“The girl lies by the canal, her face turned upwards like a stargazer. But she will never see the stars again. Her eyes have been torn out. The rain fills the empty sockets until they brim over, spilling bloody tears down her cold, white cheeks..”
Hunted is a YA paranormal horror novel. This tale is told from the point of view of fourteen year old protagonist Scott Callum. Callum has always known he was different; he lives with his Gram in a small crammed cottage, sees ghosts and has amazing luck. He views himself as an outcast because of his abilities and keeps to himself. Experiences from his elementary school days, have kept him from sharing his strange gifts with anyone. Young people are being brutally murdered by the eerie “Hunter” and messages are being left in blood all over town. Strange things begin happening to Callum, the ghosts he normally sees at the Nether Marlock Church are no longer there, and instead the town is filled with even more ghosts than usual. He senses something evil is following him. He sees a strange ghost child with a huge grizzly dog and thinks they are the evil following him. He begins having dreams and premonitions. When he has a vision or senses there is danger, his hands tingle and go numb. At school, this occurs and he saves a new age Goth girl named, Melissa from death. Callum slowly learns that this quirky girl is brave, smart and not at all afraid of the supernatural. Callum and Melissa begin to search for clues about the large dog and ghost boy he has seen. Together they learn that Callum is a chime child. This is a child born beneath a full moon between midnight on Friday and the cockcrow on Saturday. They also learn that once every century, the boundary between the demon Netherworld and the human world weaken. Creatures gather, preparing to cross over, to bring death and destruction. This time is called The Shadowing. Callum must face who he is, what is hunting him, who his friends are and whether or not he wants to save the world.
The story started off slow for me, but once it took off I was completely engrossed. I loved watching Callum go from a slumped shouldered unsure teen into a more confident young man. I liked Melissa from the beginning, and wish I had been such a confident young woman in high school. The villain in this story, “the hunter”, gave me goose bumps. I wanted more details of the Netherworld, and I am hoping Slater satisfies this in the next book. The book contains a preview to the second book in this trilogy entitled The Shadowing: Skinned. This reader intends to see where Adam Slater will take this story next.
A special thank you to netGalley and Egmont USA for this advanced copy in exchange for my unbiased review. This book will be published on September 13, 2011.