Jack Templar Monster Hunter: The Templar Chronicles: Book One (Review)

Jack Templar Monster Hunter: a book you should read

Science fiction and fantasy books have been immensely popular among readers of all ages, especially since J. R. R. Tolkien wrote his Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy and C. S. Lewis his Chronicles of Narnia heptalogy during the middle of the twentieth century, and such recent works as the Harry Potter series have continued this tradition. One of the best modern fantasy books is Jack Templar Monster Hunter, by Jeff Gunhus, the first of a series called the Templar Chronicles, of which three subsequent books have been published already.

Like Harry Potter, Jack Templar, who lives in the town of Sunnyvale, is an orphan who has no memory of his birth parents and has been raised by his aunt, who has given him little information about their deaths. Things are quite ordinary for him until the day before his tenth birthday, when he turns into a hero, saving his friend from bullies and even drawing the attention of the girl on whom he has a crush.

Subsequently, however, he receives a visit from a mysterious girl who tells him that he comes from a long line of monster hunters, a business in which he now finds himself. Eva — that is the girl’s name — also tells Jack that, due to a truce between the human and monster races, children are off limits until they turn fourteen. Tomorrow, therefore, a whole team of monsters is set to descend upon his town with the intent of killing him. Nor is this due to a general hatred that monsters, all of whom are known by the title of “Lord of the Crutch,” have for human beings: They have a personal grudge against Jack and want to do everything that they possibly can to make sure that his death is a slow and painful one. Learning why this is the case is the number-one question that plagues Jack throughout this volume, the essential plot of which is devoted to finding the answer thereto.

About the author

Jeff Gunhus is a true devotee of the world of fantasy — and of writing in general. Indeed, the book discussed here came about as a result of the author’s attempt to get his son, then eleven, interested in reading! Since the publication of Monster Hunter in 2012, he has been no less passionate about helping other parents to overcome their children’s reluctance to learn how to read and write and has in fact become active in issues relating to child literacy. Mr. Gunhus has four other children and he and his wife are constantly trying to keep up with them — except, of course, during those rare quiet moments that he has, which he spends in the back of his favorite Annapolis café working on his next book.

Why you should read this book

Jack Templar: Monster Hunter and its sequels are books that are particularly good reading for adolescence. This first book is essentially a “coming of age” story in which the protagonist-narrator learns about who he is and what he was meant to be — issues with which every teenager must deal. Young readers will also love the casual teenage language in which the book is narrated because it enables them to identify with the main character.