Hunter By BloodRating: 2.75 stars
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Length: Short Story

Werewolf hunter Kayn is in pursuit of a werewolf when he is bitten by his prey. Found by another hunter, the injured Kayn is returned to headquarters to shift and meet his fate. But there is something different about Kayn. The transformation isn’t normal. Kayn can control the wolf and its hunger. Kayn is also much bigger and a different color than was expected. The leader of the Hunters lets Kayn live and his decision has long lasting ramifications for all. For the answer to Kayn’s transition and the new werewolf he has become is hidden in plain sight. Behind the red door in the Hunter Headquarters lies the answers Kayn needs and his future requires.

Well, all I can say is that its just too bad that so many neat ideas ended up in such an unpolished and underwhelming story. I love werewolf stories and the author has some intriguing elements she has created for Hunter by Blood. Unfortunately she has buried it in a morass of confused storylines, a lack of any sort of universe building, frustrating disconnected plot threads, and lack of defined characterizations. Everything about this story is as murky as its cover. From the start, we have no information about the universe we are reading about. We learn nothing about the city and society. Ditto about the band of hunters killing the werewolves. And sometimes vampires? We don’t know anything because the story lays no foundations for anything. It’s just confusing.

Equally confusing are the relationships among the men we meet. Or the people we meet, some might be men and some are…..something else? Not human? Again, we just don’t know. Kayn and another hunter, Bryce, arrived to join the Hunters on the same day (which according to the story is odd, but it never explains why). Since that moment, the men have competed (in what, again we don’t know) and have been at odds ever since. Or have they? Kayn has dark coloring and Bryce is his exact opposite. What does that mean if anything? Kaye’s wolf shape is white with red stripes when he should be black. Again why?

At certain points in the story it’s mentioned that Kayn and Bryce might have feelings towards each other, but as we aren’t supplied with any history or evidence of such, it turned into a throwaway line until it reappeared towards the end. The Hunter group appears to have been created along the lines of the French Foreign Legion where each person leaves their family and past behind. Only the author keeps bringing Kayn’s past up, although without any details, just vague references to some family ties that make him an even better hunter. Trust me, after 20 pages or so, I was frustrated beyond belief at the lack of details so that rather than being a great mystery, it instead turned into a pain.

Here is an example with Aaron, the head of the Hunter group, in his rooms when a demon appears floating at his head. sigh:

“I haven’t seen you this nervous in quite a while, Aaron.”

The voice seemed to come from nowhere, and something like smoke seemed to rise from the shadows. Aaron sighed quietly, but he smiled as the smoke formed into something he often compared to a snake covered in fur and and infused with a very talkative personality. Biblios, a word demon, had been one of his few trusted companions for quite some time and was always offering his advice. The other hunters didn’t know about the strange creature, and for that Aaron was grateful. His long, sleek body curled up on top of Aaron’s desk, silver runes glowing in his dark fur. Biblios seemed to have recently digested, in his way, a story once again. The way it worked was a riddle to Aaron, but it wasn’t of concern for the moment. He needed to talk about his current situation to someone, and Biblios was just the right … entity to talk to.

“You are worrying about Kayn’s condition, correct?”

“Yes. It should be impossible for him to even think rationally any longer, yet he stood before me and even talked about his worries about what the infection might entail for him.” Aaron tilted his head to one side. “I simply don’t understand it.” ”

Well …” Biblios exhaled, a cloud of silver-white smoke coming from his nostrils. “That is a mystery indeed. We already know that there’s a multitude of different werewolves out there, every single of those variants with very specific attributes and abilities. But what we see happening with Kayn might be a completely new species, without any ties to a werewolf.”

Aaron shook his head. “No, Biblios, that strains credulity too far. He was bitten by a werewolf. There is no doubt he will— well, you know …”

No we don’t know and quite frankly neither do they. Although I have to admit I liked Biblios, a word demon who eats words likes others eat hamburger. He is a neat creation, quite wasted in this story. But liking a segment here or an element there doesn’t add up to liking this story. For me, it just doesn’t work on even the most basic of levels. So I am giving this werewolf tale a fail. You should too.

Cover design by London Burden.

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