Abel Simpson has spent his entire life living in a religious enclave closed off from the rest of society. Sickened by the abuses he has witnessed, Abel isn’t sure how to leave, or if he even can. And then with the arrival of Gustav Markov, an intense and dangerous man, overnight Abel’s world is radically upended.
As a vampire, Gustav has been around for a long time and he’s made more than a few bad decisions. It’s one of the reasons he chooses to serve as a Hunter now. When he is sent to deal with a dangerous entity dwelling in a remote religious sect, he never expects to find his life mate or to have his centuries-old mistake suddenly threaten his newfound his happiness. As Gustav and Abel struggle to stay one step ahead of old enemies, they must find a way to bond and become a united couple.
The Hunter and the Cultist is the first in the new Hunter X Slayer series and, while the premise is intriguing, the plot was something of an unholy mess.
Abel and Gustav are compelling as a couple, in as much as they’re allowed to develop. Because this book relies on the concept of fated mates, there is a strong measure of instalove or, at the very least, insta-affection at play. Both men are sort of thrown together and Abel especially just ends up accepting whatever happens. Which doesn’t create much tension or allow for personal growth, but is sweet in its own way.
The plot to The Hunter and the Cultist is almost manic in its pacing and development. Huge revelations or action sequences take place over a couple pages and then move on, which gave me no chance to process what was happening. Abel and Gustav rescue a child and, a handful of pages later, the kid is calling them Papa and they’re one happy family. What? Everybody seems to get kidnapped, hurt, or generally traumatized at some point and most of these injuries are shrugged off within a couple paragraphs. All of these events, which could have served as moments of character development or as plot enrichment, just ended up feeling rote and mechanic. It’s as if the characters were forced to propel themselves from one event to the next with only the surface of a storyline as support. The plot as a whole read as clunky and unrefined. Which is a shame, because I believe the overall idea of The Hunter and the Cultist is an interesting one. My last issue is a minor one, but it bothered me a lot. The author has the tendency to capitalize words to stress their importance, for example Life Mates and Green Lit. These capitalizations aren’t in any way necessary and end up seeming a bit ridiculous due to their frequency.
In the end, I struggled with The Hunter and the Cultist. On the one hand, the book has adequate characters and an intriguing premise. On the other hand, the plot was sloppy and chaotic and failed to evolve beyond the very basic. There is another in the series out soon, The Slayer and the Spy, so I may give it a read and wait to see if things improve with this series or if they remain the same. For now, I’d only recommend The Hunter and the Cultist to die hard fans of vampire romances.