Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hunter's Salvation by Shiloh Walker


Shiloh Walker - The Hunters series - listed in suggested reading order:

Ellora’s Cave (although most are now available in print. Check Shiloh's website for what forms and sources all the books are available in):
1. The Hunters: Declan & Tori
2. The Hunters: Eli & Sarel
3. The Hunters: Byron & Kit
4. The Hunters: Jonathan & Lori
5. The Hunters: Ben & Shadoe
6. The Hunters: Rafe & Sheila
7. The Hunters: I’ll Be Hunting You - Declan & Tori's sequel

Amazon, etc. (Berkley):
Hunting the Hunter - Kane & Kendall
The Blood Kiss - Hot Spell anthology with Holly, Leigh, and Brook - Roman & Julianna

Samhain and Amazon:
Legends: Hunters and Heroes - Matthew & Rachel (Hunter’s prequel part 1); Duncan & Kennedy; Malachi (Part I, prequel part 2)
Hunters: Heart and Soul - Mike and Leandra; Malachi (Part II) and Kelsey

Amazon, etc. (Berkley):
Hunter's Salvation - Vax & Jess

Series Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 7” out of 9”

Book Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 6” out of 9”

Hunter’s Salvation can probably be read as a standalone, just understand that there are a couple of scenes that involve Hunters from previous books that you will get the gist of, but you won’t know those characters' full back story. But, as I said in my previous commentary, since I KNOW you won’t be able to stop at just one, you might as well read them all anyway. And I’m not even going to try and comment further on this book as a standalone, I’ll leave that to the “real” reviewers. I’m a fangirl of the series and that’s the only way I can discuss it.

Right about now, Karen Scott would use the phrase “I love them like a fat kid loves cake” but that phrase just doesn‘t REALLY convey the scope of their appeal. Nope, I love this series like a menopausal woman loves Peanut M&Ms. Trust me, most days, they are all that stands between me and complete hormonal meltdown. A handful of those little life savers and all is right in my world again. Really, they should throw out all those medical studies and just prescribe Peanut M&Ms. *headslap* Oops...Okay, back to the Hunters- did I mention that Hunter‘s Salvation is VAX‘s story?! *swoon*.

I’m fairly certain that Shiloh Walker brought home kindergarten report cards with comments on them like “colors outside the lines” and “runs with scissors”. Now she has apparently decided to toss out entire sections of the Paranormal Romance Rulebook. Through most of the Hunters series, she only broke the “Heroines must be LESS kick-butt than the heroes” Rule and merely BENT a few of the other rules. And we, her Readers, let her get away with it. This only seemed to encourage her though and, with the last few books, she has now flatly refused to do what is expected of a Paranormal Romance Author! Oh, she stills follows a few of the most important rules- heroines must have strong voices, heroes must be swoon worthy, sex must be sizzling’, and you absolutely MUST give the story an HEA. But those are apparently the ONLY Rules that Shiloh seems to think she needs to follow. Here’s just a few of her infractions…

In The Hunter’s: I’ll Be Hunting You, she killed off one of my favorite heroes, Declan (from book 1), right at the beginning of the book. That’s not in the Rules, Shiloh! Then, she refused to let me know where she was going with the rest of the story until the final ending and HEA! What’s up with that? No way has she read the Rulebook!

Oh, and let’s discuss the way she’s tossed out the entire Genre Standards section of the Rules! Paranormal Romances have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Urban Fantasies have continuing story arcs that span multiple books. You can’t do both, Shiloh- it says so right in the Rules, if you’d ever bother to read them! But, Nooooo, not Shiloh. She gives us the first part of Malachi’s story in Legends: Hunter’s and Heroes and makes sure that, instead of merely waiting for Mal to find a heroine who will bring him to his knees, we yearn for Mal to find peace, happiness and healing, too.

Then she doesn’t give us the rest of Malachi's story until the second novella in Hunters: Heart and Soul! And, in THAT book, her flagrant disregard of the Rules is just shocking! First of all, novellas should each contain only one story- the hero and heroine’s. The Rules clearly state that you should NOT start a secondary story in one novella and continue it into the next. And they CERTAINLY do not allow this secondary story to start off completely innocuous and gradually develop into a brilliant, series changing climax by the end of the second novella! RULES, Shiloh, they exist for a reason! How are we supposed to concentrate on the hero and heroine’s story when you insist on involving them in secondary stories that keep us just as engrossed as the main story?!

Which brings us to Vax (*swoon*). The Rules state that the hero must be the most swoon worthy male in a story. And they most emphatically state that, when your hero is an uber powerful, mysterious alpha like Malachi, the heroine must be the ONLY character not intimidated by him. Yet, in Hunters: Heart and Soul, Shiloh involves Vax in Mal and Kelsey’s story and ignores BOTH those Rules! Therefore, the Reader develops conflicting hero lust and is even more unsettled when the “Only the hero can save the heroine’’ Rule gets tossed out, too! Shouldn't someone try to stop Shiloh's insurrection?!

In Hunter’s Salvation, we learn why Vax, a powerful witch and one of the best Hunters, left the Hunters decades ago. As I recall, the Rulebook states that heroes walk away from their previous life ONLY for angst filled, drama queen reasons. There is no mention in the Rules that the hero walks away because his honor and duty force him to commit a horrifying and heart shattering act!

