Saturday, March 25, 2017

Juliana Stone - His Darkest Hunger

Jaxon Castille: jaguar shifter, warrior, assassin. He has long hungered for the chance to make his former lover, Libby Jamieson, pay for her deadly betrayal. After three long years he’s finally found her. The hunt is over…
But the Libby that he finds is not what he expected. She has no memory of their tumultuous affair; of her treachery; of anything beyond her own name. A shadowy and deadly clan has marked them both for death, and in an instant the game changes: the hunter has become the hunted.
On the run, with the ghosts of their past between them and a dark, desperate hunger quickly reclaiming their bodies and souls, Libby and Jaxon must discover the truth behind the dark forces working against them. Together, they must grab hold of a destiny that has the power to either heal them or destroy them.
But the truth is far more shattering than anyone could imagine...

Comment: This is another of the several books I "collected" while I was first discovering and improving my taste for PNR. I have a huge TBR but once in a while I pick books that have been waiting to be read for a longer period of time and add them to my monthly lists. This is one of those and, as always, I hoped it would be a good story.

In this book we meet Jaxon, he's a jaguar shifter and when the story begins he has just found a woman that used to be part of his past and whom he believes - along with some other colleagues - that she betrayed them and caused the death of an element of their team. However, memories of who she used used to be to him stop him from killing her and he follows her instead. Someone else tries to kill them both and when Jaxon finally gets to her he is shocked by how fragile she looks and by how submissive, scared and hurt she is. Her memory seems to be lost as well.
Jaxon then embarks in a mission with other members of his supernatural team not only to fight an enemy but also to find out what happened to this woman, someone he didn't fully accept before but whose scent tells his jaguar she is their mate.
In the meantime, as the plot moves along, we find out several secrets and situations that bring this story to life...

When we star a new book, we always have the expectation we are going to be positively surprised, even if others' opinions or impressions don't seem to be as good. I confess I wasn't expecting this to be the best PNR story ever, but obviously I wanted it to be a good read. It ended up being so-so for two reasons, mainly:
1) It's been years reading the genre and now that I have my favorites, now that I'm more certain of my preferences, it's difficult not to judge every new book (especially if it was written years ago) by our current level of taste;
2) Some books are quite good but with time, some aspects start to look dated and that influences the way we see books. A decade ago, some situations felt interesting and innovative in a PNR and now those same things just look repetitive if the whole book isn't done with precise and perfected tones.

In a way, this book was, to me, a blend of these two aspects. This has colored my impressions a bit and I can tell it would have been enjoyed a lot more before my taste got used to other types of PNR and other stories.  Of course, each story should be worth it on its own and I don't mean to say this is rubbish when compared but... it's just the way things are.
I think the author has spend a long time outlining the plot, which had its interesting moments, but not enough explanations about the jaguars or the shifters as a whole was something I couldn't hope but noticing. I wish more structure and a better sense of community would have been presented. These characters felt very "alone" in a way and it was difficult to bond or empathize with all if we didn't get to know them besides the more basic notions.

The romance wasn't too bad, especially when they were yet unsure about their feelings but as things progressed it became obvious they didn't communicate well as a rule and some aspects of their relationship felt not well done. When they finally admitted their love and stuff, it no longer felt very believable or true. Plus, there was a very inconvenient sex scene in the middle of all the going after the bad guys and looking for characters... I mean...pointless.

All in all, this book, as it happens with so many others, has interesting ideas, the premise and parts of the plot are quite engaging in certain moments, but when I think about the whole picture it's not such a great read overall. But it gains points for originality and some scenes.
Grade: 6/10

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