Book: Hunted by The Others
Author: Jess Haines
Rating: 3.75 Stars
Release Date: Out now
What exactly does it take to be a heroine in today’s paranormal genre?
Guns? Check. Knives and Swords? Check. Superpowers? Check. But what if our heroine in question doesn’t really have all of these…yet?
The draw to Jess Haines’ new series Hunted by the Others is its very ordinary, mousy heroine. For those with jaded tastes and who adore souped-up urban fantasy and paranormals, Shiarra Waynest could prove to be a bit too vanilla…but I found her and her exploits to be quite refreshing. And that should not deter anyone from diving feet first into Jess Haines’ world. Hunted by the Others was an engrossing feast that I gorged on. And I want more!
If you have read a lot of pnr/uf, you will notice the similarities that have become part and parcel of the genre: the great reveal….the natural conflict between weres and vampires….pesky magick users, and a heroine that has a destiny to be realized. This has become the template for the pnr genre and Haine’s debut series is no different. But there is a subtle twist to Haines’ writing….an earthiness that appeals more than the typical pretentiousness that can be found between the pages of a similar novel. That earthiness, and genuine normalcy is what the reader identifies with, and I was immediately drawn in.
When Shiarra finds herself accepting an offer from The Circle to acquire the Dominiari Focus from sexy alpha vamp Alec Royce, she doesn’t know that her quiet PI career is going to plumb new depths. The focus which was lost long ago, has the ability to control Others and their actions. And everyone wants it. For those who are big Kim Harrison fans, you will recognize the similarities in the Hollow’s series with regard to Rachel Morgan’s quest to wrest the focus from competing factions.
Shiarra, in many ways reminds one of Sookie in the early days….wet behind the ears, bumbling, innocent and ignorant. And that shows when in one particular scene, Alec Royce manages to manipulate her into signing a blood contract. Her natural fear and spinelessness could have worked against her but it doesn’t. Readers have to remember that this is a character evolving. It’s the journey that this character has to go through and Haines has dropped many hints throughout the book that Shiarra has a destiny to fulfill: the prophetic statements that Arnold makes when he throws the dice, the reason why The Circle chose Shiarra for the job, the affinity the belt has for her, and the obsession of the White Hats to join their cause. All of these clues point to Haines and the fact that she’s got plans for Shiarra. And hopefully scrumptious Alec Royce.
What are the ultimate goals of a pnr novel? To entertain, to seduce, to thrill, to transport, and to create a desire for more. Hunted by The Others has won on all fronts. Jess Haine’s easy-peasy Rachel Ray-writing style made it easy to breeze through Hunted, and readers will revel in this infectious romp as a fiery haired Shiarra plays hardball with the baddies. It’s genuinely enjoyable and addictive! I enjoyed every minute of it.
I cannot wait to jump into more of this fun series. Haines’s sequel Taken by the Others is out today (which I am dying to dive into) and the third book in the series Deceived by the Others is out in July. Sweet.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)