I mentioned in my review of the previous book that the larger story of the series was moving a little slowly for my taste. I’m happy to say that I feel like that has changed with Rise of the Huntress.
This installment continues to keep the Spook’s entourage away from the county. The war that has been in the background of several of the books makes its way to the county and forces the Spook, Tom, and Alice to flee the county to the Isle of Mona, between Great Britain and Ireland. Once there, they discover an old adversary is building power in the area. Combine that threat with the locals, who aren’t happy about the influx of people, and the Spook’s small band is in a very bad situation.
While the previous few books have really developed Tom and Alice, especially through their histories and relationships, this Rise of the Huntress focuses more on John Gregory. What makes this development interesting is that it does so without him being the focus of the story. He isn’t present in many of the crucial scenes, and even when he is there, his contributions seem minimal. Instead, he is developed by Tom and Alice recognizing that their relationship with him is changing, due to their increase in skill and his decline in ability. It was a pretty fine line to walk, but it worked really well.
Most importantly to me, this was the first book where I felt like the book story really advanced the series story. I can’t really say why, though. I think it has to do with the fact that this book stays away from the county. It also is the first book that really shows that even “dark” creatures can do good. Then, there’s the fact that Tom starts to openly question the Spook’s teachings. hese are all small pieces, but in the scope of the larger series, they show that Tom is coming into his own strength and will have his own ideas about how to be a spook. It was good to see that kind of growth for the series.