Author: Jeff Gunhus
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
Number of pages: 196
Recommended age: 9+
To purchase: Visit Our Bookstore
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary (from Back Cover): 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 descendant 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.
1. What is the story about? This story is about a boy named Jack Templar who, when he turns 14, turns into a Monster Hunter. Then a bunch of changes start happening in his life. He has to kill all the monsters especially the vampire named Ren Lucray.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I wish the cover showed more people other than Jack so I could see what they look like. When I first saw the cover, it looked like Jack was a man, but after I read the story and looked again, I could see that he was a boy.
3. Who is the main character(s)? What did you think of him? The main character is Jack Templar who is 13 at the start of the book. He was ok.
4. Have you experienced anything in your life like what happens in this book? No, but I might someday…when I’m 14!
5. What is your favorite part of the story? My favorite part of the story was a bit of a surprise so I can’t really tell you but it’s about the girl that he likes and it happens near the end. I liked the parts where they described the monsters and how there were lots of different kinds of monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. I liked the Warnings at the start of the book and me and my brother even followed them by locking the doors and bolting the windows. That was cool!
6. What is your least favorite part of the story? It was sad how some people in the book died in a not nice way when you didn’t expect them to die. It was sad because they were nice people and they sacrificed themselves.
7. How did the story make you feel? Sometimes I was scared at the monstery parts and the last part (the surprising part that I talked about at the start of this review) and there were parts that made me sad like when the people died.
8. What lessons did you learn from this story? I learned that even when you’re scared you should still be brave – but then you might die. In this book, it also teaches you that dying is ok.
9. Who do you think would like this book? I really, really loved this book and would recommend it to girls and boys about 8 years and older because it has scary stuff and it might be too hard for younger kids to read themselves. I might also recommend it to someone who wants to be a monster hunter (because of the warnings, you might actually need to be one!) Hmmm…I think I actually saw a vampire after I read the book.
Daughter Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: Any book that begins with a warning to young readers about the “consequences” of reading this book spoken by the title character himself will certainly get my attention. The book’s opening lines are as follows:
“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.”
[For more of the Warning, please see our last post on Jack Templar].
So, it’s one thing to get my attention (check), it’s a far different thing to keep it (check). The story contained within the pages of Jack Templar: Monster Hunter will grip you by the neck from the get-go, will keep your eyes glued to the page (except for when you think you see a shadow in the next room), and will leave you begging the author to “hurry up already” for the second book in the series. In short, Jack Templar: Monster Hunter is a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat adventure that will leave you wondering if there’s a monster hiding within the fleshy confines of your neighbor, postman, or your child’s principal perhaps?
We meet the title character, Jack “Smith” on the day before his fourteenth birthday when he is noticing strange changes to his body (i.e., he’s faster, he’s stronger, he can jump higher, and so on…). Little does he know that his world is about to be turned upside-down as he is preparing to take part in an epic battle of good versus evil. Although in this case, the “evil” consists of vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other monsters. Who knew monsters existed? No, really…monsters exist.
This is what author Jeff Gunhus does so well – the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred within the first pages of the book when the narrator desperately tries to warn his audience that monsters are, in fact, real. You are given plenty of warning to stop reading, because if you read the book, you will become a monster hunter too. How well does Gunhus accomplish this? Let me put it this way: we were advised by Jack himself in an intermission that should we continue to read, we should “put the book down and check to make sure all the doors and windows are locked.” My children insisted on going through all three floors of our house to ensure that the windows and doors were safely locked. I’m not joking…
The story itself is completely captivating and contains so many plot twists that you are kept guessing what will happen next. No one is who they seem to be, there are many turns in the plot that are completely unexpected, and you really cannot guess how it will end. We generally only read together snuggled up on the couch before bedtime, but with this book, my kids begged me to keep reading it every spare moment we had. No laments of “we’re bored” (to which I typically respond “I don’t have a problem with that.”)
Is this book scary? Hmmm….well, the narrator warns us that the content is filled with bloody scenes of battle, death, violence, and well, monsters. Yes, that’s all true. When my kids gleefully shared with their Dad what we were reading, let’s just say he was taken aback and I may have received “a look”. That being said, there is humour interspersed within the more frightening scenes which really helps to relieve the tension in the story. What I can say is that my son (6) is fearless and pretty much nothing scares him. My daughter is more “sensitive” (as we like to put it) and she just loved this book and couldn’t stop raving about it after we finished it. I think that says alot about how “scary” it is.
As for appropriateness, every household has different views on this. I know some kids who were younger than mine when they watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy; yet, it will be a long time before I let my kids watch those movies because I feel that they are very dark and violent and have mature themes. Another controversial book/movie is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know some parents who brought their daughter (same age as mine) to see the movie. My daughter has not seen the movie nor read the books. My personal opinion on this is that every child is different and parents have to make those judgment calls on their behalf. I just have to make decisions for my kids, not other people’s kids.
My bottom line: This book was so much fun to read aloud to my kids! There is a great plot line, magnificent character development, and the right balance between humour and tension to keep you completely captivated as a reader. This book is just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. With regards to age recommendations, I’ll suggest 9 years and older because it could be frightening for very sensitive children. Also, I think both boys and girls would really enjoy Jack Templar: Monster Hunter. I really need you all to read it because, let’s face it, the world really needs more monster hunters! 😉
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★★
*** Jack Templar – Monster Hunter was provided to us free-of-charge by the author through the Jack Templar Blog Tour organized by Kathy from I am a Reader Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.***
About The Author:
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.
** Don’t forget to enter the Jack Templar Monster Hunter Book Blast and Giveaway. This is a different giveaway than the one below, so be sure to enter both. Also, please note that the Book Blast Giveaway closes Friday, February 15th at 11:59 pm EST. Details can be found here: Jack Templar Book Blast and Giveaway. **
*** Jack Templar Blog Tour Giveaway ***
Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash + Swag
Ends: February 18, 11:59 pm, 2013
Open to: Anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash.
Terms and Conditions: Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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