Cover Image: Hunters of the Lost City

Hunters of the Lost City

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Hunters of the Lost City is a fun middle grade book that follows Octavia as she steps up to try and save those around her. 

I had a good time reading this one overall! I thought Octavia was a great main character to follow, and there was quite a bit of intense action sprinkled throughout. However, there were moments when I felt the plot dragging, and I began to get a little bit bored. Some of the plot connections were also confusing, but I think I understood everything in the end. Middle grade is a favorite of mine, and I love finding new books to read in that category. Hunters of the Lost City very much focused on family and relationships, and I appreciated seeing that.

CW for loss of loved ones, deaths, violence, blood, sorcery, disappearances.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Quirk Books for the ARC of Hunters of the Lost City
by Kali Wallace!
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Octavia only knows the walls of Vittoria, she is not allowed to venture beyond them after dark.  Since the deadly magical war and plague, the city has been tormented by machine monsters. Octavia is a curious and strong willed character. Many readers will relate to her wanting to move beyond her comfort areas and seek a larger world. Wallace does an excellent job on incorporating social issues in a way that children can relate to and understand. This book can be used to ignite conversations on race, different cultures, and immigration. While these subjects are infused to the plot, some of the back story is lost because so much is brought up. This could have been a series and the plot fleshed out more.
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Received an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hunters of the Lost City is a fun, intense, and at times spooky Middle Grade romp.  In the walled-off town of Vittoria, the only town left in the world after the Sorcerers' War, Octavia is reeling from her sister's death.  She was a Hunter, one of the few that leave the walls of the city to protect the city against the Ferox, dangerous creatures who attack at night.  Octavia hoped to follow her sister's footsteps and become a Hunter, but with her death, she is now confined to the town walls.  However, after sneaking outside the walls, she finds a stranger girl, something that should be impossible...

Overall this book was a great time.  It starts a little slow, but quickly picks up when the intrigue starts.  While the plot has predictable parts, there are fun twists thrown in which keeps it interesting.  The Ferox are designed to have a great warning system for the reader, something eerie that builds tension whenever they appear on the page.  It definitely will get your adrenaline started.  There is also a sweet sapphic romance that builds slowly throughout the book.  There is only hand-holding through the story and the parents are supportive of the relationship.  No homophobia to be seen.

The more I think on this book, the more I realize I may have a favorite trope.  Growing up I loved Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  My first horror film was The Village.  The "girl has to leave secluded city and brave unknown world in order to save it" trope is something I love.  

I would recommend this book for any upper elementary or middle school classroom.
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I just devoured this book in less thn 24 hours! I'll be honest, I struggle sometimes with middle grade fantasy because I expect it to be perfection, and it so rarely is. Kali WAllace has delivered in spades with this one, however.

I love that this story greys the line between good and evil, keeping readers on their toes as to who is good, who is bad, who you should root for, etc. I love that this created world still feels accessable to younger readers, and it's easy to put yourself in Octavia's place, or Sima's, or any one of the myriad other characters these girls meet.

I can't wait to add this novel to my classroom shelves this fall!
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DNF at 30%

I have to admit to myself that I will never pick this book back up again. I have read the first 30% a while ago now, and never felt compelled to dive back into this world.
I just could not get invested in the characters and the world.
It might get better later on, but for now, it is a DNF for me.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC of this book. Hunters of the Lost City was a very cute, surprisingly gripping middle grade read. The main character is a very well-written confident, determined girl who learns a lot of lessons throughout the story. And, more importantly, she is open to learning those lessons. Wallace does a great job of creating a character who has good intentions, but is also receptive to learning new information and using that to reform her view of the world. It may be subtle to young readers, but is an important theme in the book. Given everything happening in the world, I really enjoyed that this book showed the importance of being open-minded, not rushing to judgment of others, and being open to accepting new people/cultures/truths. Highly recommend for middle grade readers!
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The lies and rumors that manipulated an entire town for 50 years really does show what such things can do. Conspiracy theories, anyone? The way the power of the sorcerers corrupted two women to do horrible things – one to control, one to end the war no matter the cost. Octavia and Sima were believable characters and their crushes on each other was just flavoring that worked well in the story. Children bringing down the two sorcerers because they were able to convince adults what was happening gave them agency, and the other characters as well. Putting this in a fantasy setting did not detract from the fear, the lies, and the fake news angles.
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this just didn't work for me. I think I had different expectations, but the writing wasn't to my personal tastes as a reader! I think it read a lot more as a YA than a middle grade, I couldn't picture Octavia as a 12 year old at all. The violence was a bit more than I expected and I think the writing was a bit heavy and dense for a middle grade novel, I don't see it being something that many children around that age would enjoy reading.
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From start to finish this was an absolute page turner! 

Octavia was such a headstrong and determined main character that you couldn’t help but to admire throughout the story as she unravelled secrets and lies while seeking to find out the truth regarding Vittoria and its isolation.

