Pros: Sexy, gripping story
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review book (uncorrected proof) provided by the author
Expected publication date: April 3, 2012
Century-old vampire Sylvia is a mercenary who prefers a certain kind of work. This time her task is to kill a pedophile who escaped human justice. She isn’t a Hunter, and usually she manages to skate under their radar. This time, however, they need to stop her. If they don’t, they’ll never find out what happened to the several other children the man might have kidnapped, and Hunter/werewolf Toronto wants that closure for their families. After all, he knows what it’s like not to have answers—he was found as a teenager being attacked by five werewolves, and he has no memory of who he was before that.
When Toronto decides that the best way to beat Sylvia is to join her, the two find themselves reluctantly teaming up to find a monster. They’re both loners, however, and the situation seems to keep spiraling out of control into ever-larger messes. There’s evidence of a sex ring being run out of a high school. There’s a mad vampire running around who’s somehow managed to avoid the notice of the local Hunters. And both Sylvia and Toronto are about to get bitten by their respective pasts…
Shiloh Walker’s Hunter’s Rise, as many of her books, kept me rooted to my seat until it was done with me. Sylvia and Toronto are very enjoyable characters. Each one is a stubborn loner and they clash incessantly, but it always feels organic and reasonable—never artificial. Toronto is a self-admitted ass, and Sylvia has a great deal of reason not to trust anyone. Somehow they have to work out a compromise between them that allows them to find the pedophile without ripping each other’s heads off, and that’s far from easy. The heat between the two characters also feels natural. I’ve always loved Ms. Walker’s erotic material; she has a knack for lush sensuality and explosive personalities, resulting in plenty of fire.
The world of the Hunters is handled quite deftly here, and oddly I think this book, despite being well on in the series, might not make a bad entrance for someone who wants to dive in but doesn’t want to go all the way back to the beginning. The local enclave is explored and depicted very naturally, and even though I haven’t read all of the books in the series (and I have a notoriously bad memory) I found that I had no difficulty whatsoever understanding the story and world as a whole. In part that’s probably because Sylvia’s something of an outsider, and Toronto doesn’t fit entirely well within the normal enclave structure, so we get their take on how things are done.
The story and plot kept me engaged. Some elements didn’t surprise me as much as perhaps they should have, but there were enough open questions and tense events until the end that I never felt bored with events or exasperated with the characters. I also enjoyed the glimpses of other series characters such as Nessa, Dominic, Rafe, and Angel. In particular I enjoy watching Ms. Walker’s characters grow as they’re affected by the events around them. Her characters never find themselves left untouched by the events around them, and that’s probably a goodly part of why her books leaving me in tears.
So if you’ve ever wanted to give Walker’s Hunters series a try, now’s a good time—go pre-order Hunter’s Rise from your favorite bookseller and dive on in as soon as it comes out!