I adored G. X. Todd’s debut, Defender, and it was one of my top ten novels of 2017. I’m sure it goes without saying that I was thrilled when my request to review the follow up, Hunted, via Netgalley was approved. That said, I did experience some trepidation in reading the follow up to a novel that I loved, but I needn’t have worried – Hunted is excellent!
The birds are flying. The birds are flocking. The birds know where to find her.
One man is driven by a Voice that isn’t his. It’s killing his sanity and wrestling with it over and over like a jackal with a bone. He has one goal.
To find the girl with a Voice like his own. She has no one to defend her now. The hunt is on.
But in an Inn by the sea, a boy with no tongue and no Voice gathers his warriors. Albus must find Lacey… before the Other does. And finish the work his sister, Ruby began.
Hunted is the second book in the highly acclaimed Voices series, where the battle between Good and Evil rages on. And on.
I don’t want to go into the plot in too much detail as I think that it would be all too easy to slip into spoiler territory but Hunted opens with something of a curveball. I was expecting it to pick up where Defender left off, featuring those same characters that I grew to know and love. Instead, it starts by introducing two groups of mostly new characters, one of which is led by a familiar face. Both groups are hunting Lacey – for markedly different reasons – and for the first third or so of the novel the story alternates between these two groups, introducing the key players and providing the necessary background to allow the reader to understand their motivations. I wasn’t sure what to make of this change at first, but I soon came to appreciate the shift in perspective. It gives the novel a bit of a twist, and I enjoyed getting the perspective of the bad guys. Additionally, it’s clear that certain characters introduced here have a significant role to play in the series, assuming they live long enough.
Given the need to introduce the new characters, the novel did start out a little slower than I was expecting, but there is still plenty of action as the reader comes to understand what these people have been through, and I found that the novel became increasingly tense as the two groups start getting closer to their target. This allows Lacey and friends to make their entrance later in the novel, and I loved the way in which Lacey had grown and developed since Defender. She’s so young, and this, combined with the relatively sheltered life that she’d lived before her journey began, gave her an innocent air bordering on naivety. In Hunted, I felt that she had toughened up a great deal and had become less vulnerable, and whilst this is sad in some ways, I felt that it made her a more interesting character.
As regular readers of this blog will know, I love post-apocalyptic novels, and the harsher and bleaker the world the better. This series fits the bill perfectly. Todd’s world building is second to none, and her writing style is such that I found myself completely immersed in the setting – it’s so easily to visualise the narrative as it unfolds. I really enjoyed finding out a little more about the voices in this novel, although with two instalments still to come, there are still some unanswered questions, and I’ve no real idea of where the story will head in book three, I just know that it will be brutal, and some people will die. It’s Todd, after all.
Hunted is a brilliant novel in what is proving to be a brilliant series, and I really can’t wait for book three!
Hunted is published on 31 May by Headline. Many thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read and review this title via Netgalley.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