Review: THE HUNT by Anne Marsh

Review: THE HUNT by Anne Marsh
No matter how they try to flee, the virgins who enter the twisting tunnels of the Guardians are destined to be caught. Actually, most don’t try too hard. The stories of warriors who can take on Cat form, of lovers who can make a woman scream with pleasure, are just too enticing.

But Miu is no virgin, and she’s joined the Hunt with her own agenda. After she steals the moonstone necklace she’s been sent for, she has no intention of becoming some Cat’s tasty morsel. Too late she discovers these kitties have some deliciously kinky habits, and the dark hunter on her trail isn’t about to let impudent thievery go without punishment of the most exquisite kind.
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Co.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Single Title/Series: THE HUNT is the first in a series called Hunter's Mate. Next series installment to be released in 2012.

Cover Thoughts: Absolutely beautiful. I love how the cover conveys all the important aspects of the novel, especially the moon.

Why I Read It: THE HUNT has been on my radar for a while but I was finally prompted to dive in as preparation for my future interview with author Anne Marsh.

My Review:

The Plot:

The Guardians: mythical Werecats that guard an ancient temple high above the Valley. In exchange for their protection from a dark evil, the inhabitants of the Valley send their virgin daughters to the Guardians to participate in the annual Hunt. There the females scamper like white mice through the temple's dark catacombs awaiting the pounce of a Cat and the opportunity to slake their primal lust. Some of the women will stay and become mates while others will surface with an accompanying dowry. But some, sadly, will perish in the temple's dark depths for it's said that a great many of treasures lie deep below and any thief caught poaching will never again greet the surface. Miu is one such thief but with a desperate motive of life or death rather than mere greed.

Deliver the necklace or Lore dies. Period. Not an idle threat, Miu is more than desperate to do as told by the Master since her sister's life most definitely hangs in balance. Utilizing her moon daemon half as well as being armed with a map of the temple's catacombs, Miu runs in the Hunt with every intention of not getting caught by some randy Cat. She's here to pull a job and while circumstances conjure sexual thoughts, she'll just have to combat her suddenly raging hormones. That is until a particularly handsome mercenary decides she needs a bodyguard with extra benefits.

A Guardian on a mission, Jafar is sent by the temple's leader Amun Ra to discover what this particular little female is up to since it's obvious that she's not typical of the sort that participates in the Hunt. Sure enough, Jafar's little Miu leads him on a merry chase through the catacombs guided shockingly by a map thus igniting all sorts of dangerous questions. Who was able to create such a map of the heavily guarded temple? What is Miu searching for? And the most important question of all: why does Miu stir up a raging primal possession within his Cat? Seizing the opportunity to try and gain Miu's trust to procure the answers he seeks, Jafar doesn't correct her mistaken assumption that he's not a Guardian because he lacks the facial tattoos that claim his race.

When the Cat's out of the bag (pun intended) Miu feels betrayed but accepting of the fact that Jafar lied about being a Guardian. It's expected that all men lie and Jafar merely proved himself to be no exception. It's no surprise then to Miu either when Jafar bargains with her that in exchange for being his "docile" mate, he'll help her escape the temple and the Guardians with the necklace she seeks as well as save her sister. More than desperate, Miu resigns to her fate and accepts the bargain all the while telling herself that the deep seeded desire she feels for Jafar has no bearing whatsoever on her decision. Uh yeah, keeping telling yourself that sister! *wink* But truly, Jafar has a lot to make up for in Miu's eyes and he spends the rest of novel defying and destroying all of Miu's beliefs where males are concerned when finally, while gripping a dead body and suspended over a dark tube leading inevitably towards death, Miu accepts that she loves her Cat. But can that love save Jafar? The Guardians are after him for his betrayal. He chose Miu over them then proceeded to sully that betrayal even more when he stole their necklace. All of which he'll be mortally punished for if Miu doesn't come up with a plan quick, one that might miraculously save them both and grant them a much deserved Happily Ever After.

