Hunted (House of Night) by P C Cast and Kirstin Cast

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Hunted (House of Night) by P C Cast and Kirstin Cast

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Category: Teens
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: An okay book that doesn't quite match the promise of its predecessor. Too much love life, not enough action, and it all happens a little too quickly. Hopefully a stepping stone to better things to come for the House of Night' series.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: June 2009
Publisher: Atom
ISBN: 978-1905654574

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All hell is breaking loose in the Tulsa. Fallen Angel Kalona, along with High Priestess Neferet have taken over the House of Night. Kalona's brain washing powers have turned all the fledglings and teachers into 'pod people', à la Invasion of the Body Snatchers and still no one seems to notice that Neferet has turned her back on the Goddess, Nyx.

After escaping the House of Night more or less intact, Zoey and the gang, now including Erik Night and Darius of the Sons of Erebus, flee to the prohibition-era tunnels where Stevie Rae and her red fledglings have been hiding out. Though the tunnels have been vastly improved (thanks to Aphrodite's credit card) they are still tunnels, and Zoey keeps sensing darkness and evil lingering around them. And on top of that there are the red fledglings, who claim to be reformed since getting some sense of their humanity back, but even Stevie Rae, the only red Vampyre, isn't exactly how she was before she died.

To add to her problems, Zoey is unnerved to find Kalona can enter her dreams. Not only that, but he's calling her A-ya, like the girl whose embrace trapped him before. Zoey doesn't want to play A-ya's role again, especially not the 'love Kalona forever' part, but she can't deny the deep draw she feels towards the impossibly handsome Fallen Angel.

Then there are the regular boy problems. Erik is back in Zoey's life, but though she agrees to be his girlfriend, he's being ultra possessive, and pushing her in a direction she's not sure she's ready to go so soon after Loren and Zoey's thoughts too often stray to the archer that died in her arms. Then Heath shows up, all helpless heroism, determined to stay by Zoey's side in the impending storm. But his presence leads to Zoey being mortally wounded, and though Darius saves her from immediate death, she needs to be in the presence of more full Vampyres if she's to recover fully, which means a perilous journey back to the House of Night.

I think the biggest problem with this book is the speed at which the events take place. So much goes on, and the entire book spans only about three days. The threat of Kalona, and the trip back to the House of Night would have been much more suspenseful if drawn out over a few more days.

It's also a shame that Heath Luck, Zoey's human boyfriend returns. After their encounter in the previous book, I honestly thought that would be the last we'd see of him, and it was a fitting send off. Zoey calling him to warn him to get out of Tulsa when it seemed inevitable that Kalona would rise, despite the fact that she was the last person he'd want to hear from, was just right emotionally. Bringing him back, and still madly in love with Zoey, just makes it so her dalliances with boys, and Loren, have absolutely no consequence. Erik's ultra possessiveness is also starting to turn him into the bad guy, again removing Zoey's blame. She hurt these guys – she can be contrite about it, and as a reader I would forgive her, but there should be consequences for her actions. It makes her feel, for the first time, a little too unreal.

Her budding relationship with Stark, while interesting, suffers because of the time span. I like the idea, and the execution of the relationship, but then I remember that she's only known him for about a week, and she's in love with him?? I am not a big fan, or believer, of love at first sight. Good romances in books are built up slowly and carefully. We've had enough of teenage infatuation from Zoey now.

This isn't a bad book. I enjoyed it enough, but after the promise the previous instalment had, this seems like a step backwards. With the balance once again leaning more towards romance and less towards the action, it feels more like a book two than a book five of a series. Hopefully the next instalment will see a return to form for the usually great mother-daughter team, P.C. and Kristin Cast.

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.

Fans of vampires might enjoy Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

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