26 pages of fast-paced urban fantasy is what we get in Hungering Shadows. Short stories can be really fun.
Hungering Shadows is a great action story about a guy who just will not give in to the demonic influences in his life. Instead he hunts them down and brings them in for their reward (with the sometimes help of Father Ralph Lawrence). In this story Alex is on the hunt for two skin walkers (demons who kill a host’s spirit and take over their body).
Bounty hunter central is on/in Haven, a place accessed through a warehouse portal. All bounties are delivered there and rewards picked up. Catching your bounty, though, can be quite challenging. Other bounty hunters can and do get in your way and Alex is no exception to that rule. But Alex lets nothing stop him and his quest for what he feels is right.
Hope you enjoy Hungering Shadows as much as I did.
“The classic pulps are oppressively masculine, chock full of male wish fulfillment. That’s all well and good for guys who want to read two-fisted tales of adventure. But where are the ladies to turn? Well, now they have something to scratch that itch.”
It is true that the fantasy pulp market has been mainly written by and probably for males. While using many of the same tools as the masculine species in her writing, Maria Violante has managed to give her protagonist, De La Roca, her own twist. There is plenty of violence in Hunting the Five but is wholly appropriate in its setting.
I do not understand why some reviewers have found the first chapter out of place. Perhaps it has been changed since the time of their reviews or perhaps I just feel differently about her need to get her gun back. Her methods of achieving her goals are anything but gentle but extremely effective.
Alsvior is a fascinating creature. While we see that he has interesting talents there is also a feeling of mystery left behind by the story. Lots of questions in my mind about that horse.
What would it be like to have had to be a mercenary for the Angel for three centuries? 300 years seems an awful long time to pay for whatever you might have done but being told that she has only five kills left before her stay in Hell is over seems like a set-up to me. Something just seems off about that.
De La Roca is something as strange as a demon killing demons for Heaven. How weird is that? She has been told that she is a demon by her personal Angel. Could be, but then again what role would Alsivor play in all of this as he is a tool from heaven. Lots and lots of questions. To me De La Roca seems like a bounty hunter with her soul as the reward for her kills.
Another reviewer felt a Mexican vibe a là Antonio Banderas. That could be. His part in the Mariachi trilogy certain was gritty enough. I think that is what I liked so much about Hunting the Five. Dark and gritty and plenty of action is important ingredients in a novel like this. Hunting the Five is also easy to read. Maria Violante manages to keep herself in the flow for the most part. There are some places where she falls out of it but she manages to pull herself back in.
122 pages isn’t a whole lot but Hunting the Five is after all billed as a novella. Thankfully you can pack a whole lot of fun into 122 pages and Maria Violante has managed to do that.