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Hunted by P.C. and Kristen Cast

01/03/2011. Contributed by Pauline Morgan

Buy Hunted (House Of Night series book 5) in the USA - or Buy Hunted (House Of Night series book 5) in the UK

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pub: Atom/Little Brown. Hunted (House Of Night series book 5) by P.C. and Kristen Cast. 439 page small enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 5.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-905654-57-4.

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There are many who still regard ‘Buffy, The Vampire Slayer’ with fondness. The franchise for books and graphic novels suggests the fan-base is still alive and kicking. For those who remember that far back, Buffy began as the new girl at school and took up with the misfits who became her friends and co-conspirators. In the course of the seven seasons, she and her friends matured in their knowledge and relationships. It is a formula tried and tested and appreciated by fans who may have started viewing in early teens and stayed with the characters. The ‘Harry Potter’ series has many things in common both in regards to the characters, their development and the weirdness of the situation.

In the ‘House Of Night’ series, of which ‘Hunted’ is the fifth, Zoey Redbird is the new girl with special talents. She joins the school as she has been marked to change into a vampire and can call and control each of the five elements, earth, air, fire, water and spirit. She has fallen in with a group of misfits who can control single elements. This means that they are favoured by Nyx, the goddess of the vampyres. Damien is the Willow of the group as he enjoys finding out the information that the others will need and the solver of riddles. In ‘Hunted’, the riddles come in the form of poems. His boyfriend, Jack, is the technical wizard of the group. Aphrodite calls Zoey’s friends the nerd herd and although she begins as the man-hungry chic super-bitch, she finds herself increasing drawn in to Zoey’s circle. The first person narrator, Zoey, also has to cope with the problems of being a teen-ager. As she begins this novel, Zoey has gone back to having multiple boyfriends. She has re-Imprinted with her human, childhood sweet-heart, Heath, and made up with vampire boyfriend, Erik, fancies the new boy – vampire fledgling and uncanny archer, Stark, and is drawn against her will to the immortal Kalona. On top of this, everyone expects her to solve their problems.

At the end of the previous volume, ‘Untamed’, Neferet, the High Priestess of the House of Night had managed to free the evil immortal Kalona from his centuries old imprisonment in the earth. Zoey’s little group had managed to escape to the tunnels under the city of Tulsa in the midst of a fierce electrical ice storm. Stevie Rae, who can control the element of earth, has been badly injured as part of Neferet’s conjuration. Outside their refuge are the Raven Mockers, fierce bird-like men, the offspring of Kalona and human women, who are very loyal to their father. When Zoey is badly injured by one of them, the gang have no choice but to return to the House of Night for help.

Although the story here takes place over only a couple of days, there is a sense of not only the characters developing but also an interweaving of more plot strands some of which will not be resolved by the end of this book. What began as a charming series of Vampyre School based books has developed into a much deeper situation in which none of the main protagonists can be sure of surviving. There are still enough twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader wanting more. The problem may be that the target readership has moved. This may be a young adult book but low-end teens could find some of the subject matter disturbing.

Pauline Morgan

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