HUNTED: House of Night Series #5
by P. C. Cast/Kristin Cast
IF Score: 4 stars This was one of my Top 5 most anticipated books this year and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed but I still really enjoyed it. I’ll probably like it more the second time through but I don’t think this one lives up to its potential. P. C. Cast introduces new characters and scenerios with a lot of promise but then never does much with them, at least not compared with things I began to anticipate each time. She apparently had three major things planned for Zoey and the gang to accomplish (move, face Kalona, save someone) and the rest was filler. I never felt that with the first four books but I read them back to back and this is the first one I had to wait a while for. So maybe my anticipation affected my expectations negatively and perhaps no one could have lived up to them?
My primary disappointment was no deepening of relations with Erik or Heath and no closure either – just more of the same. I’m very happy with most everything that passes between Zoey and Stark but I would have liked something more before the book was over. I understand the reasons for leaving it questionable though. That’s why it still gets four stars even though I was disappointed overall. Even the big bad fallen angel Kalona doesn’t live up to his potential as a scary powerful provacative underworld kind of character.
Neither Kalona or Neferet seem villanous enough to Zoey or the “nerd herd” after all they’ve been through in the past. Since dream encounters were introduced in the first chapter I expected more than two or at least that they would be more intimidating, intensifying her fears or temptations each time. Zoey spends more time thinking about Kalona’s intentions and what to make of him, than actually interacting with him. That is actually true for the whole story generally. We read more about her thoughts than her real experiences — or maybe that’s my imagination?
In truth, this story was more like a mystery novel this time than a paranormal vampire romance. There was more clue finding, mystery solving and strategy planning and less character development and personal interactions. I have to wonder if Cast developed the story further and her editor ripped pages out in an effort to ensure its YA rating? (If so I hope she’ll post some of that on her website later, like deleted scenes in a movie.) Overall, Zoey seemed to have none of her past struggles with her powers, friends, or the guys in her life, and oddly enough, not even with lust or bloodlust, just her feelings.
Zoeys acts like her virgin self again only with less sensual hunger than before (though most people find it harder to resist lust once the appetite is awakened and virginity has been given consentually) I can’t understand her avoiding even being caressed sensually by any of the guys in her life after all this time. That’s just not cool five books into a series like this that’s been hotter in past novels with the same people. Cast places Zoey into several situations with “guy heat” that Zoey basically runs from and is surprised by even from guys she’s been in relationships with before. I AM glad she has learned over time to say no to bloodlust and guys pulling her into repeat situations. But its odd that she struggles more with who to be with than how to be with them, or should I say how much to be with any of them, especially since she’s “been there and done that” now and knows it can be amazing. It just doesn’t work for me that Zoey doesn’t long for anyone but isn’t strong enough to choose someone to commit to and stay that way. She does have a rational thought near the end that might explain it though so I’ll read it again. I can see it if the whole problem is that none of them is truly fulfilling. I guess that’s why we all still want chocolate after a full meal. Sometimes we think we’re hungry even though we’ve been gorging, but nothing we’ve eaten has satisfied us.
I was also disappointed in how little the storyline developed around several new and interesting red fledgling characters introduced at the beginning but never encountered again later. This book is obviously more of a “between” book than her others were. It reminds me of the second Matrix movie that pretty much just tied the others together. Still… I am hooked on the series and (unfortunately) await the next book… to bring me a little more closure or fulfillment. I will read this book a couple more times to help me feel like I got my hardcover money’s worth. On that note I should mention the cover art is intricately stunningly awesome. Now that I know what will and won’t happen I will probably enjoy the story better the second time through (like the movie Twilight!)
Your comments are welcome! How did you feel about the story? Did it meet your expectations? What was your favorite part? What would you change? What are you looking forward to in the next book? (please type **SPOILER ALERT** as needed)