The Heroine:

A consistent character, Miu's bravery, stubbornness, and vital sarcasm never weavers from beginning to end. Instead her character growth boils down to trust. Bred on survival, the only being she trusts is herself. But when faced with Jafar, Miu is thrown through a loop. Her instincts war within her and while Jafar proves his loyalty time and again, Miu's heart demands the ultimate sacrifice. Interestingly enough, it comes down to Miu making that sacrifice. Not unlike the fact that no one has ever done anything for Miu without their own personal gain, Miu herself has operated under that same thought until Jafar. For the first time in her life she sacrifices herself for another, so that he - Jafar - can live.

The Hero:

Jafar is a gentleman through and through. Sure he's got some skeletons in the closet and yes he's killed countless times, all in the name of protection and the destruction of evil of course, but in essence, Jafar's just a good guy with a good heart.

While he's had some bad luck with the fairer sex, it doesn't hold him back from wanting to protect Miu. She immediately tugs at his heart strings and he's soon wrapped around her finger. Brave, courageous and determined, he never gives up on winning Miu's trust even though she makes him work damn hard for it. Any man willing to turn his back on his leader and his brothers, to give up the life he knows all to save one slip of a girl he barely knows makes him a definite keeper. Thank goodness Miu figures that out.

My Thoughts:

THE HUNT, while a superbly entertaining action romance, left some unfortunate confusion in its wake. Let's start with the setting, does it take place in some alternate Egyptian reality or on a seperate planet all together? My confusion on this knew no bounds and I blame it on the mention of such names as Amun Ra and Jafar as well as elemental magic and the sparkle of treasure. All of which painted an Aladdin landscape that I had diffuclty dispelling. Further research uncovered that yes, THE HUNT does take place on another planet. This was discovered after locating the single, one and only sentence of this fact mentioned in the first chapter...

Then there was the lack of information regarding character aspects, the most glaring being Jafar's lack of Guardian facial markings. I waited endlessly as for why but discovered that while its convenient for the plot, the reason was never unveiled to my knowledge. Obviously not too determinental to the plot but for me, the lack left lingering questions.

And finally, I was more than shocked that Miu risks her life time and again for her sister but in the end, we never meet her. Instead she's rapidly wisked away at a pivital moment with nary a description. Why? Why go through all this trouble and continuous near death experiences just to end the book with no resolution between the two women? This above everthing gave me the most pause.

In summary, THE HUNT is a fun and fast paced action adventure. Its a great summer vacation read that gives just the right amount of entertainment to hurry along an otherwise slow afternoon. As debuts go, its pretty damn good but for this seasoned reader and reviewer, the questions never ceased.


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Leontine said...

Oh gawd, the questions would niggle me too since I love world building/explaning but perhaps some things will be further exploited in bk 2 in this series...I was under the impression it is the start of a series.

The blurb of BOND WITH ME made my spine tingle so I really hope that one is an even better read. I've got it on my b-day list, fallen angels trigger the buy reflex instantly :) So looking forward to reading your review for that one VFG!!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Leontine!

Your thoughts on THE HUNT being part of a series had me realizing that I hadn't updated that part of the review. Yikes!! Yes, it is the first in the Hunter's Mate series with the next installment releasing in 2012 with Kensington. I'd gotten that info from Anne last week.

Yeah, so the lingering questions did bother me but I think this book is the start of a wonderful writing career for Anne. She definitely has the chops!

BOND WITH ME. *sigh* I've been dying for this book for a loooong time and tonight's the night for me to dive in. Can't wait! I've a feeling that's going to be really good too.

Hugs, VFG

Leontine said...

Glad to hear the Hunter's Mate series continues in dead tree format (Dorchester is going e-book format, I'm so happy I've got an e-reader *sigh*) I'm such a geek that way LOL I like my series to be released in 1 format so they look all purty on my shelves *grin*

INCiDeNT (Kayleigh) said...

*Waves to VFG!*

While I love the world building in any book to have answers and not just tactics that seemingly give an advantage to the plot only to fall flat with no reason delivered behind it, I can also deal if I enjoy the heck out of said story.

