Book Reviews

Forward the Hunt by Lotus Oakes at Less Than Three Press

Genre Gay / Urban Fantasy / Interspecies / Romance / Mythological Creatures / Shifters
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 10-March-2018

Book Blurb

For as long as he can remember, Haruki has wanted to be part of the Great Hunt, the annual coming of age ceremony where the youth of Salfea are let loose to kill a dragon and bring it home as proof of adulthood. The larger and higher-ranked the dragon, the greater the reward. Held back for years by family obligation, Haruki has only ever been able to watch from afar until the opportunity finally comes to him. Desperate to prove himself, he's certain he'll do whatever it takes to have a successful hunt.

But on the first night of his Hunt, Haruki finds an injured dragon so highly-ranked that killing him could rocket Haruki all the way to the throne... if he can resist the dragon and his ways.

Book Review

Dragons! ‘Forward the Hunt’ is part of a whole collection by the name of ‘For the Hoard’, and each story so far has offered a different perspective on dragonlore. In this tale, set in the fictional island-nation of Salfea, dragons are hunted as part of a ritual that establishes someone as an adult. It’s pretty barbaric – especially once you realize that these people are well aware that dragons are shifters and as such, sentient beings. It’s an adventure story as well as a coming-of-age tale, and has great characters, a few surprising revelations, and some great worldbuilding.

Haruki is the young man who tells the story; he is the son of immigrants, has lived in Salfea since he was four, and wants nothing more than to kill a dragon and become an accepted adult member of Salfean society. Then he encounters Star – and Haruki begins to realize a few truths. He starts examining his beliefs and motivations, and while he doesn’t much like most of what he finds, he can’t just change his basic view of the world from one second to the next. It’s a process – and one that is neither easy nor pain-free.

Star is a fascinating man. He has lots of information about how dragons see the world, and as he slowly reveals some of it to Haruki, it becomes clear that they have a totally different perspective on things. A longer lifespan has something to do with it, but so do values, beliefs, and morals that are entirely different from humans’ way of doing things. I loved getting to see some glimpses of Star’s world!

There are several layers to this story that I found interesting. The first is the morality of killing sentient beings, since, as it turns out, the people of Salfea are well aware that the dragons (at least the bigger ones) are shifters. But then of course, if you don’t define dragonshifters as “people” because they are “different” – we all know how that goes. The second level was the whole isolated situation Salfea finds itself in – an island, immigration is almost unheard of, and their whole culture is built around killing dragons and exporting/trading their hides. Salfeans don’t deal very well with people who have different opinions, and based on Haruki’s parents’ reactions to the whole dragon-killing situation, the rest of the world doesn’t really deal very well with Salfea either. The third level is even scarier – even though the outside world may condemn the practice of hunting dragons, they are very interested in obtaining dragon hides – seems that greed outweighs morality for more than just the Salfeans. There is more, but you’ll have to discover that for yourself – as far as I am concerned, it is well worth it!

If you like imaginative dragon stories, if you want to watch two men from different cultures struggle to reach an understanding, and if you’re looking for a read that has great character growth, a few surprises, and an unexpected, yet entirely right ending. Fantastic!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Less Than Three Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 46000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-February-2018
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link