In a lush solarpunk future, plants have stripped most of the poison from the air and bounty hunters keep resource hoarders in check. Orfeus only wants to be a travelling singer, famed and adored. She has her share of secrets, but she’s no energy criminal, so why does a bounty hunter want her dead? Not just any bounty hunter but the Wolf, most fearsome of all the Order of the Vengeful Wild. Orfeus will call in every favor she has to find out, seeking answers while clinging to her pride and fending off the hunters of the Wild. But she isn’t the only one at risk: every misstep endangers the enemies she turns into allies, and the allies she brings into danger. There are worse monsters than the Wolf hiding in this new green world.
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This book is full of LGBTQ+ characters — trans, non-binary, people in queer relationships, people using neopronouns or changing their pronouns, you name it! It also seemed to me that some of the characters were neurodivergent, though I can't be sure. They felt interesting and unique, and even though the reader doesn't get a deep insight into most of their personalities, what we know about them is enough for the story.
The protagonist is Orfeus, a singer and a trans woman. She is a complex character who seems sassy and badass on the outside but hides her vulnerability behind this facade. Her behavior was often annoying and I had trouble connecting with her or understanding her motivations and actions in the beginning, but the more I got to know her, the more I rooted for her.
The plot is linear and filled with unexpected turns of events. Even though I usually enjoy that sort of thing, I had trouble following along for the first half of the book. I'm not even sure there is an objective reason for this, it might just be me. But because I didn't understand why Orfeus was doing was she was doing or where the book was going, I quickly hit a slump after getting super excited about the story while reading the first few pages.
I regained my interest in the second half of the book when I started understanding Orfeus and the events better. There was a part closer to the end that kept me on the edge of my seat, but the resolution didn't feel completely satisfying. Some events and motivations didn't make too much sense to me, and some things weren't completely clear. Nevertheless, I enjoyed following Orfeus on her adventures.
The world-building was one of my favorite things about the book! The story is set in a green world far in the future. I loved the solarpunk aesthetic, lush green cities relying on clean technology, vast spaces and forests. In a sense, the world has become larger again and returned to some of the old ways while also becoming much more progressive in terms of gender and sexuality issues.
People rely on barter and live in smaller communities where they know each other. It's a non-capitalistic world with different values. People care about the environment and their understanding of morality is largely based on how they interact with the nature, animals and each other. There is no discrimination based on gender, race or sexuality and people explore their identities freely.
As we know 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic', and there is, indeed, such technological magic in the world of Foxhunt, which gives it a bit of a fantasy feel.
Rem Wigmore has a witty and expressive writing style that I liked a lot!
I enjoyed the unique blend of solarpunk high tech and the archaic feel of the Order of the Vengeful Wild, futuristic cities and magic, a simple life and values that aren't rooted in capitalism. The setting was delightful to explore!
Even though I didn't always understand or like Orfeus as a person, I very much enjoyed her as a complex, multidimensional and fleshed out protagonist.
The plot was quite interesting, but there was a sort of rough feel to it and I wasn't always engaged. There were things that didn't make sense to me or didn't feel quite believable, but there were also exciting moments, tension and humor.
All in all, I enjoyed the novel and might read more Rem Wigmore's books in the future.
You might enjoy Foxhunt if you like solarpunk or are looking for a book that isn't rooted in capitalistic values, has a fully queer cast and shows some hope for humanity.
Rem Wigmore is a speculative fiction writer based in Aotearoa. Their novel Foxhunt was published by Queen of Swords Press in 2021, and their other works include Riverwitch and The Wind City, both shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Award, as well as short fiction in a range of publications. Rem’s probably a changeling, but you’re stuck with them now. The coffee here is just too good.
Featured image by Matryx.