Paperback: 352 pages
Released: May 1, 2010
Author's Website: Jess Haines
Buy it: Amazon
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: H&W Investigations
1. Hunted by the Others
2. Taken by the Others (book review)
3. Deceived by the Others (book review)
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…
Where should I start? When I first heard of this series--months, and months, and months ago--I shrugged it off, thinking to myself "oh no... not another cop/investigator story!" I do not particularly enjoy these sorts of stories. In fact, if I discover that the heroine in the book is on the police force, I shy away from that text. (Don't ask me why, investigation stories of that nature simply bore me.) Then a month or two later, before the book was released, I read a snippet. Then I started hearing the reviews. Despite myself, I was intrigued, especially after reading some of the guest posts Jess has written.
Imagine my delight when Jess--the kind and wonderful author (who giggled about whale dorks with me, which kind of just makes her one of the coolest people ever)--approached me with an offer to review Hunted by the Others. Upon opening the book, I approached it with nothing but excitement. Having the actual book in my clutches somehow managed to erase my initial trepidation. Now, imagine my pleasant surprise while reading through the text that I realize how un-police and investigator-like Shia (the main character) actually is. Here is a modern young woman who has fears, who is overworked, and who simply wants to earn enough money so as not to lose her business. She has no interest in meddling with immortal affairs. In fact, she makes it perfectly clear that if her company was not so pressed for money, she probably would have passed on the job offered during the initial stages of the novel.
Alas, money is an actual problem, so Shia finds herself thrown none-too-nicely into the jaws of an extremely sexy and intimidating vampire: Royce. I guarantee you that most readers will probably fall for Royce. He is suave, dark, mysterious, and takes an initial interest in Shia... which means you will be reading more of him in this book and in later novels! But that is not it. Jess also introduces a geeky yet cute Magi, and an equally sexy alpha werewolf--who happens to be Shia's ex boyfriend--into the mix. What on earth is a girl supposed to do surrounded by all this testosterone?
An interesting new concept Haines has introduced into her world are contracts. When an Other manages to convince the humans in their lives to sign off on one of these contracts, said human pretty much sells their entire life to the immortal in question. Now, one would imagine this wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if one had a sexy werewolf of vampire for a boyfriend. Think of it this way: if you were dating said vamp or were, and if they became overly excited and ended up biting half your face and neck off while you two were doing the deed, you could sue them. However, if you signed off on the contract, stating that you were their property (which is how I pretty much imagined it as), you cannot sue. You are theirs. If they decide to turn you, and the transformation leaves you horribly deformed, tough buttons. Doesn't sound so great after all, huh?
For me, this sort of contract, and the legalities behind it, really opened my eyes once again to the animalistic, predator-like qualities most immortals should have in paranormal books. Vampires aren't cuddly blocks of marble; they will suck you dry if they can. Werewolves aren't cute, cuddly puppies (though I would not mind cuddling up with Chaz). Magi will probably not be interested in making you appear eternally beautiful. The immortals--or rather, Others--in this book live up to my expectations of how they should act in books: cutthroat, self-interested, dark, mysterious, territorial, sneaky, conniving, etc. Basically, they don't play nice unless there's something to gain by doing so. Don't get me wrong, they also have redeeming qualities and are not entirely shallow either, but I'm growing fairly tired of books where authors make the immortals cute little play things for the humans in their tales.
One suggestion I would make is to explore Shia's intense fear of vampires a bit more. This was something that I could not seem to fully grasp, despite the obvious predator-ish qualities vamps like Royce had in this book. I felt as if her fear was more fear of the unknown as opposed to fearing the actual creature. This lack of grasping on my part was, in no way, the fault of Jess. I blame this more on the new "humanized" version of vampires, which has lessened their "badass" persona in my eyes. Nevertheless, exploration can never really hurt.
My only "complaint" is something extremely minor that most people probably won't even notice. Towards the beginning of Hunted by the Others, Shia thinks a lot. Now, thinking is not necessarily a bad thing, I simply felt that at some points, it tended to slow the pace of the story down a tad bit because of her worrying so much. So, if you read HbtO, and find the pace slowing in the beginning, do not let it deter you. Simply keep in mind that it does not last. In fact, if you're anything like me, you'll be glued to the pages once the story picks up speed shortly after.
Hunted by the Others is definitely one of those pleasantly surprising discoveries. Jess took vampires, werewolves, and magi, then transformed a typical investigation story into something so creatively unique and original, you can't help but beg for more.