An Unauthorized Field Guide to the Hunt
Title : An Unauthorized Field Guide to the Hunt
Author : Kari Gregg
Publisher : Loose Id (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Science Fiction
Length : 95 pages (e-book)
Published : August 12, 2013
Rating : ★★★★
On Mariket, the strongest competitors win…by losing.
Narone native and former heir of Class II shipbuilder Denbo-West Industries, Shane West surrendered his perilous birthright to compete in the Hunt and tried his luck with the lusty cats of Mariket. Shane’s mastery of survival craft in the untamed forest made him an early favorite among gamblers, fans, and arena officials. When he lured a cat into an arousing chase the first night, mating with Lore to become the season’s first victor seemed guaranteed.
Then news from Arena 4 slowed to a trickle. Rumors emerged about cats who’d gone feral as well as shocking breaches in security. Unconfirmed reports of assassins and rogue predators circulated before offworld communications screeched to a halt.
In this unprecedented glimpse inside the arena, Shane peels back the veil of secrecy. What does it take to tempt a sexy cat? How does being marked as prey by a feline lover feel? Experience the wanton pleasures of the heat with Shane and his mysterious mate–and discover which of last season’s scandalous rumors are true.
Run, pounce, fuck.
Welcome to the Hunt.
Shane West has the brilliant idea that joining the Hunt will save him from his own murderous family. Being named successor to the family business put a big target on his back. If he can avoid finding a mate, a permanent mate, for the whole of the hunt he’ll be famous and his family won’t be able to kill him. He’ll be valuable. That’s the plan. Shane does really well by attracting a cat the first night of the hunt. He’s smart enough to know he needs to make the cat want him. Shane had no idea how much he would want the cat in return. A lot of it is the mating hormones. Pretty quickly Shane has been marked up as belonging to a cat. A cat he doesn’t see til the next morning. A cat whose name he doesn’t know. Shane tries to make a possible alliance with a human, Fallon. Shane’s cat doesn’t really like that. While walking away from Fallon Shane finally sees his cat face to face for the first time. Shane has not only increased his chances of becoming a “victor” early in the hunt, he’s managed to get a rare Puma interested in him. Fallon makes a horrible screaming noise and it’s clear something is attacking him. Shane’s Puma tells him to run while he checks out what the problem is. Shane obeys but gets taken down by a big cat despite being marked by his Puma. Shane gets hurt.
The Puma rescues Shane and takes him to a den up in the trees. Shane is tended to by medics despite the fact he only wants his cat. One of the wardens comes to talk to Shane’s cat. Even if he declares they’re mated and Shane is his victor it’s not really true. They know nothing about each other. They have to do more than have sex to really be mates. Shane’s cat has to woo Shane. As it turns out the Puma’s name is Lore. Lore keeps Shane up in the trees for the duration of the hunt as Shane heals from his hunt induced injuries. It’s safer in the trees. The wardens of the hunt are attempting to figure out why a cat ignored the mating mark on Shane and how the creature that attacked Fallon was able to enter Arena 4. Lore’s friend, Maero, is trying to mate with Fallon. The attack seems to have left Fallon crazy. He’s convinced Shane was killed by Lore and won’t trust Maero until he sees Shane for himself. Shane wants one more visit to the ground before he lives his life with Lore up in the trees. Lore agrees to it for Shane’s sake. Shane learns there was a lot more to Fallon, the threats to his life, and the irregularities in the arena than he ever imagined.
There was a whole lot of relationship thrown into this novella amongst the intrigue and hostile environment. It was thrown in there but not necessarily well. It was to some extent a classic paranormal tale of two people coming together because of forces beyond their control, be it a mating bond, or supernatural hormones. I do tend to enjoy those stories when I read them, but I am always left with a feeling I actually want to see the characters fall in love. There is, however, a fantastic moment of Shane’s realization they love each other. He comes to the conclusion winning the hunt is actually finding a permanent mate and settling down forever, as opposed to his previous plan of almost finding a mate.
This book was a good example of world building by immersion. There were no lengthy info dumps or obviously staged conversations designed to dump info on us. To some extent that made the beginning a little bit confusing which was appropriate. Shane was rather confused as to what was going on as well. We gain knowledge as he does. The knowledge we gain isn’t necessarily the same as what he gains, but as his confusion ebbs so does ours culminating in a very satisfying ending.
Rated 4 stars by Faye