And now, he doesn’t even WANT to rush in and save the day, he‘d rather someone else did it. He’s a hero, dammit, he’s not supposed to be reluctant! Then, Shiloh has the audacity to pair Vax with Jess, a heroine whose will to live is sustained only by her need for revenge and who WANTS to die once she has that revenge. The Rules clearly state that only ONE of the main characters’ souls must need saving, Shiloh, not BOTH of them!

But there’s one thing that Jess is absolutely right about- the psychopathic villains in Hunter’s Salvation just plain need killing. And Shiloh doesn’t spare the Reader the horrors of their heinous acts. In fact, Jess’s younger sister is one of their victims and we learn all the gut wrenching details of what they did to her and the other women. It even becomes UNDERSTANDABLE that Jess would not want to live because she’s so haunted by that knowledge. No, Shiloh doesn’t spare us. We are horrified by the villains’ sanguinary attitudes toward torture, rape and death.

Shiloh is not done with her Rule breaking, though. We ALL know what the Rules say about HEAs between a human and non-human. There is an entire section of the Rulebook devoted to the accepted scenarios for an HEA in these relationships. Shiloh, of course, can’t let a little thing like Rules dictate the ending to Vax and Jess’s story. Listen, I’ve read the Rules, and I knew the whole way through the book how it would end. In fact, as the story unfolded, I was sure EXACTLY HOW she would bring about that ending. But Ms. Shiloh “I don’t need no stinking rules” Walker just couldn’t be bothered to do what I expected. And to top it all off, she broke that “Only the hero can save the heroine” Rule AGAIN! Heroine’s are NOT supposed to rescue the heroes, dammit!

By the way, Shiloh, the Paranormal Romance Rulebook has very clear guidelines about world building. Authors must either stick with their original world rules, or else change them on a whim to fit their current storyline. NOWHERE in those guidelines does it say anything about creating believable, logical secondary storylines that expand the world you created. So, what did you do? Well, first you came up with both legitimate and clandestine scientific studies that may eventually lead to an explanation for non-human magic. THEN you give us a heroine who is part of a human family that possesses non-magical mental powers similar to your magic-based non-humans’ powers! And, if that’s not enough, the human family knows about the Hunters, but you don’t tell us how or why!! Authors have been slapped upside the head with mackerels for doing less!

But I think I’m onto you now, Shiloh. You have a guileful plan to bring that storyline into play in the future, don’t you? In fact, since Vax and Jess’ HEA gives them little reason to be involved in future books, the mystery of her family will bring them back to us again, won’t it? I can't even GUESS where that cunning muse of yours will take us with THAT story arc! And knowing you, you’ll just use that as a blatant excuse to break MORE Rules and expand the boundaries of the Hunters’ world even further!

Geesh! The Paranormal Romance Rulebook exists for a reason, Shiloh. What will the industry come to if authors start making willy-nilly decisions to create sizzling, genre-crossing, complex, multi-dimensional paranormal storylines with non-conventional heroes and kick-butt heroines that refuse to do what is expected of them?! Do you honestly think Readers are going to want unique, unpredictable stories like THAT?!


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Piquant Opines: RJ, RT, Gwen,

7 comments:

indianshawls said...

nice blog

QB said...

Well, thank you Indianshawls! Please come back and visit again!

Devon said...

Okay I'm sold. Will be giving this author a try.

Gwen said...

SPOILER ALERT!! DO NOT READ THIS COMMENT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW!

Hey - what do you suppose that Vax will eventually develop SUPER powers or become a pseudo-shapeshifter as a result of the drug that made him, you know.

QB said...

Devon, that just made me all kinds of happy to read that. I'm looking forward to reading your comments.

*SPOILER ALERT*
Gwen, I assumed that now Vax was no longer... what he was. After it didn't end the way I thought, I then thought Shiloh was going to go the "Super Vax" direction, too. Now, I wouldn't take bets on where Shiloh is going to take things!

Shoot, it's really hard to discuss it without giving things away, isn't it?!

Shiloh " I don't need no stinking rules" Walker said...

I'm trying to decide if I'm going to laugh or preen.

:P

shoot, I can do both.

Bev, I'm glad you like the books... uh, well at least that's my interpretation . :P But Shiloh rarely knows what Shiloh is going to do next so I hope you don't think you can get answers out of me.

But I can answer one thing, how Jess's family knew about the Hunters. I'll have to expand on that more in future books but that answer is fairly easy. We know about the FBI although most of us don't have dealings with them. Likewise, gifted mortals in the Hunters world are aware of the Hunters...their police, basically. Even if they have little to no interaction with them, most people that have 'familial' gifts know about them.

And now I'm going to go post a link to this so people can read about my genius. :P

QB said...

This just in:

Author Shiloh "I don't need no stinking rules" Walker, while referring to herself in the third person, would neither confirm nor deny future appearances of Vax or Jess in future Hunters novels.

She further went on to deliver a plausible explanation for mysterious events in her recent book, Hunter's Salvation, while tantalizing her impatient readers by hinting at future human involvement in her stories.

;p