I recently read and reviewed The Cage, the first book in this series. If you read that review (and I hope you did! ;)) you know that when I read this book or talk about it, all I can think about is this being a YA version of a Twilight Zone eposide. I don’t mean that in a bad way, only that all I can think about are aliens, robots, and cheesy campy stories.
The Hunt picks up right where The Cage left off. The teens attempted to escape The Cage but were caught… all except one. The rest were taken to new enclosures or environments that are called The Hunt. The Hunt is basically a safari type place where animals are hunted and shot for sport. The humans within this environment tend to the wounded animals bringing them back to life so they can be hunted and shot all over again. The humans not tending to the animals are treated like preforming animals, doing tricks and performing on command for some tokens. Cora is a part of The Hunt but she is also being groomed by Cassian to participate in some type of tests that if completed, she and the humans will be considered one of the smartest beings in the galaxy. It turns out that Rolf and Nok are actually put into a dollhouse type of environment for observation of the duration of the pregnancy. The aliens want to “learn” from Nok about being pregnant and gather information that they cannot learn from books. Let’s not forget Leon. He did manage to escape The Cage and he is working with another group of aliens smuggling items while trying to figure a way out.
I’m sorry, but there is just way too much going on in this story. There are so many sub-stories that I struggled to remember which one I should be paying attention to. Do I pay more attention to Cora learning to move things with her mind or do I focus more on Nok and her pregnancy? What about Leon helping a smuggling alien or Mali knowing more than she is letting on? Answer: None of these. Not of these sub stories sunk their teeth in to me. I found myself not caring what happened to anyone. They all felt like they were reading from a script: dry and stale. You want to know who I did feel the most for? The animals. The animals that were hunted for sport and the ones that were killed for trophies. That’s who I cared about.
The story of Nok and Rolf was such a strange and out of place that it felt very unnecessary. The author wants the readers to believe that this alien race was so obsession with human reproduction and gestation that they wanted to watch and “learn” from two teenagers that had horrible and traumatic upbringings? Nok was basically forced into child prostitution and Rolf was abused by his parents. These two don’t know what a normal family or normal pregnancy is so how can they be expected to teach aliens? Unreal.
Cora. Oh, Cora. Our protagonist. What a massive train wreck she is. She is at it again where she believes that she and she alone can solve the mysteries of the universe that will get everyone out of this mess. It is maddening to read over and over again that she believes that she has the answers to everything and she is The One To Save Everyone. Get over yourself, sweetheart. And there is still are the uncomfortable and ever present growing feelings for Cassian. *groan*
Let’s pause and talk about Mali for a moment. I have not liked this character from the moment she was introduced. She comes across as if she is a robot herself: no feelings or emotions yet carries deep dark secrets that are all powerful.
The pacing of this story was sooooooo slooooooooooooooow. The story felt like it went on forever and ended up going nowhere. The characters never developed and that was more frustrating than I can properly put into words. How can an author write two books of a series and the characters be in the same emotional/mental place??? Changing the scenery did not help this story at all. In fact, it felt like it made it worse. As I mentioned, splitting the characters up into sub-stories was a bad idea. Along with the multiple POVs. Those are not helping this story at all.
Overall, no, I did not enjoy this story. It made me more upset than anything. The characters kept doing stupid things over and over and expected different results. I’m all for a good sci-fi story but this just did not do it for me. I rated this 1.5 stars because this frustrated me more than anything. I kept picturing hamsters running on wheels and going nowhere fast.