Author: Maria Violante
Title: Hunting the Five
Series: De la Roca Chronicles (#1)
Publisher: Airam Publications (2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.
Buy your copy: Kindle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
“Welcome to straight out of Hell.
Stripped of her memories, her name, and her power, De La Roca has spent the last three hundred years as a mercenary to pay for her release from the inferno.
When the Angel returns to offer her a bargain, five final kills in exchange for true freedom, will she be able to rise to the challenge, or will she die trying?
Hunting the Five, (28,000 words / approximately 112 pages) is the first novella in the exciting De la Roca Chronicles from Airam Publications.
This special edition comes with two sneak previews and a bonus short story!“ GoodReads’ blurb
Another hard to rate book. Please, remember that 2-stars does not mean “bad”: it just means “not particularly recommended one way or the other”.
Let me be honest: the lore behind this novella feels quite thought out, in that there seem to be several groups with conflicting interests, each of them complex enough to keep you guessing at who’s the real good guy and who you can trust at all. The system behind the demon’s powers was ingenious as well: there are two orders of powers, smaller abilities and then one particular strength, unique to each demon, that is stored as a stone somewhere in their own bodies. I liked that.
Action is not scant, either: the novella follows the mercenary De la Roca as she tries to hunt the five demons that will end her contract with Hell once and for all, so expect powerful enemies at every turn.
So, what did I not quite like?
Complicated question. The first thing that comes to mind is the slow beginning. When you have under 30.000 words to tell your story, I think you have to make sure that your opening pages pack a special punch and this was not the case. The opening scene was told in the POV of a demon not related to the main plot, for example. Some fighting scenes were very visual and original, like the one taking place inside De la Roca’s head, but others were too sketchy for my taste. Though perhaps sketchy is not the right word. Convenient, then? Take the first battle, for example – a factory full of minions and a powerful demon. She waltzes in with no plan. She starts shooting and wins the day.
Of course, she didn’t win the day alone: she always had her demon horse, which, I have to admit was one of the things I liked least about Hunting the Five. I’m a fan of horses, don’t get me wrong. They’re noble and beautiful and everything. I just could not believe in or relate to a heroine that went around in horseback and whose mount entered rooms and houses with her while being while more expressive than any other character in the story – there was a huge amount of hoof-stamping, whickering, neighing and so on.