Averella is a unique female protagonist. The moment that her sick brother, Gabriel, is taken into Zagerah, she makes a tough decision. She grabs her father’s gear and disguises herself as a man because women are never taken to Zagerah and she knows Gabriel won’t survive on his own as sick as he is.
Needless to say, she’s a bit reckless and doesn’t really think things through. Not only does she abandon a depressed and distraught mother, but she didn’t think about the fact that even if she found Gabriel, they would still be stuck in Zagerah.
What she does is practically equivalent to a death sentence. But she doesn’t think about herself, so in a way, Averella is very selfless when it comes to her loved ones. She only thinks about them and is very desperate to keep Gabriel alive.
For Averella, life was normal, or as normal as it could get on their world, Averell. Their people live in scattered villages, oppressed by their government, the Aretul. Families live in fear that any time a man or boy steps outside, the Gredi will take them. In Averella’s village, every house and family have experienced a loss in some way or another.
Her mother and father loved them deeply and tried to care for Averella and Gabriel the best that they could. Her father was afraid that one day the Gredi would choose to take families, or the women and girls too, so he taught Averella how to fight with a sword. “So you can protect your brother and mother,” he told her, knowing that only she would be able to protect the family if something happened to him. So she learned how to fight with a sword, just in case.
At the time, it was too dangerous to take her out hunting – rumors had spread from another village that a man’s daughter had been killed after he had been taken. So he didn’t want to risk taking Averella out, not even to show her how to hunt in the event that he was taken, so she could still provide for them. Instead, he contacted his neighbors and friends, who all promised each other to take care of their families if they were taken.
Anytime he went to hunt, Averella’s father was always careful. Meanwhile, Averella’s mother took care of Gabriel, who was so sick at times he couldn’t get out of bed. For a while, as a boy, they thought he would die. But they prayed and God answered their prayers and saved Gabriel’s life, even though he stayed so sick.
Averella grew up training with her father and a sword and then working with her mother tending their garden together.
Often times, her mother would get together with the other ladies of the village and exchange much needed goods and sometimes just sit and visit. As a young girl, Averella always looked up to them and admired them especially as they would put their goods together, like hide from the animals the men would hunt, and sew clothes and armor for the men to wear if they went outside the village.
Her mother taught her and life was fairly good for them. At least, until her father was taken. It happened in the middle of the night; many of the men hadn’t gone out since food was plentiful so the Gredi were getting antsy. They raided the entire village, going into the village and took several of the men, including Averella’s father.
She woke to screaming and when she stumbled out of her bed, she saw her mother clutching Gabriel tightly and crying. By the time she ran outside, the Gredi were in the distance and she never saw her father again.
After that, Averella had to help pick up the slack left over by her father. Her mother fell into a deep depression, even to the point of refusing to get out of bed. With Gabriel so sick he couldn’t leave the house, many times, Averella had to go out hunting alone.
The first time she went hunting, she only had the sword fighting skills her father taught her, which wasn’t any help against some of the creatures that roamed the woods. The first two nights she never caught anything and the third night, she encountered a dangerous one. It clawed her up really bad and she would have died if another man hunting from another village hadn’t helped her. He mended her wounds and helped her back to her village. For days, her mother and a woman named Ganna who was good with herbs helped her recover.
Not even a week afterward, they were low on food and Gabriel was getting worse, so Averella had to go back out there, as scared as she was. She faced up against the creature again and this time, she killed it. It fed them for a week and they were able to share extras with their neighbors, Ganna and her son, who was starving after her eldest son had been taken a month prior.
After that, Averella became who her mother and brother needed her to be; to hunt their food, skin it, cook it, mend their clothes, help tend to the garden and Gabriel. Many nights she went on a lack of sleep.
She and Gabriel tried to bring their mother out of her depression. It took several years, but eventually she started doing the cooking, mending and gardening again, which helped Averella.
Until the events of Hunter begin.
Some people might say that what Averella did was reckless. After she was arrested and thrown into Zagerah, many of the women in the village talked about her. “How could she do something so reckless and foolish?” one woman asked another.
“She did it to protect her brother,” Ganna responded, coming to Averella’s defense. She admired Averella for being strong for her family, similar to the way her eldest son always had been before he had been taken. Averella had saved Ganna and her son and Ganna would always be grateful. She felt it was tragic and sad that such a brave young woman would endure whatever horrors existed in Zagerah. That of course, reminded Ganna of her son and her husband. Where were they? What had happened to them? Were they even alive? No doubt her husband was dead by now, but had her son survived these nine years?
Averella was dragged through the gates and then reality hit her. She was now trapped inside Zagerah.
What happens next? You’ll have to read Hunter to find out. Pre-order it now.
Want to know more behind the scenes information about Hunter? I’m giving away an exclusive DVD and a poster and magnet of Hunter’s cover, so join the giveaway now:
The first four people who comment on this post will win a free character card with Averella’s picture on it!