Review: Hunting Season by Annie Bellet

Reviewed by Joanna

Jade and Alek are just getting down to business after Jade rids her comic book store of a plague of cockroaches sent by the witches, when there comes a knock at the door. Seriously Jade, go stay somewhere else every now and again. Get some down time and snuggle with your big hunk of tiger man. Lord knows I’d read a novella on that alone. Anyhow, I digress. The visitor needs help with a badly injured unicorn, and our favourite sorceress can’t say no.

This is the fourth in the UF series I’ve been enjoying and Jade is still learning the extent of her powers, becoming more formidable by the book. I’m invested in Jade. I like her and I want her to succeed in securing the safe and quiet life she badly wants. And the nerdy references have me cheering. I love this. Firefly! Dragonball!

In this novella Jade has to work with and protect Tess, another protégé of Samir’s (evil ex) and a woman she doesn’t know if she can trust. This adds a further dimension to her character, and it means this former loner is creating a formidible network of friends and associates. You can imagine how hella useful this will be when the big bad ex turns up to eat her heart out (literally).

In the meantime, bad things are afoot in the wild country the unicorns live in. A Druid named Yosemite (by Jade) needs her help too. In order to counteract the dying countryside, he needs to perform a ritual, but both the book and the language said ritual are in are not straightforward. Luckily Jade can read all languages and a road trip takes care of the other issue.

But not all is smooth on the path to performing the damn thing. Another sorcerer is out to cause mischief (again with the heart-eating, ew) and Jade needs to regroup with her friends and prepare for another big fight. There are giant turtles. It’s cool.

I’ve noticed something about these stories which I don’t think is a good thing – but whether it’s me or them, I’m unsure. When I get to the big fight sequence near the last chunk of the book, I lose interest. I dropped this one for weeks before I returned to finish the last fifth. Even when I forced myself to finally finish this tonight, I struggled with maintaining focus. I guess I find fights dull.

Still, I’ve built up a fair amount of anticipation for the coming of Samir. I’m interested to know more about this guy, his motivations and personality. I’m guessing there’s more to him than Kill Jade Get More Power, and I’m hoping thisfight engages me more.

Books 1-4 are called Level: Grind, in reference to the gaming Jade and co love, where you practice your skills to build up to the boss level. Based on the trials she’s had so far, Jade is aiming for the fight of her life.

There’s lots to like here. Jade and Alek are an awesome couple. They’ve discovered love without drama, though there’s still a bit of development for them to go before they are perfectly in sync and have each other’s backs. Harper, her foxy friend, is her usual funny self, and Ezee gets some (implied) relationship action with someone he can’t keep. It’s sad and a bit poignant.

Book eight has just been released, so if you like short UFs (c. 200 pages) with a little gore, a little love and friendship plus some cool powers in both magic and geekery, this series could be for you.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

Hunting Season
by Annie Bellet
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Doomed Muse Press

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