Hunterland / Dana Claire / Book Review

Falkville Falls High is like every other small town high school: insular, full of cliques, and plagued by a string of teacher suicides. Actually, that last one isn't quite so typical. When these so-called suicides catch the attention of the Hunterland community, they send a local unit out to investigate. Enter Liam Hunter.

Liam Hunter has been keeping vampires, ghosts, and wicked witches at bay since he was old enough to talk, but he's never been on a job quite like this one. Especially because local sheriff's daughter Olivia Davis keeps getting in his way--and on his nerves. Liam deals with monsters, not people. But Olivia has always protected her family, her father and her younger sister both. She might not know as much as Liam does--like about the existence of monsters, for example--but that won't stop her from doing whatever she can to keep her little family unit safe, even against a world she doesn't understand. 


I wanted to like this one. In fact, I wanted to love this one. But the characters were flat, the witty banter wasn't there, and the emotions were all over the place (in a bad way). The worldbuilding was wacky, which is fine when you have the characters to back it up. But the characters just weren't there for this one. 


  • Casual Tone: This book is light reading, fun and fast-paced. It's the kind of book that sucks you in based on the clip of the writing alone. There's no need to dig in and dissect. It's a rollercoaster, ready to sweep you off your feet. It's perfectly escapist.
  • So Many Monsters: What I really loved about the early seasons of CW's Supernatural proves true here: the world is just full of monsters. Beasts galore creep through these shadows, right under the noses of unsuspecting civilians. Werewolves and vampires, ghosts and witches: everything exists beneath the surface of the mundane real world. All you need to do is watch for these beasts to come creeping from the back alleys and hidden places. 
  • Witchy Healer: You know who don't get enough representation on the page? Witchy girls. Girls who are into herbs and crystal, chakras and astrological signs. But Olivia is just such a girl. She might not know (at the beginning of the book) why she's drawn to witchier hobbies than her friends, but she embraces it. And nobody makes fun of her for it. When it turns out she has some real power in this dabbling, well... All the better, right? 


  • Liam: Was he supposed to be confident and rakish? Probably. But really, he was just a giant sexual assault red flag on every page. What was meant to be (witty?) banter was just grossly misogynistic and not just at the start of the novel (where we could assume--or at least hope--that he would reform and change). Liam doesn't change. Anything and everything he does revolves around sexual comments, even when the conversation really doesn't warrant such a remark. A character like Liam needs balance--and perhaps some redemption--but there was no balance here. There was just ew, ew, ew
  • No Groundwork: I'm not opposed to a rough-and-tumble introduction to a world of monsters, but being thrown into this world was really just the start of the problem. Because the characters need to be strong enough to hold up as the worldbuilding sets in, and when the characters aren't there, it can be hard to get invested at all. The plot here doesn't settle down--ghosts, vampires, witches, something more? There's no set arc, nothing to look forward to and anticipate. There needed to be some groundwork for this plotless trajectory, and there wasn't. 
  • Unbelievable: This small town sheriff believes in ghosts as soon as he's told. That makes sense, right? Because all we need to believe in ghosts is somebody in a suit to tell us they're real. That totally makes sense. And that same sheriff, knowing now that a ghost is involved, won't mind at all that his teenage daughter's bedroom has been shot up, right? For hunters-hiding-as-agents who have been doing this for a long time, you'd think they'd be more subtle, right? Because as implausible as it is, maybe they have found the one small town sheriff who will happily believe them the first time. But that isn't likely to happen all the time, so would experienced agents really come in here, guns blazing? They're undercover, right? How have they not been found out after all this time? Add to that the fact that their British counterparts seem to have accents inspired by Austin Powers, and I just couldn't do it. Sorry. I have too many questions with no good answers. 



If you enjoyed the small-town-turned-supernatural elements of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight, this new town on the verge of being overrun will be a good fit. Fans of Christine Lynn Herman's The Drowning Summer will appreciate the ghostly presences in these pages. 


Publisher: CamCat Books
Date: February 7, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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