Book 6: Hunted

Book Title: Hunted
Author: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Published: 2009
Pages: 323
Category: fiction: young adult, fiction: vampire

I have a confession to make.

I have a weakness.

For vampire novels…I know, I know, I’m an adult now, why am I reading vampire novels aimed at teenagers? The simple answer is I don’t know. I’ve always loved reading YA fiction, it’s a great distraction from the pressures of university or the regularity of everyday life. For the most part the genre contains compelling protagonists and intriguing plotlines, and lately the genre has been permeated by vampire novels.

Vampires seem to be everywhere these days, aside from the classic vampire genre, there has recently been a spate of vampire novels, especially for teens and preteens, in Young Adult literature, and I’ve read several of them, Twilight, The House of Night novels, Night Watch, and Happy Hour at Casa Dracula among them.

While the House of Night novels, of which Hunted is one of the latest, started out strong, in my opinion, with a main female protagonist who appeared to be much stronger and more developed than Twilight’s Bella Swan, as the novels have progressed my opinion of them has gone down abruptly.

There is a delicate balance in YA between writing a book that teens will read, and treating teens as a viable and intelligent audience. Many authors can do this without a hitch – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Scott Westerfeld come to mind in that category. But P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast have begun to write in a way that talks down to their audience, in a way that undermines the story they are trying to tell. Teenagers are smart people, and adults must treat them as such in order for them to truly come into their own. I spend a lot of time with teenagers, through Girl Guides of Canada, as well as the High School Debate Team I coach, and I have always treated those teens as equals, a respect that the Casts do not afford their readership.

One of my major pet peeves in YA fiction, is when authors assume that their readers have either not read, or have failed to retain anything from previous books, and choose to re-inform us of every detail of every character at the start of every subsequent book, as the Casts do in their opening segment, in describing the characterizations of some of the main characters:

“Oh by the way, Erin and Shaunee are soul twins, not biological, being as Erin is a blond-haired, blue-eyed Oklahoma girl and Shaunee is a caramel-coloured easterner of Jamaican descent…” (8)

Erin and Shanuee’s unique connection is discussed at the beginning of every House of Night novel, and I don’t feel they need to be. Or at least there could be a subtler way of doing this. Trust your readership to have understood your previous books, and your readership will trust you with their time.

That being said, I’ll probably read the next one when my friends, who’ve provided me with all of the previous novels, drop off the next one.

*      *     *

Next Book: A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside & The Fight for It’s Future, written by Larry Campbell, Neil Body & Lori Culbert

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4 Responses to Book 6: Hunted

  1. Katrina says:

    HDU NIGHT WATCH IS NOT YA VAMPIRES. IT’S RUSSIAN HORROR

    B& FROM LIFE

    • coincidentalreality says:

      Don’t b& me! Its not my fault that the first time I read it I gave up declaring “I’ve had enough of this Vampire Stuff!”

      The second time I tried to read it I liked it…though I didn’t read the sequel 😀

  2. Marta Acosta says:

    Hi, and thanks for mentioning my book. I know a lot of teens read my novels although I didn’t write them as YA. (I did write them as multigenerational — I don’t think a sense of humor is limited to a specific age range.)

    I understand what you’re saying about the repeated information. But series authors also have to consider the reader who picks up an individual book out of sequence. It’s a challenge informing that reader of the basic info without boring those readers already quite familiar with your storyline. (Yes, one of my friends complained to me, “But I know all that stuff so I just skipped it.” I said, “Fine.”)

    So, please don’t think of it as talking down to readers, but as trying to help new readers catch up!

    • coincidentalreality says:

      Thanks for commenting Marta! It’s great to hear your side of it.

      I do understand that sometimes readers will pick up a book in the middle of a series (although I could never do it – I always have to read everything :D) and that readers who have stuck with a series may need a refresher. In the case of the House of Night Novels, I felt that this was just so blatantly, and artlessly executed, that their readership deserved better than literally saying “Oh and by the way this, this & this.”

      Thanks for your input, hope to see you around here again!

      – Pippa

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