Two Minute Review: The Hunter and the Hunted by Kelley Armstrong

Monday, July 2, 2012
Genre: supernatural fiction
Series: Tales of the Underworld #7.3, #12.5
Pages: 100
Published: June 12, 2012
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 2.5/5

In Off-Duty Angel, dark witch and half-demon Eve Levine is desperate for a little entertainment while her lover, Kristof Nast, is detained in afterlife court—enough to volunteer an extra week’s worth of angel corps duty just to pass the time. Luckily something even better comes up: a real celestial bounty-hunter mission to trail a shaman, someone who might prove to be a useful lead in Kristof’s court case. Following the target goes smoothly, until he leads Eve to the British Museum, where she inadvertently steps into a secret dimensional passage and stumbles upon a far more enticing puzzle . . . and a much greater danger.

This collection also includes Stalked (Otherworld #7.3) It’s not a good sign when Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers resort to everyday activities on their long-awaited honeymoon in St. Louis. But their encroaching boredom is about to take a backseat to an unexpected threat that catches Clay’s attention. A non-pack werewolf is clearly stalking them—out to claim Elena for himself—and Clay has no intention of letting the upstart mutt spoil their romantic getaway, even if that means deceiving Elena as he pursues the rival werewolf on his own.

Stalked previously printed in My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon.

It's a bit sad when the synopsis for a novella has more meat to it than the actual story. Though The Hunter and the Hunted provided my first look into a Clayton POV - I've read only the first seven books and only one novella (Angelic) set in this world before this ARC - it fell short of providing a fully satisfying plot. What is here is fine, but it's not engaging nor the most original idea the author has come up with. At only about 30ish pages, Stalked is ultimately too short to make any kind of lasting impression.

Fans of Elena and Clay novels will enjoy the added look into the wedded life of the two werewolves, but aside from the slight updates on other castmembers (Jeremy!), there's nothing new here. Stalked is fairly bland and innocous for that murder and sex are within its pages. Unfortunately, this is the same old same old routine between the two, one that has been shown over and over again in the actual novels...and  I am not sure it is worth shelling out $1.99 to read. Just pull out Bitten, mentally mature Clay up a smidge, and there's your short story.

Off-Duty Angel -

Sad to say, I liked this novella offering even less than I did with Stalked. Eve Levine is probably my favorite character from Armstrong's hallmark series, and she's vastly underused here. Twenty pages is not enough to formulate a real plot worthy of Eve's narration. The only other novella from this series I've read was centered on her and I apparently liked it much better than Off-Duty Angel (though I can't really remember what happened or why I liked it so.. Probably because Eve is funny.. I digress..) But the same problem that plagued Angelic and Stalked is here too: the short stories are way, way too short to satisfy readers and fans. It's too jumbled, too rushed.

The charm, the fun, the originality that make Armstrong's novels stand out just isn't here. The stories and plots are too rushed, too confusing to engage readers. The veeeery slight mystery doesn't add much to the overall piece and it really just read like...filler. Obviously the main draw for The Hunter and The Hunted is supposed to be the free sneak peak at the finale of the series, Thirteen, but since I am behind the series publication, I didn't even glance at the chapters. 

If you're looking for something by Kelley Armstrong to read, because regardless of my gripes here I truly enjoy her full-length novels, I'd suggest picking out those instead of buying these short stories. You aren't missing much and it's all been done before (and better) in the actual books.

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