Review: The Hunt by Chloe Neill

The Hunt by Chloe Neill (Devil’s Isle #3)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Berkeley on September 26, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires Novels–the hunter becomes the hunted in a New Orleans devastated by a Paranormal war….

  

With THE HUNT, Chloe Neill takes us back into the near-future warzone of New Orleans after a conflict between Paranormals and humans almost destroyed them both. This series has intriguing world building and an atmospheric Southern setting, but throughout the series I’ve struggled to connect with the characters; I’m sad to say that issue persists in THE HUNT, and I found both the character development and the plot somewhat agonizing.

After Paras came through the veil separating their world from ours, society has completely shifted. The Southern United States are functionally run as a police state, with a military branch known as Containment running the show. Containment works to keep order and facilitate access to scarce resources…but they’re also responsible for imprisoning Paras in Devil’s Isle, a prison city at the heart of New Orleans. Containment’s anti-magic agenda also extends to Sensitives, humans whose continued exposure to the magical fallout from the war has resulted in the development of magics of their own. Devil’s Isle, the Southern feel, and the complexities (moral and logistical) of Containment have always been my favourite parts of this series; seeing them through the eyes of protagonist Claire Connolly, Sensitive and friend to Paras, is compelling, particularly her reflections on the treatment of magic users.

Claire and the gang venture away from New Orleans in THE HUNT, journeying into the Bayou to track down a friend who’s gone missing…and stands accused of murdering a Containment agent. Although I did miss the glimpses into NOLA and Devil’s Isle, it was fun reading about how people have drifted off the grid and made new lives for themselves out in the swamps. From trapping fish and shooting gators to sharing generators between families to ensure everyone has power, the setting is rich with detail and adds a lot to the subsistence culture of life after the war. It was also nice to see the typical character pairings shaken up a bit, as Claire spends most of her time with bounty-hunter Gavin Quinn and Para general Malachi rather than her typical partner in crime, Liam. It’s always interesting to see how different characters play off one another!

Unfortunately, this shakeup wasn’t enough to add interest to the story for me. Almost nothing of note happens in the first 60%  of THE HUNT, and I find myself growing increasingly bored with “travel from point A to point B” story lines. I also think the personalities of our main cast are pretty bland and their relationships unremarkable. I know that I’m supposed to feel gutted about the relationship drama between Claire and her maybe-boyfriend Liam, but honestly I don’t really care for either of them. Claire is kind but tough, and she’s got a good head on her shoulders, but she doesn’t have that X-factor that sets her apart from any other likable protagonist. As for Liam, I find his broody attitude and macho behaviour absolutely insufferable. Your mileage may vary though, since I know that many readers love Claire and Liam — and their relationship. Thankfully the secondary characters are more interesting, and both Malachi and the Para computer-hacker Moses are intriguing and funny.

Readers who’re looking for darker, more serious urban fantasy may find success with the Devil’s Isle series…and of course anyone who likes a story set in NOLA should give it a try. After reading THE HUNT, I’m convinced that the tone and style of the series isn’t a good match for my reading preferences, and I won’t be continuing with the series.

Have you read anything by Chloe Neill? At what point do you decide to stop reading a series that no longer works for you? Let me know in the comments!

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  • MaddalenaSpaceandSorcery

    Urban Fantasy is a difficult “beast” to tame, indeed, and when it lacks interesting character relationships and a solid, intriguing story, it usually ends up feeling bland. I hope you find something more to your liking in your next “adventure” 🙂

    • It certainly is! In my opinion, no opinion of good world building and a strong setting can compensate for interesting characters. I’m sure this series is a good fit for some readers, but not for me! On to the next adventure… 😀

  • NOthing happens? That is a long time to read without anything happening

  • Karen

    Doubt this one is for me but I have several friends I can recommend it to.

