Hunted (The Voices #2) by G.X. Todd

Posted On 30 July 2018

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huntedHunted is the second instalment in the Voices series by GX Todd and is a gripping and tense follow up to Defender.  Be aware that being a review for the second in series this may contain spoilers – I would also suggest that the Voices is not a series where you can pick the second book up at random – these need to be read in order imo so if you haven’t read Defender then you might want to stop reading this review about now – before you leave though, just know that this is a worthy second book and definitely a series that I will continue to read.

In terms of a brief recap.  In Defender we were introduced to a character named Lacey.  The world in which Lacey lived had gone to hell in a handcart to be honest.  The short version is that many of the population found their headspace invaded by another voice – a voice that urged them to commit acts of violence and as a consequence murder, suicide and mass suicide resulted in a huge proportion of the world’s populating being killed off in fairly short order. The survivors fall into two groups – those with voices and those without.  As you may imagine the people without voices are feeling none to friendly, and not a a little bit suspicious, of those with them.  Consequently people try to hide their head guests if possible.  Now, as if contending with ‘voices’ wasn’t enough civilisation has taken something of a nose dive with marauding gangs running amok in the cities.  Places have become overgrown and services are none existent as you would expect from a post apocalyptic world.  And, finally, it seems that the people with voices are being rounded up or gathered and there is talk of a ‘Flitting Man’ – tales of terror mostly involving disappearing bodies, and strange symbols – that have leant the character an urban myth type feel.

This isn’t going to be an easy book to review because the potential for spoilers is very real but what I can immediately say is that Todd doesn’t follow an easy path with this instalment.  Instead of taking that easy route she veers away from the characters introduced in the first book and instead, initially follows a new bunch.  At first, I admit, I found this a little jarring and wanted to return to Lacey and her companions, but, having finished the read I can really appreciate the way this story pans out.  For starters the characters are given a lot more depth which in turn really helps to pump up the tension.  There’s nothing like attachment to characters to give you that awful heart in your throat sensation when reading and Todd does make you care quite strongly about some of her cast.  She also gives you a horrible look at the antagonist of the piece – not the Flitting Man – but another character called Posy, who now carries his own voice (known as Not Posy).  Not Posy is a horrible piece of work, he’s just awful and it’s a testament to the writing here just how scary Todd manages to make him.  Devoid of any compassion, he’s the sort of coldly calculating character who absolutely will not stop.  In this instance he’s seeking a girl called Red or Ruby and unfortunately he believes her to be in the company of Lacey – so you can see how the story is going to develop.

Basically, there are three storylines, following slightly different timelines at first until eventually converging.  We have Not Posy and his ever growing gang of wild and vicious characters.  We once again meet up with Lacey and her two companions – who know tht they’re being followed and are making a good go of avoiding being caught and, finally, a character named Albus.  Albus and his companions live in an almost surreal and happy go lucky bubble, in an otherwise savage world.  It’s almost like they’ve escaped the events that are going on around them and found a little bit of bliss, living in an idyllic sounding Inn on the coastline.  Things are about to change however.  Albus also is guided to help people by his own internal hearings.  He’s an unusual character who doesn’t talk and instead sees colours in some people.  I won’t say more other than he is guided to search out these people and help them – which is where his companions at the Inn have all come from.  He’s going to receive a strong message to help one particular girl and although this will involve putting some of his companions, and himself, at great risk he must follow his instincts.

That’s about all I can say really without ruining the read for others.

The writing here is really good.  As I mentioned this is a tense story with very little let up in terms of room to breathe out and on top of that it’s unpredictable.  I mentioned above that Todd doesn’t take the easy route and in that respect her characters are given a very hard time too.  There is violence here and it might not be to everyone’s tastes, particularly the torture elements and the final chapters – so be aware.

Overall a very strong second in series, perhaps a little slower than the first in terms of pacing and also a little surprising in that it takes you away from the main character from the first book (at least initially), but, regardless, I think that the character building and wider scope that occurred as a result was worth the change in tack. A book that seems to move the story on and provide revelations whilst at the same time, on reflection, actually giving very little away in the process and therefore serving to push you yet further onto the hook of ‘desperately needing to know’.

I look forward to seeing how all these storylines will come together and more than that reading about whether or not the people in this world can survive – you never know, Ms Todd certainly isn’t shy of killing off a few people in order to keep things realistic, you were warned.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.



Waiting on Wednesday : Hunted (The Voices #2) by G.X. Todd

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: Hunted (The Voices #2) by G.X. Todd.  I read and loved Defender (the first book in the Voices series) and can’t wait to get to this one.  Due for publication 31st May 2018.

