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Book: Hunted by the Others
Author: Jess Haines
Publisher: Zebra Books
Release date: May 1, 2010
Source: Free ebook purchased for Kindle
Series: H&W Investigations #1
Summary: (from Goodreads) They are the Others-the vampires, mages, and werewolves once thought to exist only in our imaginations. Now they're stepping out of the shadows, and nothing in our world will ever be the same again...
In A Town Like This, Being A P.I. Can Be Murder
Shiarra Waynest's detective work was dangerous enough when her client base was strictly mortal. But ailing finances have forced her to accept a lucrative case that could save her firm-if it doesn't kill her first. Shiarra has signed on to work for a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact owned by one of New York's most powerful vampires.
As soon as Shiarra meets sexy, mesmerizing vamp Alec Royce, she knows her assignment is even more complicated than she thought. With a clandestine anti-Other group trying to recruit her, and magi being eliminated, Shiarra needs back-up and enlists her ex-boyfriend-a werewolf whose non-furry form is disarmingly appealing-and a nerdy mage with surprising talents. But it may not be enough. In a city where the undead roam, magic rules, and even the Others aren't always what they seem, Shiarra has just become the secret weapon in a battle between good and evil-whether she likes it or not...
First impressions: I never know what to expect with free ebooks, so usually my guard is up and my expectations are down. Here, I was pleasantly surprised. The book opens with a great scene where our reluctant protagonist, Shiarra, is pulled into an investigative job for the Others. I loved the idea that Shiarra really didn't want to get involved with the Others, especially since most books have characters that want to either be them or be in love with them.
Lasting impressions: What a welcome addition to the urban fantasy genre! I thought this book was a lot of fun, with some original new contributions that added a lot to my enjoyment. In Shiarra's world, the Others (supernatural types) have to sign contracts in order to have romantic (or blood servant) relationships, in order to avoid litigation should the human meet their death. This is a key plot point and added to the believability of the world.
Conflicting impressions: Given the well-developed supporting characters, I found Shiarra just a bit weak, especially in the beginning. I wish she hadn't needed to take the job because of money troubles. This just made her an unwilling participant and didn't give me much reason to root for her to succeed. I think bigger stakes would have made it more exciting.
Overall impressions: Shiarra and her business partner, Sara, pale a bit in comparison to the fun Others they come across. The vampire Alec Royce is the perfect blend of sexy and scary. What a treat to have a vampire who is actually terrifying! It seems like every other vamp I read about is so in control of his or her blood supply or hunger that they're never really risky to be around. Well, Royce is definitely scary in this one, and I loved every minute of it.
Arnold, a mage, becomes a de facto sidekick when his boss (who hired Shiarra for the job) winds up dead. His development through the book is well handled, at first seeming untrustworthy but by the end winning our full confidence and friendship. He helps outfit Shiarra in some butt-kicking gear that keeps her alive and grants her some extra oomph in her fighting abilities.
The story line is straightforward enough, but Haines delivers a nice surprise at the end. The different Others factions are all vying for the same thing, and Shiarra is just trying to do her job and get out before things get too messy. Shiarra was likeable, but the other characters really take the book to the next level. Haines' interesting take on supernaturals living side by side with humans, each wary of the other, everyone seemingly on edge, was both realistic and compelling. A great read for UF fans.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Want a different perspective? Check out this greatreview by Dark Faerie Tales.