    For What It’s Worth

  • New Orleans always makes a great setting, and it sounds like the author uses the setting really well, but I’m sorry you’re not connecting with the characters :-/

    • I looooove anything set in New Orleans! It’s my favourite city in the US. Unfortunately the characters aren’t my speed at all, so it looks like this series and I will be parting ways.

  • Hmmm, I haven’t read this series, but I get the feeling that the “point A to point B” aspect might turn me off of it.

    • For some reason the whole journey from one place to another plot line seems to be rampant in fantasy novels, which is too bad because it’s so unoriginal!

  • Somehow I’ve fallen behind on this series, even though I really liked the first one. Just too many books and series to follow! Sorry to hear things fizzled for you, now I’m not feeling as bad about not being caught up. I have a feeling I’ll feel the same way.

    • I really liked the first one too — I thought it had a lot of promise! And who doesn’t love a NOLA setting? While I know lots of people are still loving this series, it’s definitely not for me; I’m not interested in reading about characters I can’t connect to anymore.

  • Greg Hill

    It does have an interesting premise- the whole Containment thing is kinda cool- but sorry to hear the characters aren’t really working for you. It does sound like not enough happens, especially early on, and the lack of spark with the characters can be tough to get around. With so many UF series out there, there’s probably plenty that have a stronger set of characters. I’m always on the lookout for a UF series to try, and I’ve seen Chloe Neill’s books around of course, so it’s good to see this review.

    • You’re so right Greg, there are just way too many urban fantasy series out there to waste time and energy on one I’m not really that invested in. Even if it *is* set in New Orleans, hahaha. Thankfully there’s no shortage of other UF series for me to try instead! I did really enjoy the first in Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series when I read it (although that was years ago) so that one might be a better one to start with!

  • She’s one of those authors I always wanted to try but never got around to. Perhaps I should start with a different one though lol

    • Personally, I remember quite liking the first Chicagoland Vampires book when I read it! Although that was way back in the day, so don’t blame me if it’s not up to par 🙈😂

  • You convinced me with the first book of this series to give it a chance, I do love NOLA in my books but that wasn’t enough to keep me interested. It was very much a meh urban fantasy and since I’ve not read all that many books in the genre I’ll spend my time on other series instead.

    Sorry to hear that the book begins very slow and you couldn’t even get invested in the romance. The world itself does sound brilliant and although I was crazy confused remembering everything but it was very well thought out.

    I personally give up as soon as I lose interest in a series… but I sometimes give one book more a chance just in case. But I am swift to DNF.

    • NOLA will always be my weakness when it comes to settings! I just can’t resist it. There are definitely way better urban fantasy books out there to try. I’m actually listening to The Rook on audio right now and it’s soooo good!

      It was so slow! I will say that the last quarter was pretty good, but that doesn’t exactly even everything out, you know? The world is so good though! I’m sad that this series isn’t working for me anymore.

      I used to stick it out for a few books even when I was feeling burned out on series, but no longer. I ain’t got time for that anymore! Embracing the DNF has been an important part of my reading year, haha.

      • I know, I’m the same. We all have them, though. And The Rook! I still need to read the second book but I loved that book.

        It sucks when a series stops working for you when you’ve committed to part of it already. It happens, though, it’s like you grow out of the books but it’s more your tastes change (or the writing does).

        Embracing DNF is a good thing, no one has time for bad books anymore.

  • I love it how you have an icon for “special snowflake” 😀

  • Lynn Williams

    I’ve not read this series and tbh this one doesn’t really appeal either. I’m a little off travel from A to B storylines too I think.
    Lynn 😀

    • No arguments here! I’m getting much better about abandoning series when they no longer interest me, and I think this one is a case of bookish “it’s not you, it’s me.”

  • Well this is a bummer. I liked the first book but the second one was a bit of a letdown. I just downloaded this audiobook yesterday and I was hoping it ended on a strong note. I loooove her Chicagoland Vampires series so I’m sad this one wasn’t as good.