The Hunted (Hunter Circles #1)

by Jessica Gunn

I was provided an eArc in exchange for an honest review.

I also read the series prequel which told the story of half of the POV duo of his novel: college boy Ben and how/why he ended up hunting demons with the magikally gifted Hunter Circles. The other half of the duo is introduced in this novel– Krystin Blackwood, a witch who is also a Hunter.

The novel brings out a bunch of layered plot and world building that the prequel lacked a bit, so I found myself a bit more drawn into the story. Krystin and Ben have the potential for a really great dynamic. He’s more Beta hero but with a lightening-fueled temper, and Krystin is more no-nonsense and practical with a hero streak.

But there’s a point in the story where Ben makes a really, really, really stupid decision that every other single character warns him against…and he does it anyway. And while Krystin was able to forgive him, as a reader, it was hard for me. It felt a bit unreal, and that’s where some frustrations with the story arose for me.

I also wanted more time with bad-boy Giyano because his appearances were the most interesting and tantalizing (in terms of clues of a deeper story going on) scenes.

The magik system here was also a bit vague for me at times (they are elementals confined to using their element but can teleport? ether isn’t an element? witches can do other magik as well as elemental?) and that’s one thing that can lessen my enjoyment of an otherwise entertaining (as this is) tale with a dynamic duo having it out with various demons. I was grateful for the chart at the back of the book explaining the relationship between witches/hunters/various demon societies, wish I had seen it at the beginning!

I’m thinking that since this is a first book, some of the vague stuff might be fleshed out more in later books. It ends with nothing resolved, so it’s a true first book in that sense (not really a stand alone) and actually the story ups the stakes with hints about demon plots and Krystin’s ultimate prophesied fate.