Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Sinister Hunger has been on my TBR list for a while and so what better time to move it forward than during Joyfully Jay’s Self-Published Book Week of the 2018 Reading Challenge Month? Sinister Hunger by Katze Snow is not your typical paranormal. First off, there is no HEA, primarily due to the fact that it ends in a bit of a cliffhanger—not one that will make you gnash your teeth in frustration, but one that will definitely make you want the next installment. Secondly, there really isn’t a romance here. Instead, there is a solid start of a story that was pretty captivating, as well as fascinating characters–some of whom are difficult to like and others who will break your heart. The story also introduces the reader to a new world, one that is decidedly dark and violent where it’s unclear who can be trusted and bargains are struck that will force many to sell their souls in order to survive. That is where we will begin, with a man who gives up everything in order to make sure those who depend on him have a chance at something more than mere survival.
Vincent Hudson has been a vampire hunter since he can remember. Once upon a time, he had a beautiful wife and son and despite their hand to mouth existence once the world turned upside down, they were happy. But each day was fraught with danger for a dusk hunter such as Vincent who never rested for fear the vampires would attack their compound. Unlike some, he and his rag tag family opposed the political powers that created Sanctuary Hope. There life was supposed to be better, lives made richer by the opportunities the City offered. However, there is a dark underbelly to Sanctuary Hope, for success (read survival) is based on each family offering up a member to be on the city council—a euphemism for essentially being sold into slavery. Once a “council member,” a person’s very identity can be erased and they are to follow a set of rigid rules, the most important one being they are to obey their new masters.
After a raid by a first born vamp and the death of his wife and son, this is the life Vincent embraces in order to keep the rest of his group safe. Little does Vincent or anyone else realize that Sanctuary Hope, as well as the other sanctuary cities, are all run by vampires—very strong and bloodthirsty vampires. Now he has been given to the vamp who runs the city and who will make his life a living hell.
Okay, let me begin by saying: HEED THE TRIGGER WARNINGS—every one of them. This is not a book for the faint of heart, nor for someone who thinks a little dark side to their m/m paranormal is fine. This novel is intense, disturbing, and gritty. There is one scene in particular near the beginning of the book with a side character that is exceptionally disturbing and nearly made me put this book aside. There is also a rape further along that left me rather shaken, but what was most intense about this story was the psychological cat and mouse warfare Vincent endured at the hands of Maddox. The near feral vampire who let his cool, civilized demeanor drop as soon as the sun went down didn’t simply want Vincent compliant and servile, he wanted him broken and needy—something Vincent fought tooth and nail. There was a near relentless barrage of disturbing scenarios each featuring Vincent who had given up every semblance of a free life in order to secure a basic standard of living for those in his care, those who survived the vampire attack and explosion that destroyed their compound outside the city.
Vincent seeped into my very veins as I prayed that somehow he would endure the torture his life had become. This was some excellent writing—this ability to hold the reader captive despite the first third of this novel being a bit off in its pacing and a bit laborious when it came to establishing this new post-apocalyptic world. I encourage you to muscle through the beginning chapters because after that the story takes on an almost hypnotic quality that I could not turn away from. Yes, I hated Maddox and cannot begin to see how author Katze Snow will redeem him, yet I am fairly sure given the textual clues that he and Vincent are going to become closer to each other and not just because he holds the lives of Vincent and his friends in his cold, dead hands.
Sinister Hunger was a mindfuck from beginning to end. Take everything you know and like about paranormal vampire stories and park it at the door because this is a different ride altogether. You will gasp in shock, wonder why you are still reading the book, and yet be mesmerized by the story that unfolds. Sign me up for the sequel—this story has to have some kind of redemption—honestly, one can only hope it will.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self-Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of the great prize packs of self-published books donated by some very generous authors. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a Kindle Fire filled with Dreamspun Desires/Beyond books, plus a 3-month subscription!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Self-Published Book Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize.