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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Hunter Garrity's life has been chaos ever since his dad and uncles death. He's mother is too deep in grief to be bothered with taking care of her only son, his grandfather is psycho and gives Hunter hell, and the Merrick brothers are cautious and suspicious of his every move. He can't trust anyone because everyone seems to have their own agenda, including the hot new girl Kate. She keeps trying to get close to Hunter and he can't figure out why. Can he trust her? Or will she lead him down the path to his own doom?
****WARNING: This review will contain major spoilers, nasty language, and general ranty-ness. Proceed with caution****
I've made no secret of the fact that Hunter isn't my favorite character in this series. I initially liked him in the first novel, but the further I got the less I liked him. It's obvious that the Merrick brothers want to help him, as does Becca, but he just can't let his guard down to trust them and it's fucking infuriating. So I started this warily because I knew a book through his perspective would change my opinion of him and I wasn't sure I wanted it to change. Well, I was right, it changed. Poor Hunter just can't win no matter how hard he tries. He's own grandfather believes the worst of him and actually hits him several times. Seriously, dude, really? Beating up your own grandson? To make matters worse, his mother watches the whole interaction and doesn't lift a finger to help Hunter. She just fucking watches as Hunter gets his ass handed to him. The further I got, the more I just wanted to help him. At one point he is sleeping in his Jeep, seriously contemplating theft as a means to keep feeding himself and Casper, his dog. When Michael Merrick extends a helping hand, he doesn't know if it's a trap, but he has no choice but to accept it.
Watching Big Mike try to help him had me loving Michael even more than I already did. This is a guy that's always trying to do right by those around him, even if they are all too stupid to see it. I really can't wait until his gets his own full novel. I'm so ready to see the world through his eyes. He constantly saves Hunters ass even though Hunter is so suspicious of the activity. The way Hunter treats all the Merricks had me wanting to punch the idiot. After all he is seen of them, he still can't believe that they would help him.
Then there is Kate. In a way, she's Hunter's perfect companion, with the same trust issues and inability to pull the trigger. She's had the Guide training and she's officially on a mission, but she can't bring herself to be as cruel as her partner on this job, Silver. She can't understand how they can just kill people because they are Elementals, even when they aren't doing anything bad or dangerous. How is she supposed to do that? She's drawn to Hunter and for the whole 20 pages or so that they were finally together, really together, I was in heaven. Our tormented Hunter finally gets the girl, one who really understands where he is coming from. AND THEN SILVER KILLS HER. My reaction was something like this:
Was that entirely fucking necessary?!?!?!? What.The.Fuck! I feel traumatized. I feel incandescent rage. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? I have adored every other book in this series and while I wasn't overjoyed to read Hunter's book, I was sure I'd love it as much as the others and I did enjoy it, but it is impossible for me to love it. I really wanted to stop reading right there, but I pushed through the last twenty or so pages to see if maybe she was just fucking with me. Nope, Kate's really dead and this isn't like Supernatural where people are constantly being resurrected. Even after that though, everything came together too quickly. They defeat the bad guy and save the children and Hunter patches things up with his mother and ::group hug::...okay, so they don't really group hug, but they would be less opposed to it than before.
What you really need to know is this: If you want to read this whole series, which I still recommend, just be prepared to dislike this. I can never get over that. I don't care that Kemmerer has killed a love interest in the past. Doing it once was, well not acceptable, but I can get over it because it was a novella and we didn't get overly attached to her, but this, spending a great deal of time in Kate's head only to watch her get slaughtered, that's just offensive. I'm still excited to read Nicky's book next, but I'm truly saddened that Kemmerer felt this was the best way to handle Hunter's love interest. I will never understand why. Basically my overall feeling is this: