Hunter’s Moon (Insolita Luna #2)


Title: Hunter’s Moon (Insolita Luna #2)
Author: M.J. O’Shea
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Length: Novel (623 pages/88,616 words)
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn

One Sentence Review: xxxxxx

This review contains what could be considered spoilers

THE BLURB

Miles craves adventure but he’s started to believe that perhaps it isn’t in his stars—until a late night encounter makes him wonder if the creatures he creates in his stories could possibly be real.

PC is a wolf. A lycan since birth, he’s spent the first twenty-four years of his life trying to be the exact opposite of what everyone expects of him. He hunts supernatural troublemakers, hangs out with vampires, and refuses to settle down—no matter how much everyone else might want him to. One confusing night, his body responds, turning into his wolf form and hurling him into the darkness to save a stranger.

Pulled together by a physical force stronger than either can resist, PC and Miles must learn to live with each other because separation, even for just minutes, means unendurable pain. Miles finds himself falling for the unpredictable lycan, his strange friends, and their nightly adventures but his reluctant lover is determined to find a way to break the bond between them.

Together, they are drawn into a mystery full of werewolves, lycans, bad vampires and a growing pile of dead humans. Finding the truth at the bottom of it might just be the hunt of PC’s life—especially if he wants to keep Miles alive.

Insolita Luna Series

THE REVIEW

This was a hard review for me to write because, while I generally liked the book, I had some problems with it, problems maybe others will not have. More on this later. Hunter’s Moon is the sequel, of sorts, to this author’s Blood Moon (reviewed by me here), which I enjoyed even though creature features normally aren’t my thing. This second book is PC’s (a secondary character from BM) story and features the protags Zack and Noah as strong secondary characters. Though it is book two, one can read it as a standalone, but I would recommend going back and reading BM .

Set about a year after the end of BM, the story opens with us meeting Miles, our first-person narrator, a shy, quiet senior at NYU studying to be a writer. He is discontent with his life, restless, bored and tired. Originally from San Diego, Miles has always been drawn to New York City, and now that he’s there, he’s disappointed in just about everything about it. He thought it would be excitement and adventure, but he’s gotten none of that in the three months he’s been in town. His escapes are the fantasy fiction he writes and the part-time job he has at a small, but popular indie bookstore with coffee to die for. One night after staying too late at the shop, Miles gets mugged, but ultimately saved by a giant wolf who he feels inexplicably drawn to. Soon he is obsessing about the wolf with the golden eyes, and when a teen comes into the store with the same eyes, Miles can’t help but kiss him. Now it’s no longer obsession, but he is sick and in the worst pain of his life. Could Zack, one of his TAs, have the answer? When he finds out that this wolf/boy PC is a emotionally-unpredictable lycan, that they have way more than just attraction, that PC’s friends aren’t what they seem, that his life is about to change forever, and that there appears to be the beginnings of paranormal war happening, can he handle it all?

What I liked:

I adored beta Miles, and loved the first chapter where we meet him. His own description of his feelings and situation are great, and I felt like I knew him intimately by the end of that chapter. He is so sweet, that Miles, and I felt really bad for him as we go further into the story and he gets emotionally tossed around by PC. I thought he handled everything as well as could be expected, a real trooper.

PC, on the other hand, I had mixed feelings about. His ever-changing emotions had me on edge as much as Miles, and I often felt he was making the situation worse with little to no explanation. Resistant and reluctant, I found this second beta a bit difficult to like and wanted to slap him often, especially during the first part of the book. I warmed up to him as the story went on, though, as he finally was able to come to terms with the happenings in the book.

The secondary cast is wonderful. Not only are Zack and Noah back (and they play a pretty big role here), but the group of mixed friends/family that we met in book one is perfect. Vamps, lycans, witches and humans all looking out for each other and caring for and teasing one another. The inclusion of Miles’ new friend Lisa was a great choice. Also, the bookstore had character of its own, and I could visualize it easily as I read through the book.

My issues:

The first thing that bothered me — and this may not bother anyone else — is that the format of the book is odd. What I mean by that is the PDF pages are smaller in dimension than in previous books by this author and publisher, the margins are wider, the font seems larger and more widely spaced, and as a result, an 88k word book takes up 623 pages. If you look at this book and “OMG, it’s over 600 pages!” fear not. If it was formatted as the other books, it would be half or more smaller than it is. I felt like the entire time I read it, I was pressing the “next page” button on my reader. For some reason that I can’t really explain other than it just wasn’t relaxing, this bothered me. I showed it to my partner and she said “So?” so perhaps it truly is just me.

