Blogtober (#21) | House of Night Reread: Hunted by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

6:30 AM

The good news is that the only cringe worthy thing about Hunted is its synopsis. Well, okay, fine, there are a couple of other things, but nothing as painful as it was in prior installments and definitely not as cringey as the blurb for this! I'm so sorry, but hoo boy that is SO not eye-catching and super cheesy and I am definitely suffering from secondhand embarrassment. In case the bold lettering wasn't clear.

Despite the cringe, I'm still feeling head-over-heels and hyped beyond belief over my reread of the entire House of Night series. I love the magic and mythology. And, of course, a lot of these characters. How could I not? They were some of the ones I grew up with, quite literally.

While I've already stressed the fact that I feel VERY differently toward a good chunk of it as an adult, it's still something that I've got a world of fondness towards.

What if the hottest guy in the world was hiding a nameless evil, and all he wanted was you? At the start of this heart-pounding new installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey’s friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren’t Neferet’s secrets any longer. But an unexpected danger has emerged. Neferet guards her powerful new consort, Kalona, and no one at the House of Night seems to understand the threat he poses. Kalona looks gorgeous, and he has the House of Night under his spell. A past life holds the key to breaking his rapidly spreading influence, but what if this past life shows Zoey secrets she doesn’t want to hear and truths she can’t face?
Okay. Interesting. Huh. In a completely genuine shocking turn of events, tonight's (shh, pretend it's night time and not morning when this post goes live) plot twist, it would appear I didn't review this one in depth! My review was VERY short. I mean, very. Even by vintage Jessica standards, it was shorter than the shortest. I literally wrote: "Kalona sucks. Erik sucks. Why is Zoey taking back Erik? Why is Erik taking back Zoey?"

So, I don't really have a lot to go off on here except that I loved Hunted, but I'm pretty sure I rated it a bit lower than the previous four books in the series. Four stars! Which is kind of weird, but I think it has to do with me having likely begun to grow out of the series. I do remember that I read this book SO quickly (during a three hour detention where I was supposed to be doing homework, oh, dear, oops) back when it was first published. 

As it happens, another little mundane fun fact, Hunted was one of the very first hardcover books I'd purchased. The first was actually Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I really enjoyed the idea of reincarnation as it was presented into the mythology. It's always been one of my favourite topics, and I think this is one of the series that sparked that. Realistically, I don't remember much else about my thoughts with Hunted. I have to wonder if I just read it too quickly and that's why my memory is a bit more hazy with it. Regardless, it was one of my lower rated titles for House of Night and it is what it is. 

★★★☆☆ (3.5)

Warning, I read Hunted and Tempted within the same day, and am presently sick, so I may get a few details mixed up in terms of what happened and when. 

Sigh. This could have been a four star read, like Untamed, if it weren't for the backtracking re: all the relationship drama! Romance isn't a massive deal for me. I don't usually complain about it being in a lot of stories, but for some reason it really drives me nuts in House of Night. I mean, honestly? I? Don't? Understand? You guys are hiding in TUNNELS, legitimately underground and hiding from two forms of evil, and then you are in the same building as said evils, and... Zoey's ever-expanding love life is such a big focus?

Hunted could have been just as epic as Untamed, if not for all of this. I know much of what I'm about to dive into is built upon in later books, but still. There were times when Hunted felt more like a filler novel. While there were plenty of moments where it had its highs, I want to take a minute to just babble about what could have been in Hunted.

We could have built onto the mythology of the Red Vampyres/fledglings and how some of them got their humanity back while others didn't. We could have built onto why Stevie Rae is keeping secrets. We could have built more onto Aphrodite's powers as a prophetess. We could have developed the imprint between Stevie Rae and Aphrodite. We could have seen more of Jack and Damien's cute little relationship. We could have seen more of Shaunee and Erin in general. We could have seen more of the past and its mythology re: Kalona and A-Ya. We could have seen Kalona and Neferet's manipulation of the other fledglings. 

But, well, we didn't. 

That being said: Hunted was still that dishy goodness we came to know and love about House of Night. The eavesdropping that Zoey participates in after her near-death experience. The will they, won't they? tangles of Zoey and Stark; the crumbling of Zoey and Erik's second chance at their relationship, the inclusion of Heath and the fact that he and Zoey have imprinted again.

For me, of course, Zoey and Aphrodite's friendship takes the spotlight. There's this scene where, when they have to go back to the school to make sure Zoey doesn't die, Aphrodite demands to stay with Zoey. And that really makes me happy. I mean, they've come a very long way since the series began, and I am always fond of seeing it explored. 

As always, the writing has improved greatly during Hunted. Higher quality prose, higher stakes and a whole lot of teen angst meeting chosen one antics. Zoey's matured a little more in this installment and I think this entirely has to do with learning from her past, distancing herself from it, and learning who she is along with Aphrodite and Stevie Rae. The character development the three have had is vastly different from each other, but definitely on similar ground.

Each installment brings something new. If there is one thing that P.C. and Kristin have done wonders with, it is the ever-expanding world and mythology in this series. I loved the story of A-Ya and her creation, and the fact that a piece of her soul is woven into Zoey. Reincarnation is always a plus for me in any story, and I think that this was a really smart move in terms of narration of a chosen one. 

What I mean to say is, it explains greatly why Zoey is able to standout from her peers in the ways that she has. The way it ties together with her abilities makes a world of sense to me. 

Romance drama aside, I think that my favourite part of Hunted was the growing tension between evil and good. We saw it reach a near explosive point during the last two books, but it finally sets off its first explosion during the final quarter of Hunted. That ending? YES. Sign me up. Bring on the next one! I need it like I need air. 

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