I loved watching Octavia and Sima’s friendship develop throughout this story, especially in the face of distrust and fear coming from all angles. The writing itself really pushed this uneasy atmosphere, and I found myself questioning everyone’s motives, which is exactly what I wanted it to do.

At times it was a little confusing to follow, but all in all this was a really great adventure filled with twists and turns throughout.

(Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for proving me with an e-arc of this book in return for an honest review).
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My Rating: 4/5


Thank you Quirk Books and NetGalley for the free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This story has many twists at different junctions, which would have been off-putting if not for the execution and the timing, which made it a well-written middle-grade fantasy.

This was a great adventure to get lost in. The story kept throwing me off with the twists. At one point, I was so sure that something I expected was going to happen, only to be proven wrong by the plot twists, which somehow only kept strengthening the story as it came along.

The plot completely took me by surprise with how morally-grey the characters were. Things about the war weren’t sugar-coated and were honestly portrayed in the novel.
For a middle-grade fantasy, this does have a great lesson about power, selfishness, and wars.
If you want to read something short with a good plot, I'd highly suggest reading this book.
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I absolutely loved this book! It was so gripping and fast paced, i could not put it down! i will definitely be recommending this to some of my younger relatives
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This very exciting middle grade story is about Octavia, who lives in a walled community called Vittoria.  The walls protect it from evil magical creatures that only attack after dark.  Octavia's family has been marred by the evil Ferox, her mother, a Hunter,  was badly injured and hasn't fully recovered and her older sister, Hana was killed.  Octavia also wants to be a hunter but her parents want her to be safer and want her to become a magical healer.  Octavia secretly goes out to hunt and pushes her abilities a bit too far and is rescued by someone unexpected-a girl about the same age as she is from another community.  Octavia has been told her whole life that Vittoria is the only community of humans that survived the war, so it's pretty surprising to find out that isn't exactly true.  As it turns out, there are a number of things that the people of Vittoria have been told that aren't exactly true.  This is a fun story to read with interesting characters and plot lines that can have multiple avenues for discussion.
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HUNTERS OF THE LOST CITY is a middle grade fantasy filled with fascinating worldbuilding, creepy monsters, and surprising twists and turns. From the first chapter it was easy to form a bond with our main character, Octavia, and become fully immersed in her adventures. Octavia’s character feels incredibly genuine from her bond with friends and family to her reactions to learning truths that have her questioning everything she knows. The worldbuilding is truly top notch in this story and I was blown away at the depth and details included by Wallace. The flipside of that is that the pacing was a bit slower than what I was expecting due to the level of detail included. I think some of this could have been shortened to make the flow of the story more captivating. Overall, this is a great fantasy story featuring a strong female character that will certainly keep readers guessing about what is to come next.
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This book may feel familiar to readers who have encountered other middle grade and YA adventures set in a world where survivors from a great war are trying to establish safe places to exist. Some of those stories deal with toxic areas poisoned by chemicals, vast wastelands blasted by magic, zombies or other monsters (either purposely created or mutated after exposure to weapons used in the battles), and various other hazards. There may be groups still hanging onto old conflicts and refusing to let the past die, or even pockets of people who don't know that the war ended. 

The story of the townspeople of Vittoria has some of those tropes. There are the rules that keep everyone within the walls during the hours between the sunset and sunrise bells. The Council keeps everyone aware of how lucky they are to have survived and to have the safety of the walls and the rules. There are the monstrous Ferox outside the walls to prevent anyone from travelling beyond sight of the town. 

The monsters seem a bit like golems - constructs powered by magic and assembled from various materials. Different people work with magic in different ways; some use water from the river Nyx, others bind magic into weapons to destroy the Ferox, others use it to heal. It adds a layer of complexity to the world-building which also makes the internal logic stronger; different groups would have different approaches and priorities. As a former Latin major I was also caught by the familiarity of many of the names in the book - Octavia, Augusta, Flavia, Agrippina, Ursa, Ira... 

The characters are interesting and conflicted. Octavia and Sima are especially brave and sympathetic. Octavia lives in Vittoria and is dealing with the loss of her sister to the Ferox. Sima is part of a caravan attacked while it is travelling past the town. Together these two girls must challenge what the Council decrees, what their parents expect, and what they fear the most. Their struggle brings up many questions. How much of the history we are taught is objectively true and how much is what our elders want to believe (or want us to believe)? Should we let fear set limits on what we accomplish in life? Is it wrong to be kind and trust others?

Highly recommended for middle grade fantasy adventure fans. And there is still plenty of this world that could offer other stories to come, just saying.
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50 years after the end of the Great Wizard War, the only people left living are the people in Vittoria or are they? 
I love Octavia, she is a straight shooter, who knows what she wants from life, isn't afraid to reach for her dreams,  and she is open to new possibilities. The story was entertaining and kept me engaged throughout. 


