P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Published 2009 323 pages
Summary (from book jacket)
At the start of this heart-pounding new instalment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey’s friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren’t Neferet’s secrets any longer. But an unexpected danger has emerged. Neferet guards her powerful new consort, Kalona, and no one at the House of Night seems to understand the threat he poses. Kalona looks gorgeous, and he has the House of Night under his spell. A past life holds the key to breaking his rapidly spreading influence, but what if this past life shows Zoey secrets she doesn’t want to hear and truths she can’t face?
On the run and holed up in Tulsa’s Prohibition-era tunnels, Zoey and her gang must discover a way to deal with something that might bring them all down. Meanwhile, Zoey has a few other little problems. The red fledglings have cleaned up well – they’ve even managed to make the dark, creepy tunnels feel more like home – but are they really as friendly as they seem? On the boyfriend front, Zoey has a chance to make things right with super-hot ex-, Eric, but she can’t stop thinking about Stark, the archer who died in her arms after one unforgettable night, and she is driven to try to save him from Neferet’s sinister influence at all costs. Will anyone believe the power evil has to hide among us?
Hunted is the fifth novel in P.C & Kristin Cast’s acclaimed fantasy House of Night series for Young Adults. The author does include a brief recap of events so far at the start of the book but even Zoey the narrator admits, “Yes, looking back on it I see that it’s complex and kinda confusing, but that seems to be typical for evil plots.” These books follow a long running story arc so to avoid confusion are best read in order, starting with Marked.
Trading on the popularity of previous instalments of this series and the current popularity of vampires in teen fiction Hunted earnt itself a hardback release – but in these times of financial prudence it worth your hard-earnt? Sadly, in my opinion… no.
Previous novels in the House of Night series have always had one common factor, their sheer readability. As a reader much older than their intended YA audience, even I have been caught up in their teen drama – compulsively turning pages and racing through the stories in a matter of hours. This readability has an almost magic aspect to it. For whatever reason Hunted lacks this quality and the mislaid magic is sorely missed. At any point during the first half of the book I could have happily put the book down and never picked it up again. Fate of the world hanging in the balance... Zoey’s boyfriend drama... evil on every street corner – none of it actually seemed either believable or engaging.
Hunted starts from exactly where events in Untamed finished. The timeframe for the story is two days. All of the previous House of Night novels had action packed plotlines that occurred over short timeframes so this is pretty much business as usual for this novel. Unfortunately, most of the two days is spent by Zoey being unable to decide which piece of boy-candy she wants to take a big bite of first. Thankfully, Hunted is written with a teen audience in mind and the reader isn’t subjected to an Anita Blake style bonk-athon while Zoey makes up her mind but I think I liked Zoey’s character better when she had been dumped by all her boyfriends for two-timing them with one of her teachers. Somehow her character seemed more realistic then.
Boyfriend issues aside, there just isn’t much new going on in Hunted. The dialogue seems repetitive and so do the actions of the main characters. After having enjoyed the first four books in the series so much, Hunted seems disappointing by comparison. While the story does pick up towards the end it still isn’t enough to save the book. Unless you’re a die-hard fan I think this is definitely one to borrow from the library or wait for the paperback…
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