Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
I need to step outside my typical one-line review box for a moment...be right back.
I had absolutely no clue what to expect when I ordered Hunted. The synopsis sounded cool and Cheryl Rainfield comes across as incredibly likeable, down to Earth and easily reachable. It reviewed well, but I try not to let that influence my reading list....anyway, I sat down (actually, I was already sitting having just finished another book -it was Sunday, I'm allowed to veg a bit.) and started reading...and couldn't stop myself.
Fortunately my family managed to work around my transfixed corpse for the day allowing me to finish. That's right, started Sunday, finished Sunday. Captivated.
It touches on so many topics that are so important to its target reader (teens) while telling an amazing story. Bigotry, sexuality, acceptance, defiance, love, sacrifice, being different, loving yourself, being yourself, being strong (I have two daughters and I love strong female characters), turmoil, family...and I'm sure I am scratching the surface.
Then there's the plot -people with paranormal abilities being hunted, tortured, killed by the anti-paranormal government. I was expecting to be taken to cool settings in this unique dystopian world where the climax would draw all the necessary elements together but Rainfield kept it tight. Everything was close -literally and figuratively. Her story didn't need to be drawn to fancy settings because of the emotional depth. You experience Caitlyn's (the main character) doubt and fear and inner turmoil as if they're your own. This isn't the product of her being a telepath (making thoughts and experiences seemingly easier to convey), it's a product of good writing. It is obvious Rainfield was writing from a place most of us dare not dwell in order to really find this character -to allow us to feel this character -to almost become her.
And yes, I'm a guy. I like Lord of The Rings, Star Wars and anything George R. R. Martin. Despite the testosterone, I was sucked into this world via this character and the only thing that pulled me out was the end of the book.
I believe twenty years from now, Hunted will be read in classrooms and the teacher will ask, what's the underlying meaning in this chapter? Overall? etc... Why do I think so? Because it is so rich in depth and teaching potential...it's THAT kind of book.
The Hunger Games is great entertainment. Hunted reaches into your psyche and grabs hold of your mind. It takes you places some of us are afraid to go. It makes you face questions many of us are afraid to answer. We all like to think we'd stand on the side of right and good but when fear of the unknown comes into play as it does in Hunted, doing what is right means letting go of both fear and control and most of us aren't ready to go down that road.
Read this book. Mull over all the implications and underlying meanings -or simply read the book because it's a great story. One way or the other, read the book!
For more of my writing, short stories, reviews videos, and information about my novel, Exiled, book one of The Never Chronicles (publishing June 5), check out MY WEBSITE!