Usually I finish the books I start reading, even those I don’t like all that much—but that’s changing, perhaps because I have so little free time these days and so many books to review. It’s entirely possible I’d come out of Melina Morel’s Prey thinking it was a so-so book, not a terrible one, but the truth is I’m not going to find that out.
I don’t review the books I don’t finish. I don’t talk about them on Amazon or Epinions, I don’t rate them on a numerical scale, and I don’t pretend to know for sure whether they’re good or bad books ultimately. But I don’t mind telling you exactly why I decided not to finish them.
I made it 30 pages into the book before I quit, and I only made it that far because that’s my lower bound before I’ll allow myself to quit. I was frustrated and annoyed with the book from page one.
Let’s start with the way in which the narrative is delivered to the reader. Both dialogue and description consist almost entirely of telling, not showing, often explaining the same thing multiple times until readers are likely to feel impatient and/or condescended to. There’s such a lack of sensory information that it’s incredibly difficult to visualize much of the happenings or even what the characters look like beyond basic statistics such as tall or short, lean or hefty, dark-haired or light-. It’s very difficult to become immersed in a story when it’s just words on a page.
In addition, all these telling words are very flat—there’s little emotion or tension to them. Situations that should raise our hackles are just… meh. The opening, in which the male lead helps to rescue a kidnapped child, should be riveting. Instead it’s matter-of-fact and dry.
Prey is a tale of werecat society. Unfortunately, not only does werecat society seem ripped straight from the pages of plenty of pre-existing shape-shifter books, but it’s silly. Entire ‘clans’ of big cat shifters are named after… breeds of house cat. No, really. There’s a clan called the Russian Blues. I imagine the big panther male lead being awfully embarrassed by having to call himself after a house-pet. And the Maine Coons? I laughed out loud. It’s particularly odd given that many such breeds haven’t been around as such for more than a hundred or so years, and often didn’t gain their modern names until more recently.
Add to that the fact that the characters are flat and uninteresting, and well, this book was a goner for me. By the time the two leads met up I didn’t even care whether there were sparks between them or not. I barely knew what they looked like or cared about them as people, so I certainly had no stake in a relationship between them.
From the description on the back of the book I’d really been looking forward to Prey. But for a romance/suspense to get to page 30 with no suspense and little emotion just rips the heart out of both the romance and the suspense.