Today we are welcoming JACK TEMPLAR back to Alli's World in honor of the new book in the series! Author Jeff Gunhus has provided us a excerpt from the newest installment, Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy. Interested in this middle grades series? Keep reading!
After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.
Here is an excerpt from Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter!!
Any hope that I would be welcomed with open arms by my new monster hunter family seemed to be just that, a hope. True to Daniel’s introduction of me, everyone seemed to not only go out of their way not to give me any special attention, they appeared to go out of their way not to give me any attention at all.
I got it. I was the new kid in school. And in this school, everyone carried a sword and was trained to fight. There wasn’t going to be a cookie and punch reception to welcome me.
Any idea that our “classes” were going to involve sitting in a comfortable, warm room at a desk with a book and a professor was quickly proven wrong. The groups met out in the open, even as a dusting of snow floated down on top of us. I had a sneaking suspicion that if there had been a blizzard, we’d still be meeting outside. Obviously, this school was not interested in turning out academics. The graduates of this place needed to be tough and ready to survive, no matter the weather.
I wrapped my cloak tight around me and sat quietly in the back of Eva’s group and tried to focus on the lessons of the day and not worry about the chilly reception.
I glanced over and saw a few of the Ratlings hand up a huge tarp in the center of the field with the list of classes in the rotation that day. The segment titles that would have sounded bizarre to me only a couple of weeks earlier now all seemed strangely reasonable.
Don’t roll over and die for the undead. Defensive strategies against zombies and other undead creatures.
Here doggy, doggy. Trapping werewolves through trickery.
When less is too much. How the Lesser Creach can surprise you (and kill you) if you’re not careful.
Demons. How to use their hellish anger against them.
Stakes in the heart and other false rumors about vampires.
At least it was better than World History and Algebra back at my normal school. I wondered how things were back in Sunnyvale and how the community had reacted to the sudden disappearance of three boys in the middle of the night without a trace. I wondered if—
“Jack,” Eva said sternly, “do you have an answer or not?”
I turned my attention to Eva and suddenly realized that the entire class was staring at me. I had been daydreaming and I had no idea what Eva was talking about.
I shook my head. “Sorry, can you repeat the question?”
A few of the other kids chuckled at my expense. Eva didn’t look happy.
“I asked, what is the greatest point of vulnerability of a rock troll?”
She wasn’t going to let me off the hook. The other kids enjoyed my squirming.
“Well,” I said, “I’m not exactly sure what the technical answer is…”
“Then I suggest you listen instead of—”
“But all the rock trolls I’ve fought had bad eyesight and a terrible sense of balance. Oh, and they were dumb as rocks too, which might be how they got their name.” A few of the kids laughed. They were all leaning toward me, taking in every word. “All you have to do is give them an easy target and get ready to move when they lunge at you. They’ll over-commit and you’ll get a clear shot to finish them off. Either to the back of the neck or here, in the ribs, under the arm. But you don’t even need to do that.”
“What do you mean?” one of the kids asked.
I glanced at Eva. She nodded for me to go on. “Like I said, they can’t see well and they’re pretty dumb. Once you juke them, it’s hard for them to spot you again. If you can keep out of their line of sight for ten or fifteen seconds, then they’re likely to forget about you. Literally. They just stand there thinking, ‘Uhhh…I was trying to smush something, now what was it?’” The class laughed at my rock troll impression. I was on a roll. Or at least I thought so until I saw Eva standing with her arms crossed, looking not nearly as entertained as my new classmates.
“And how about their other senses?” she asked.
“Touch, smell, that sort of thing?”
“I guess they’re about the same as their eyesight,” I said.
“You guess?” Eva asked. “Anyone else here want to guess when it comes to fighting something that’s trying its best to kill you?”
The class turned quiet, the mood getting serious in a hurry.
“Rock trolls are cave-dwellers, so they spend most of their lives underground. But what they lack in eyesight, they more than make up for in sense of smell. Like a shark in the water, a rock troll can smell fresh blood nearly a mile away. They may be stupid, but once they lock onto a blood-scent, they won’t give up until they’re dead…or you are.” Eva locked me in a stare. “But you’re right, their lack of intelligence is a rock troll’s greatest vulnerability. Just don’t make it yours too.”
The class shifted uncomfortably as Eva and I locked eyes. Then a whistle blew and the class thankfully jumped to their feet and jogged to the next instructor.
After everyone had gone, I stopped by Eva and said, “Thanks for that.”
She grabbed me by the arm. “Give this place a chance. You’ll learn things here that could save your life, or the lives of the hunters you are fighting next to.”
I took a deep breath. She was right. I nodded and said, smiling, “Pay attention and listen up. Got it.”
“Or I’ll kick your butt,” she said.
“Yeah, like that could happen,” I grinned. As I turned to follow my class to the station, I got a swift kick to the backside. I spun around and Eva gave me a wink.
About the author:
Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Middle Grade/YA series The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. Jeff is also the co-CEO of College Works Painting, a national company with over 4,000 employees that has been featured in national media for its unique opportunity for college students to learn entrepreneurial skills. He is the author of the motivational career guides No Parachute Required (Hyperion) and Wake Up Call (Seven Guns Press). After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland by trying to constantly keep up with his kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the CIty Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel. Author website Book Website Twitter Facebook Goodreads