Audrey tells us is that she doesn't think that she's going to be very good at this whole fighting thing. Unfortunately, that doesn't lessen the urge to give her a resounding slap.
I stopped reading the novel at around 80-90%. There was a very long scene where Audrey is talking to God, that just went on and on and on. I tried flipping to the end of it but by then the story was jumping all over the place and, try as I might, I couldn't even muster then energy to skim to the end.
There are parts, more so at the beginning, where the novel is gripping enough but I don't feel that I could recommend it as a good read.
[Edit: This book is set in a Christian afterlife and does have quite a few religious elements. I didn't mention them in my review because, even though I am an atheist, I didn't feel that they were what was problematic.]
Don't get me wrong - It has its good parts. There are demons and fights and girls kicking ass, in parts.
The rest is a struggle as the main character (who I failed to like) mopes over a guy and struggles with her relationship with God.
I have nothing against books that have religion as a prominent theme, but I felt like it held the storyline back instead of enhancing it.
Oh, and becoming soul mates by kissing a person is just a bit... childish you know? Not every book needs steamy romance but come on!
If you like books that are more about emotional discovery than fantasy then this book is probably for you.