Book Title: Hunted
Author: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
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.
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Next Book: A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside & The Fight for It’s Future, written by Larry Campbell, Neil Body & Lori Culbert