Dare to Go A-Hunting by Andre Norton
The final novel in Andre Norton’s MOONSINGER series is Dare to Go A-Hunting (1989), which is packaged with the previous novel, Flight in Yiktor, in the Baen omnibus edition called Moonsinger’s Quest (2013). I’ve been listening to the excellent audiobook editions narrated by Chris Abernathy and published in 2021 by Tantor Media. Dare to Go A-Hunting is a direct sequel to Flight in Yiktor, so you’ll want to read it first (there will be some spoilers for that novel in this review).
At the end of Flight in Yiktor, Farree learned that he (and here’s the spoiler for that book!) is not the crippled malformed creature he thought he was. The growth on his back turned out to be beautiful wings that unfurled and gave him the gift of flight. Still, though, Farree has no idea who he is or where he came from. That is the subject of Dare to Go A-Hunting.
When Farree begins investigating his origins and his past, he learns there are bad men who are hunting people like him. Thinking he knows important secrets about his race (he doesn’t), they try to get at him by kidnapping his best friend, Toggor, the cute but deadly spider-like smux. Thus begins an adventure in which Farree will finally find a place to belong.
Dare to Go A-Hunting is a disappointing end to the MOONSINGER series. The plot recycles so many elements I’ve seen in Norton’s earlier stories and relies too much on Farree’s suddenly developed racial memory. He spent a lot of time confused (as did I), not sure if he was dreaming, having visions, or lost in a memory of his people. He gets captured too many times to be interesting. Farree was a compelling character in Flight in Yiktor, but not so much here. The only character I truly liked was the venomous Toggor.
Another issue is that, at the beginning of the novel, Norton seemed to be establishing a solid connection between Farree’s people and the fairy lore of Earth, but this sadly fizzled out. While I’m complaining, here’s something that bugs me that I haven’t mentioned before: Norton has the tendency to create names for so many of her new technologies (usually weapons or vehicles) by putting an “er” on the end. So we have stunners, tanglers, flitters, gliders, etc. I finally got sick of it in Dare to Go A-Hunting.
For completists who want to know where Farree came from and what happened to him in the end, I’d recommend reading Dare to Go A-Hunting. For those who really didn’t care that much, you can safely skip it.
In other news, this cover is a prime candidate for “Rename this horrible cover.”
(Not horrible so much as laughable.)