Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Soul Hunt by Margaret Ronald

I reviewed the second book in this series, Wild Hunt, back in February and I've read the first book, Spiral Hunt, too. To catch us up briefly, Evie Scelan is a bike courier and "hound"--someone with the rare magical ability to trace people and things by following magical scents--in Boston (of course). At the end of the last book, she took control of the wild hunt, and made an unknown bargain with a water spirit to save her boyfriend's life. Both events come back to bite her in the butt in this book.

Soul Hunt feels like the last book in a trilogy, although it's possible there will be more books in the series. A lot of loose ends are tied up in this one.

I really liked Spiral Hunt, although I liked Wild Hunt less. While I was reading Soul Hunt, though, I stayed in a constant state of annoyed. Evie doesn't do a whole lot in this book, and the things she does do are almost all poor choices. She misses connections that are obvious, trusts people who are obviously untrustworthy, and seems to have a separate (and stricter) set of rules to live by than any of the other magic-users in the book. In other words, I found the plot more than a little contrived.

Evie herself started out in the first book as a strong character but has become more passive--not to a ridiculous degree, but definitely something that bothered me. At the beginning of the book she keeps having gray-outs when she's unable to scent or even see in color, but she doesn't do anything about it and doesn't even make the connection with her bargain in the last book. It was not exactly a big leap of logic, and she's surrounded by magic-users who could have given her a consultation at any time. That's just one example of the problems with this book. I was frustrated with Evie and with the plot, which meandered; I didn't find the ending very satisfying because Evie spends so many paragraphs explaining why she has to do what she has to do. It rang false to me.

The writing is excellent, though. I don't know if the writing in the previous books was this good and I just didn't notice, or if Ronald's getting better as she goes along. I'd like to see what she does next, although I'm kind of hoping it's not another Evie Scelan book.

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