Review: Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger (Execution Underground #0.5)
June 25 2013
Received from author
Yummy Man – Damon Brock
Kick Ass Chick – Tiffany Solow
From Goodreadds –
Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs… and their newfound hearts.
Shadow Hunter is the prequel novella for Kait Ballenger’s new Execution Underground series. This series will focus on human men who have been chosen and trained to police the supernaturals that live among us. In Kait’s world, paranormal creatures are not pleasant. They are not frolicking in the meadow and picking wild flowers nor are they playing tag with children in the local public park. No. They are nasty evil pieces of work that don’t think twice about killing innocent humans. They are also still hidden from us. And that is why the Execution Underground exists: to make sure they stay hidden and to make sure they don’t kill for the hell of it.
The novella follows Damon, a vampire hunter. His partner and best friend Mark was killed by a vampire recently and Damon wants revenge. He ends up in Rochester. But he isn’t the only one who is there tracking the killer of a loved one – Tiffany, Mark’s sister, is there too.
When you become a member of Execution Underground, they suggest you start writing to someone you don’t know but could create a connection with in order to keep you grounded and positive. What you are going to see as an EU officer is not pretty so ‘keeping it real’ is very important. Mark suggested to Damon that he writes to his sister. Damon doesn’t love the idea but he knows he has to write to someone…so he writes to Tiffany. Through letters, Damon (who is VERY closed off from everyone) opens up. And even though Tiffany and Damon have never met, they grow close via the letters.
What else do you need to know about this story? Damon blames himself for Mark’s death and Tiffany blames him too. She has not written to him since her brother’s death. Damon has seen a photo of Tiffany so he recognizes her when he sees her but she has no idea who he is. As you can see, that right there is enough to create quite a bit of drama. And boy does it ever.
I found the author conveyed Damon’s guilt and need for revenge very well but after a while, it was a bit much. Often he thought about how he didn’t deserve Tiffany and shouldn’t want her because she was Mark’s baby sister. Often he thought himself worthless because he let his partner die. Over and over and over these thoughts enter his mind. Understandable, but I didn’t feel it was necessary to repeat it so often. It grew a bit tiresome.
Because of that, I had trouble fully falling for Damon. I did like him, quite a bit actually, yet after hearing ‘woe is me’ so often he lost some of his appeal. But he is a very interesting character and I know that he will be appearing in each and every book in the series and am thinking that is not such a bad thing.
Tiffany was a good character but I didn’t quite click with her either. There isn’t really a reason for it – I just didn’t. But she is Damon’s HEA and even though we only see how they finally come together six books from now, we hear how it all begins and we witness probably the biggest challenge these two will have to face in their lifetime. We witness what will be the reason for Damon’s attitude in the full-length books. And let me tell you, that we witness…whoa!
This novella ends with a super duper humongous cliffhanger. I am talking huge! I was shocked when I read it. Not only because of what it was but because it was a cliffhanger…at the end of a prequel novella! Now apparently what happens will not be referred to in the series until the last book so you won’t feel lost if you decide to skip this one and just go straight to the first full book. But if you do read Shadow Hunter you will gain more of an insight than others.
There was a storyline apart from Damon and Tiffany seeking revenge. There are zombie-vampires eating people. Yes, you read right. It’s a pretty gnarly plot and very interesting how it plays out. And who is behind it is quite surprising.
Overall, I found this prequel did what it was supposed to do: it got me interested in the series and left me very curious to see where the story goes. We learn why Damon needs a team and we get a quick rundown of said team members. These are the guys who will become the heroes in the series and they sound like they will make interesting leads. I am curious to see how Kait spins her tales. It all starts with Twilight Hunter, which releases August 27th 2013. If this sneak peek is any indication, fans of paranormal romance should enjoy this series.