Hunted by G X Todd is second in the Voices series, highlighted as being ‘of a piece with Stephen King’s The Stand‘ in the Independent. The battle between Good and Evil continues to play out in a world where the Voice in your head can save or slaughter you. A must-read for fans of Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill.

Hunted.jpgThe birds are flying. The birds are flocking. The birds know where to find her.

One man is driven by a Voice that isn’t his. It’s killing his sanity and wrestling with it over and over like a jackal with a bone. He has one goal.

To find the girl with a Voice like his own. She has no one to defend her now. The hunt is on.

But in an Inn by the sea, a boy with no tongue and no Voice gathers his warriors. Albus must find Lacey … before the Other does. And finish the work his sister, Ruby began.

Hunted is the second book in the highly acclaimed Voices series, where the battle between Good and Evil rages on. And on.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Posted On 20 March 2017

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huntedHunted by Meagan Spooner is an absolutely gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast that borrows from the Russian folklore of Ivan and the Firebird and in doing so manages to bring something unique to the tale whilst still remaining faithful enough to be the beautiful tale that I love.  I have to confess upfront that I’m a bit of a pushover for fairytale retellings but that doesn’t mean they always win me over and for a book that has received quite as much hype as this particular one I couldn’t help feeling a little bit wary.  In this case there was no need to fear.  This is literally the retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve been waiting for, the writing is evocative, the setting moves from cold and austere to gothic and dilapidated.  The characters are fascinating and the key to the puzzle of the Beast keeps you compelled to the end.

At the start of the story Yeva, her sisters and father, live a prosperous life on the edge of town.  Yeva is a lady in waiting, all day she sits listening to idle gossip and trying to conjure up ways to escape the confines of polite society.  Basically, the restraints of mingling with the aristocracy are not for Yeva, she remembers the times as a youngster spent with her father hunting in the wilds and wants to run barefoot and corset-less through the woods once more.  However, for three young maidens in search of husbands reputation is a valuable commodity that can’t be squandered and so Yeva maintains her courteous demeanour, unexpectedly drawing the eye of a young man in the process.

No sooner have we made Yeva’s acquaintance and tasted her unrest than disaster strikes, the family lose all their wealth and are forced to seek refuge in their cottage in the forest.  From hereon things take a dark turn.  The cottage is barely liveable and in order to survive their father most delve deeper and deeper into the forest to try and catch food for the winter months.  At this point things look bleak, Yeva herself takes to hunting as their father spends longer and longer out in the wild.  When he finally does return he’s clearly unhinged, he talks of a beast that stalked him relentlessly and after a brief spell to take sustenance he once again rushes out.  Eventually, when he fails to return Yeva is forced to go in search.  Of course we, the reader, know that there is something in the wild, something clever and fleet footed, that has indeed been stalking Yeva’s father.  It now remains to be seen if Yeva can find the beast and survive to tell the tale.

Basically, and from the above you will no doubt be able to tell, this story is quite a faithful retelling of the original fairytale in many respects.  I suppose it varies in that the sisters all care deeply for each other, their father doesn’t incur the wrath of the beast by stealing a prize rose and Beauty doesn’t voluntarily submit to spending time with him. The relationship here is strongly built on fear, hatred and need.  The Beast needs Beauty, although we’re not quite sure why, and Beauty hates the Beast and fears what action he will take against her sisters if she fails to comply with his wishes.

In terms of the characters – well obviously Yeva and the Beast steal the show but I loved reading their chapters.  Yes, the beast has alternating chapters and it’s really wonderful  to read his thoughts as they become a little bit more coherent.  He’s spent a long time alone, in the form of a beast, and cares little for a human’s needs but gradually, as he listens to Yeva’s stories the beast within him retreats and his more human side begins to once again play a larger role.

The settings are really well drawn going from the enchanted forest that seems to perpetually remain in the throes of winter to the Beast’s castle, now little more than a ruin with cold, damp rooms populated with rotting furniture.  Very little has survived the years of neglect.  I loved the settings, they both held a little bit of menace that added to the dark fairytale feel.

Now, there’s only so much I can realistically tell you about this without completely giving everything away.  The motivations here are what the story is really about and the folktale of Prince Ivan is the key to in that respect.

Did I have any criticisms.  No, I loved this.  Realistically, I think this might be a slower paced story than some people would enjoy.  Personally, I didn’t have a problem with that.  The writing is just lovely and I enjoyed the slow burn to the story and the gradual development of feelings between Beauty and the Beast.  No instalove here folks – so, if you like to read about instantaneous, love at first sight, whirlwind style romances then this might not be for you.  This love story builds up very slowly.

I will definitely read more by this author and hope that she ventures into more retellings.





Waiting on Wednesday: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Hunted by Meagan Spooner.

huntedBeauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. 

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Due March 2017

How can you resist a retelling of Beauty and the Beast?