Heart of the Hunter or "A Lesbian Fear Street?! ... No... Not At All..."
Ahhh the Sagas. Can I just say that I am so glad that this is the last Saga I ever have to read? As someone who enjoys historical fiction, these are seriously killing me. FOR REAL. I’ve developed some sort of sniffle while reading this. I choose to think of it as an OMG-how-many-effing-sagas-did-R.L.-write cough. All in all, this book was kinda insane/great but I am DONE.
This one varies slightly from the formula because it’s told from the perspective of a boy, although his name IS Jamie. (Sidenote: For the first chapter I thought Jamie was a girl. And then I read about Jamie’s crush on Laura. And for the BRIEFIEST of moments, I thought R.L. had written a lesbian Fear Street. Then I came to my senses, since Fear Streets don’t even effing DRINK, they certainly don’t experiment with their sexuality. But how great would that have been!?) Heart of the Hunter though, is also about werewolves! Kinda! And Indians! (for our Canadian readers, let me just make it clear that Indian is apparently NOT an offensive word. Still. Aboriginals!) And pioneering! So really, I shouldn’t be complaining. At least it isn’t about Vampires (cough*L.K.*cough)
The cover depicts our hero’s second love interest, Whispering Wind. Which is funny, since she’s in like 6 chapters in the middle and then gets horrifically murdered. Maybe Fear Streets with icky boys on the cover don’t sell? P.S. I love her dress. And hair. I think I might have a crush on Whispering Wind…
The book starts with Jamie FIER and his parents on the road (in a caravan of covered wagons! I don’t know why that excites me…) to Kentucky in 1792. His mother desperately didn’t want to leave their home in … Eastern what-was-to-become-the-U.S. but Jamie’s father, John, made them, since they were starving. Jamie’s mother keeps saying they’re gonna die in Kentucky since the Fier’s are cursed! (So where does it matter that you live then?) On the road, Jamie voices-over his extreme lust for the beautiful Laura GOODE and how much he’s annoyed by her younger sister Amanda. Lucien Goode, their father, hates the Fier’s because they’re good at rationing, and therefore still have food and everyone else doesn’t. What’s the reasonable plan then? Well, Lucien wants to kill John and his family for the food, so John whips out his gun to protect his stuff… and predictably shoots his wife. Whoopsie!
So John and Jamie continue on the trail, sans mother/wife, while John slowly goes crazy. Eventually, their wagon breaks but no one will help them fix it or let them ride with them. The Fier men are abandoned. To add to their bad luck, John wanders into the woods that night and gets MURDERED by a wolf! (So… worse for John, still bad for Jamie). Not even eaten though, just cold-blooded murdered. Wolf ripped his throat out and left the delicious man-meat.
After Jamie discovers his poor, crazy father’s remnants, he’s promptly captured by some Native Americans. I give R.L. some props because the tribe, the Shawnee, actually did live in the area that is now Kentucky! I was almost expecting him to create a fictional tribe called the “Shawfear Streetnee”. Which would have been awesome. The warriors take him to see an elderly woman named “Whithering Woman”. Who hurriedly drinks his blood and proclaims him to be the “chosen one.” Wayyyy to give Aboriginals a bad name there, R.L. By “chosen one”, this means he’ll be the one that will find the buffalo herd, and save the tribe from starvation.
Except… he’s not really good at that. The next few chapters are about how Jamie gains acceptance into the tribe by competing in something called the Warrior’s Gauntlet. Where he needs to run through a group of them and avoid their tomahawks. Easy! He obviously passes and over the next few months becomes a member of their tribe. He also falls in love with Whispering Wind. But since she is all in love with the chief of their tribe (who wouldn’t be?) he doesn’t really stand a chance. Until the crazy old Whithering Woman offers him a solution.
She tells him that she has a way to make Whispering Wind fall madly in love with him. The price? HIS SOUL. He oddly agrees rather quickly… The solution also involves drinking blood (he wonders whose blood it is, but then decides it doesn’t matter. It ALWAYS matters whose blood it is!) and again, there are very few reservations. In a few moments he begins to transform…into a wolf! Whithering Woman tells him that now, as a wolf, he’ll be able to find the buffalo herd, and impressed Whispering Wind (seriously, that was the plan all along? Impress her with buffalo?) She also adds in the warning that he’ll only be a wolf on the full moon nights, but if his true love ever sees him in this form… he’ll be a wolf forever! Way to come through with the fine print after the deal is done there, Whispering Woman. Jerrrk.
Anyways, Jamie finds the buffalo, and thank GOD Whitering Woman’s plan worked, so Whispering Wind falls in love with him. They get married immediately (as you do) and live blissfully… until the next full moon. Where Whispering Wind follows him outside, sees his transformation, and goes to tell the tribe! Jamie is in such an animalistic rage (get it?) that he rips out her throat. Not soo funny. He doesn’t, however, stay a wolf. Whithering Woman laughs at him, saying that Whispering Wind wasn’t his true love, because there was magic involved (OBVS)!
Jamie pitches a fit and leaves the tribe. Over the next while, he lives off the land and slowly becomes more wolf-like after every full moon. Eventually he stumbles upon a familiar smell: Lucien Goode! He decides to take revenge for his parents, and for the shitty life he leads now (although I think its kinda his fault since he traded in his SOUL and all).
For a few months, he tortures Lucien by killing his animals and making sure his family starts to slowly starve. After Lucien posts a notice saying he’ll pay $500 in GOLD to anyone who can stop the wolf that’s been hunting on his property. Jamie goes to the Goode’s house, where Amanda remembers him (and still Luuuurves him) and Lucien and Laura don’t want him around. Jamie says he’ll kill the wolf for Lucien… but he wants one of his daughters for marriage instead of the gold.
So here’s Jamies plan. Make Amanda think he wants to marry her, because she has some school-girl crush on him. Kill some other wolf, tell Lucien it’s the wolf that stalking him, and then when he offers one of his daughters, Jamie will choose LAURA. Since Laura hates him, she will be miserable, and so will Amanda because she will be heartbroken. Then he’ll kill Lucien, and take all his money. And maybe kill Laura and Amanda, he really goes back and forth on that idea.
Jamie pretty much pulls this plan off! Kills wolf, marries Laura, and on their wedding night, kills Lucien. All good right? Except… when he investigates the house after murdering Lucien, he notices that Laura is DEAD too! She died after being poisoned by Amanda! Man, Amanda does not like lose hey? Amanda finds him, and confesses that she’ll always love him, even after what he did to her. Even though she killed her father. And she killed Laura. NUTTERS.
Jamie starts to panic since it’s the full moon (of COURSE it is) and he’s about to change into the wolf! If his TRUE love Amanda sees him, he’ll be a wolf forever! He charges out of the house… and into a cage. Apparently, Amanda knew all along that he was a werewolf since Whithering Woman used to be their housekeeper when she was little (random). Jamie changes into a wolf in front of Amanda, and knows that he is trapped like that forever. Amanda says that it may not be the way she imagined it, but at least they get to spend the rest of their lives together! Do you think she knows that wolves only live around 20 years?
And END OF SAGAS! Woot woot! Now that these are done, I’m really excited to start on the seniors and some of the other rando Fear Streets we’ve collected. Heart of the Hunters was pretty fun to read, to be honest, and who doesn’t love a good pioneering book? I give this book 35 wolf-murders out of 49. Not bad!