Let me start off by saying that this is the first paranormal and the first paranormal romance book I have read, so my review is going to be shaded by that. You can think of this as a guy’s first impression of the PNR world. Also, the reason I am reading this book is because a dear friend recommended it to me to start researching the world of paranormal creatures. With that out of the way, let’s get to the review.
A Hunger Like No Other has two characters I disliked a lot right from the start. Lachlain is the epitome of an alpha male, who thinks he is a gift to the world and women in particular. He is a Lykae (werewolf) leader who has been imprisoned in hellish conditions for 150 years by vampires, and escapes from there when he scents his true mate. Also, he is over 1,200 years old, just keep this in mind. I actually liked how the author described the pain and anguish that Lachlain had to face while being held there. What I did not understand was why he did not attempt to get out sooner, if he was in such pain that the only thing keeping him sane was thought of revenge. I think revenge is a huge motivator, which should have given him the incentive to break out. But … moving on.
Emmaline or Emma, who is the other main character in the book, is a vampire-valkyrie mix. This was something unique for me, and it was interesting to see how this mix gave her qualities from both. Emma is quite young when it comes to immortals, being only 70 years old, and is actually just starting to gain her feet in the world. Her Valkyrie aunts have coddled and protected her, and kept her away from the big bad world. This has left her timid, submissive and weak. She seems to be someone who cannot take care of herself, and she admits this herself, as she longs for the protection of her coven, her daily routine, and being given everything by her aunts without ever having to work for anything.
The attitudes of both Emma and Lachlain shocked me. Lachlain manhandles Emma and nearly rapes her in public, then threatens her with ‘dire’ consequences and kidnaps her. This kind of torture does not end there, and there are numerous other situations where he comes really close to assaulting her and raping her. Emma, on the other hand, does not fight this one bit. She actually takes the “bad man” to her hotel room without putting up even a semblance if a fight, the reason being that she is really afraid of pain. Really?
I do have to give Lachlain some benefit of the doubt. He was imprisoned by the vampires, and when he finds out that his one true mate is actually a vampire, I can imagine his reaction to the cruelty of fate. He also may not know how women are treated in the modern world. But, that is where this ends. The way he treats Emma like a sex-toy and after his realization that he actually likes her, as a possession, I found it to be quite disgusting. His attitude towards Emma changes when he realizes that she is actually part-Valkyrie, and he seems to feel a lot of remorse for what he has done to her, but he still continues to lie to her, and treat her as something he is entitled to, with no regard to Emma’s feelings.
But, enough about the characters. The story line could have been so interesting, but the book moves at such a slow pace that I wanted to quit reading a number of times. The only thing that stopped me was the friend who promised that the book gets much better towards the end. For about 80% of the book, we have to wade through the back and forth between Emma and Lachlain, as they go from captor and captive to actually liking each other. Can someone say “best ever example of Stockholm Syndrome”? Or maybe Emma is being practical, thinking that Lachlain is the best bet to protect her from the Vampires who seem to be interested in capturing her as well. I think the part where Lachlain actually saves her from being abducted by the vampires is the turning point of the book, where it starts getting somewhat interesting.
Everything in the book feels hurried along, except for the part where Lachlain is treating Emma like thrash. One minute Emma is trying to escape from Lachlain, when BHAM! He mauls her, they have incredible sex where Emma climaxes innumerable times, and they fall deeply and madly in love. Is that what love is really about? Or is it the fact that Emma actually gets attuned to the fact of being Lachlain’s mate? Or maybe it is Lachlain’s blood which she drinks. I am thoroughly confused. After this point, Emma will do anything for Lachlain, including, going after his enemies all by herself.
I have no clue why the book could not have had more action throughout the story. When the action does come, in the form of Vampires attacking our duo, it all seems to happen so quickly, that you could miss it if you skip a few pages in the book. It all happens in about 5% of the book. Here again, I have no clue what gets into Emma that changes her from being timid and powerless, to someone who can kill Lachlain’s enemies. The book does not seem to have bad guys as such. They are referred to at numerous times, but they are not developed at all. I was left wanting to know more about the Vampire king, what and how he is as a character, why and how he had imprisoned Lachlain, what his relationship with Emma is, how the politics of the Vampire horde affects the world and who all the actors in this horde are. In fact, I was amazed that both the bad guys in the book go down without so much as a whimper, within a few pages. One minute they’re there, next minute they are dead, even though before this, they have been alive for centuries. Few as in, maybe 5 pages are devoted to how the bad guys are finally taken down!
In the end, I have to wonder. Do women really find such behaviour suitable, or even hot? Are they looking for men to degrade them, treat them like thrash, and to use them how they see fit? If not, why is it they find it ok if that happens to characters in a novel? How can they find a man who does this tolerable, no matter how hot he is or how well endowed? Is it that, wild, out-of-the-world sex is so important that they are willing to overlook the rest of the relationship?
So, what redeemed this book from the one and two-star slush pile? For one, in the end I did believe that Lachlain could change for the better and that Emma could grow a spine to become a bit more powerful. Also, this is very early in the series and I think the author may be still developing the characters, especially Emma as I think she will play an extremely important role as the series progresses, what with her now being associated with three of the Lore’s creatures. And finally, I actually liked how the book ended, with everyone ending up somewhat happy, or atleast pacified.
Tell me ladies, do you like your male leads to be like Lachlain? Also, can someone recommend better books if I want to research the paranormal creatures in fiction today, besides sparkly vampires?