And I've been making eyes at BOND WITH ME for a while now, too. Think if I flutter my lashes like some pansy-assed girly it'll appear magically into my hands? *Le sigh.* The sacrifices I'm willing to make.

I'll be watching for any updates you make via Goodreads. Hope you enjoy!

Blodeuedd said...

Can't say I'd be happy about running through those tunnels if I was a virgin, I would mostly be pissed at everyone lol

Diana (Book of Secrets) said...

Hmmm. I agree it would be frustrating to never meet the sister. Hopefully that's included in future books. Great review! I've had this one in my TBR pile for awhile. I recently read BOND WITH ME, and I really enjoyed that one.

@Blodeuedd - LOL! I wouldn't like it either!!

VampFanGirl said...

No kidding Leontine! I as a reader am really upset with Dorchester's new business model. Sucks too that they informed authors along with the public blindsiding many including Anne Marsh. Not cool.

Honestly, I thought Anne's book would be safe since the news release posted on Dear Author informed that the new model would begin with September releases. I guess Anne's book releases late enough in August to deem it a September release. Grrr I'm still so upset!

Oh, and purty shelves are a MUST!

Hugs, VFG


Kayleigh!! Girl, did you get my message via GoodReads about block quotes?? Hoped you did and it all worked out.

Yeah lingering questions are not good. Unfortunately, having reviewed a lot of books, I've become a neurotic seeker of plot holes so it becomes hard for me to move on when I find them.

However, the talent of this author is evident and I'm thinkin' that her sophmore effort with prove that.

Hugs, VFG


LOL Blodeuedd!!! But if you knew they were sexual experts, would you still be pissed?

Hugs, VFG



Hmmm maybe the sister will be in a future book...don't know but that would definitely serve to tie up the loose ends.

Yay! *claps hands* You enjoyed BOND WITH ME!! Can't wait!!

Hugs, VFG

Lizzielvr said...

I thought this was a good read, had some issues but, not enough to stop me from wanting to read the next one.

And on the whole Dorchester going e-book, that bites, I have an e-reader, but I still like my "Mass-market" paperbacks!

VampFanGirl said...

Totally agree with you on both counts Lizzielvr!!

Hugs, VFG

Tricia said...

This sounds like a good quickie I'll have to look for it. I had no idea Dorchester was going strickly ebook been out of the loop for a couple of days with a sick little one.

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Tricia!

Hope the little one is feeling better.

Yeah Dorchester is completely cutting out mass market from its business model and issuing all new releases in ebook with trade paperbacks to follow six to eight months later. So not happy about that and it also appears that authors had no idea of the change and found out along with the public last week. Grrr....

Hugs, VFG

Leontine said...

HUH, VFG, am i understanding you correctly? Is BOND WITH ME an e-book release? @#$%^&!@#$%^&@#$%^&* Noooooooooo, and crappies at the same time since I've got this one on my dead tree b-day wishlist. So no print copies *cries* I so wanted this one in print *cries more*

I'm just glad I've got an e-reader because the print version of the books are going to be so pricy now :((

VampFanGirl said...

*in small non-threatening voice* Hey Leontine. Yes, BOND WITH ME will not be releasing in dead tree formatt this August. You'll have to purchase as an eBook. Anne said the trade paperback is to follow some time in May.....

*Now on a bull horn* THIS SUCKS!!!!

Leontine said...

Aaahhhh, this suck big hairy *peep*

I was so looking forward to petting the cover IRL *trembling lip* When I've purchased a format of a book I will not likely buy another one. And since I cannot wait I want it on release date. Now I've got an open space on my birthday list to fill *sigh*

Thanks for the info hon!

Smokinhotbooks said...

A wee chuckle escaped me reading the blurb on this one. Still, how can I resist running virgins and cats?

VampFanGirl said...

You're welcome Leontine! Sorry to put a small dark cloud over your B-Day wish list. :(

Hugs, VFG


Hi KC! Trust me, its a fun time to be had by all. *wink*

Hugs, VFG

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