Book Review | Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

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I have no idea where I found Killer of Enemies. Something about the title caught my attention, I think, but by the time I had picked it up (from the library) I had already forgotten why.

Somehow, though, I decided to read it, anyway. Despite a title that probably should have died in marketing (as one commenter already noted), the description promised a little bit of everything: dystopia, magic, Apache prophecies, monsters…

Also, it’s YA. How much time commitment could it require? I’ll take a gamble.

I’m glad I did.

Lozen is a seventeen year old survivor after the end of the world. Poor even before a cosmic cloud obliterated all electronics worldwide, Lozen is an Apache, a gifted hunter, and she is utilized as a tool to kill the enemies of the elites who rule on this side of the end of civilization. She is, however, not a consenting tool, and as she hunts the strange mutant monsters that roam the Earth, she is scheming and planning to free her family, held as hostages to control Lozen. Meanwhile, with the Earth held in a permanent technological dead-end, psychic powers begin to awaken in Lozen.

Let me just pause here and note that despite a pretty strange premise–not mention some concerns about the book not really knowing what it wants to be–Joseph Bruchac seems to do a great job telling a story. It starts at a run, and it never really slows down. And that makes it worth the read. It’s fast, it paces well, and it’s fun to read.

But it doesn’t know what it is. There are mutant monsters, vampires, giant eagles, high tech electronics that are genetically integrated with humans (at least until the Cloud arrives and ends anything electronic), psychic powers, Big Foot, and old Apache myths and prophecies…

Yes. The book is all over the place. I couldn’t tell if Bruchac has been watching too many horror movies or if he was trying to channel his inner Larry Correia, but aimed at a younger audience than Monster Hunter International. There’s really no cohesive mythology or explanation tying it all together, though, and though there is a plausible explanation each time a new creature or plot twist pops in–whether its vampires (some plague that escaped) or Big Foot (preexisting human civilization) or psychic powers (they had been repressed during the electronic era)–in the sum, it gives me the impression that Bruchac was winging it, pulling little slips of paper out of hat to figure out what was going to be the next “miniboss” or obstacle.

But don’t let that deter you from reading. It’s a fun read, clean, and with good character development. Lozen is sympathetic, and it’s easy to feel her emotions for her family, the Ones who control her, for the gardener boy, and her desire for freedom. If you’re looking for a wild ride, Killer of Enemies is good to go. Just don’t look too closely at the scenery on your ride.


Killer of Enemies Book Cover Killer of Enemies
Joseph Bruchac
Young Adult - Science Fiction
Tu Books
September 17, 2013
Hardcover
400

Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones—people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human—and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets—genetically engineered monsters—turned on them and are now loose on the world.Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.