Deep in the heart of New York City’s netherworld, a horrible disease is ravaging the vampire community. The Vampire Council is on a crusade to obliterate those infected, and Harrow Gates is target Number One. The unwitting source of the plague, he suffers from the same nightmarish symptoms as his victims. The world he’d been thrust into was cold, cruel, and intent on eradicating him, and the legions of afflicted vampires he created with his bite.
A bounty hanging over his head, satisfying his hunger has become an enormous challenge for Harrow. The less he feeds, the more hideous and painful his lesions become. Constantly running for his life and learning new tricks to survive, Harrow is in no position to refuse when Pritchard Tack offers him a unique opportunity. Pritchard not only gives Harrow a new beginning, but also a purpose and a chance to rectify the chaos he created in the vampire world. However, the multibillionaire has an agenda of his own.
Jordan is a reluctant new vampire and a woman on a mission. After the demise of her family and her own transformation at the hands of Goran, the ruthless leader of the Vampire Council, her only focus is revenge.
Constantly faced with one frustrating dead-end after another, a stroke of luck leads her to an underground facility that she suspects is the lair of the monster for whom she is looking.
Upon learning more about the truth behind the secret bunker, Jordan must fight against her growing feelings of friendship and concern for the facility’s inhabitants. One man in particular threatens to pull her heart away from her sworn mission. There is something behind Harrow’s dark lenses that unsettles the hardened female. Once again, she trembles and hungers for something other than red-stained revenge. Is love strong enough to override her hate-fueled thirst for vengeance? (goodreads.com)
Wow. That’s one hell of a blurb. It’s kind of indicative of the book, though, a bit long and meandering.
I’m always in the market for good, new vampire stories. This one sounded pretty interesting so I requested it from the publisher on NetGalley and started reading.
It was really slow to start and by a little more than a quarter of the way through the book it becomes a slog. It’s really mired in piles of exposition that may be okay to fluff up the characters a little bit but it’s not presented in a way that makes it at all engaging. The writing style as a whole is bland and leaves me at a distance from what’s going on. That inability to connect with it really hurt the story for me. If I can’t connect with what I’m reading, at best I’m going to get bored with it. That’s what happened here. The characters talk a lot but they don’t really say much of anything and some of the action descriptions get lost in themselves, making some of the scenes hard to follow. I had a really hard time paying attention to HUNTED.
I kept plowing through though and while I was able to focus a little better the dialogue kept pushing me right out of the story. It’s just some of the most awkward, cringe-worthy conversations that feel like they’re being controlled by puppeteers or they’re in middle school and reciting lines from a script without any talent to back the acting up. Plus a lot of the interaction was really bro-tastic: uber-manly and trying way too hard to be a casual conversation and only coming off contrived.
On that manly note, the insistence of gender roles in this story made me want to punch something. Harrow was constantly bemoaning his lack of masculinity for one reason or another and Jordan, despite starting off as a strong-willed female character ended up de-evolving into a pigeon-holed caretaker that equated sex with love. Especially for her I felt the plot lost its way. Jordan’s transformation into a simpering doll was just off-putting. I’m not sure why she degenerated the way she did. I think it may have been something to do with losing her family and she finally found someone she could connect to but she literally abandoned all of her plans once Hot Herpes Harrow came into the picture and she wanted to roll all up in that vampire STD and she couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to rub his infection all over her. Bizarre, is what it was.
The progression of the plot was jerky at best and I didn’t feel like the vampire portion of the story was too well-developed. Vampires exist, there’s a council who wants to eradicate infected vampires and then there’s the rich dude who wants to find a cure. Sort-of-battle ensues. It’s all rather thin. There’s some brutality, which I like in my vampire fiction, but it’s sporadic and awkwardly inserted for the sake of plot development. It didn’t feel genuine to the story. There was a fair amount of action but it was hidden under all that exposition and gawky conversation that you’d find in a sitcom or something, or maybe an after school special. Really, there were a lot of words in HUNTED but not much was actually said. Gender roles were really hammered home, there were some action scenes where people got hurt but pulled through and some characters died but because they weren’t really developed it’s not like a lot of caring was involved when reading their passing.
I just found HUNTED lackluster. I wanted to really like it but I didn’t find it THERE in terms of solid vampire fiction. I know there are more books in this series so the chance to really flesh out the vampire world and all of the characters is really there but after nearly 400 pages I should have a better idea of who the main players are, or at least care about them more than the nothing I do. I don’t want to put myself through more meandering conversations or gender insistence or rapidly morphing characters to accommodate a plot line. I’m just not interested.