**Possible spoiler alert! If you know think of this comparison before you read it you might know what to expect. It reminded me of The Village by M. Night Shyamalan.**
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This story has it all. The world-building is fantastic - I adore new magic systems. Everything works well, and I loved the long descriptions describing nearly every detail. This for sure reads like a book, one of a long series. There are a lot of setups involved- but the reader's patience is paid off in that final battle.
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Thank you NetGalley, for and advanced ereader copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

When i saw the cover of this book, i was really excited. I love middle-grade so much, it's one of my favourite genres. But the only thing that showed me this was a middle-grade is the main character's age. I found it too violent for a MG, i did not enjoyed as much as i thought. The premise was really interesting, but that's all. I did not really cared for the characters, the plot did not come as shocking or unexpected.

The pacing was too slow, i honestly had to skip some descriptions because i felt that are too many and i got bored. I found the ending really hurried and i did not like the "final battle".
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Hunters of the Lost City by Kali Wallace is post-apocalyptic fantasy for middle grade readers. The town of Vittoria has stood fifty years behind tightly guarded walls, keeping magically created monsters at bay, the residents unable to go more than a couple of miles outside and only on daytime. They know they are the last people in the world, after a magical plague unleashed by a sorcerer killed everyone else.

Octavia is a twelve-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a hunter of the monsters like her mother and her recently died eldest sister. But her parents have different ideas and apprentice her to learn magic instead. But she’s a headstrong, wilful girl, and she ventures outside the wall anyway. There, against everything she knows to be true, she meets a girl who isn’t from her town. Sima tells her the world is still out there.

But instead of haling this news as a miracle like Octavia expects, the town leader denies everything and locks her new friend up. It’s up to Octavia to save Sima and find the truth about the world.

This was a good book with a solid plot about fear and how it cripples you, and people who cling to power no matter the cost to others. I’m not entirely sure though, that it was a good MG book.

Octavia, despite being twelve, behaved like a much older kid, with strength and skills to match, and ability to figure out complex issues that adults somehow had missed. The story gave her responsibilities beyond her age, and then handed the crucial parts for grownups to solve, sidelining her. The chapters were too long for younger readers and slowed the pace, and I was annoyed with the stereotypical representation of Sima and her culture.

Nonetheless, as long as I imagined Octavia as a sixteen-year-old, I was able to enjoy the story. The ending was conclusive, so this was likely a stand-alone, but it might be interesting to read Octavia explore the world.
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Hunters of the Lost City is a superbly written middle grade chapter fantasy by Kali Wallace. Released 26th April 2022 by Quirk Books, it's 304 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats.

The writing is immersive and descriptive. Although it's essentially a coming of age quest fantasy, there are a lot of deeper currents: found family, loyalty, choosing a life path, expectations, loss, and xenophobia which will resonate with middle grade readers. The storytelling isn't derivative at all, but the story will likely appeal to fans of Holly Black and Catherynne M. Valente.

This is not a shy and fluffy tale. Danger, death, and scary monsters lurk. The writing is intentionally direct and might be a trifle overwrought for adult readers in places.

Four stars. This would be a good choice for public library acquisition. It might be a bit scary and too easy to challenge, given the current political climate for banning books in the USA, for inclusion in school library collections. Definitely one for the fans of middle grade fantasy, and this one has a refreshingly adept and courageous/stubborn protagonist.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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For the last 50 years the people of Vittoria have believed they were the only people left in the world, sole survivors of a magical war and plague. Twelve year old Octavia has never questioned her town's history, but when she meets a new girl whilst exploring outside of the city walls, her entire world view is thrown into question. Perhaps Vittoria isn't the only surviving town after all, but why would the elders lie about such a thing?

I love a good middle grade fantasy read, and this one definitely caught my attention. It ticks all the boxes - magic, beasts, danger and a determined and wilful child as lead character.

Octavia is a great lead. She is definitely determined, and has a clear idea of who she wants to be, and of what is right and wrong. Like many characters in this genre she learns quickly that she shouldn't always trust in adults to do the right thing. I liked that Octavia was precocious and strong willed, and that all of her actions had others at their heart. She is supported by a wide ranging cast of characters, of whom Master Flavia was probably my favourite. I always appreciate the characters who help our leads to stand up for what they feel is right.

The plot of the book was very well done. We are introduced to life in Vittoria and the rules of the city immediately, and get a feel for the world. It doesn't take long for the action to start, and Octavia to be stranded outside of the walls. I thought the plot moved along at a nice pace. There is enough action dotted through to keep you on the edge of your seat, but the underlying storyline is what really takes focus. I enjoyed reading of Octavia's struggle to adjust her world view in the face of new information, and her willingness to try and learn more about this new world.

I thought the world this story is written in was fascinating, and would love to learn more about it. Although I think Kali Wallace has done a fantastic job in this book, I would say that she has left herself plenty of room to write more stories in this world if she chooses to.

Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk Books for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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