Next, it is no secret that I am a big fan of this author. I think, as a relative newbie in published works, her writing has a level of sophistication and technical skill that you usually don’t see. I have to admit, though, that when I read through Hunter’s Moon the first time, I was a bit surprised — and not in a good way. In fact, I almost disliked it for a number of reasons, but a second read-through worked some of the kinks out for me and in the end, I decided that, while I had some issues and I liked Blood Moon better, it was okay. But even now I feel that O’Shea’s writing style was slightly off here, and I am not even sure I can explain that fully. As I read it that first time, I wondered if maybe she wrote this one first, making this offering just slightly less mature than the other books by her that I’ve read. Now, so far any book by her is still better written than many others that I’ve encountered in the genre, but like I said, it felt just a bit…off. Related to this — and maybe even contributing to it — I found an editing error in the very first sentence of the very first chapter that had me on edge for the rest of the book. It seemed very unlike her, based on her other books, and it threw me off. I proceeded to find several other errors that should have been, in my opinion, caught during editing and proofing.

Without including spoilers, I felt that the surprise that is in store for Miles — and us — about two-thirds of the way through the book was not necessarily a good one. I had almost eagerly awaited the thing he and PC were waiting for, to see and experience it through his eyes, and instead I felt thrown into something different, and something we’ve already seen and experienced.

Lastly, I wondered about Miles’ mother; there are several mentions of telling her about everything, but it happened off-screen. We are told about part of it after the fact, and I am guessing at the end she knows the full story, but I felt a bit cheated out of seeing that happen.

OVERALL

Despite my issues, I think fans of the author and of Blood Moon should pick this one up as well.

4 comments

  • “I had almost eagerly awaited the thing he and PC were waiting for, to see and experience it through his eyes, and instead I felt thrown into something different, and something we’ve already seen and experienced.”

    I had the exact same feelings about this as you did, Lynn. I was really enjoying it up until this point, and then the ‘surprise’ completely pulled me out of the story. I understand the element of surprise in mysteries and how it’s good for a story not to be too predictable, but in this case I just felt cheated. And instead of it being something new and interesting for the reader to learn about, I just felt like it was a repeat of before.

    Great review, Lynn. I’m glad I found someone else with the same problems with the story that I had.

    Reply
  • Lynn
    Great review as always. I haven’t read Hunter’s Moon so I can’t offer an opinion on the story, but since you mentioned the formatting I double checked the PDF version that the author sent me and you are absolutely correct. The margins are wider and the book seems to be either triple spaced or is 2 1/2 times what we are accustomed to. Also I couldn’t find a button to make the print smaller.

    She didn’t indicate that this was a pre-release version of the book – in fact she said that her new book had just been released, so I assume that this is the PDF version that’s available for sale.

    As we both know, personal opinions on books can differ widely but I know how much you love this author’s writing so I was surprised when you said earlier that you were having difficulty with the review because you were disappointed about some aspects of the book. Perhaps this is an earlier book that’s just been released, as you surmised.

    Reply
  • Coincidentally I just finished this book this morning. Overall I had a somewhat more positive reaction to it than you did, I think; this author exceeds the norm sufficiently that I’d likely give the book a slightly higher rating than you did, though I do prefer the Blood Moon characters to Miles and PC (and just a note for other readers, if you opt for a different format – e.g., mobi/prc – the formatting issues don’t arise).

    But one thing in particular: I’ve seen other reviews share your disappointment with the surprise in store for Miles two-thirds through the book, and I’d like to offer a contrasting viewpoint. First, I like the fact that the author didn’t take the obvious, expected, predictable path – to me it can be boring when I think I know all along what’s going to happen, and then it happens.

    But more important, in this case the author used the “surprise” not just for shock value or to avoid predictability, but to serve a very important purpose in terms of the relationship development between Miles and PC and to illustrate PC’s growth as a character. If things had proceeded as expected, it would have been difficult to achieve the same result. And the later reverse “surprise” (to Miles) I found very satisfying. (Can’t figure out how to say more without spoilers!!)

    You are right, though, that this is something we’d already seen and that it would have been interesting to see the expected result through Miles eyes. But on balance, I definitely understand the author’s choice; for me this was not a negative.

    I didn’t find the author’s voice “off” in this book (though there were definitely editing errors – “rouge” for “rogue” on a number of occasions is one that stands out in my mind), but I do think the story lost tightness as it went on and started to feel unfocused and like it kind of…lost direction or something. This book is much longer than any of her others, and perhaps she needs more experience and practice to develop the skills peculiar to writing novel-length stories. I hope she continues to write them, though, because as you say, she has a high level of technical skill and polish, and I definitely would like to see more of them from her!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments JAC.

      When I was all done last night posting this, I went out to see what others were saying, and the results were mostly 5-star, glowing reviews. Once I saw those I knew that I would probably hear from those who disagreed with me. 🙂

      Thanks for including a lengthy explanation as to why the “surprise” worked for you, and I can see that. Perhaps it even now has me wanting to go back and re-read to see if it changes my opinion at all.

      For the editing errors, I also found multiple instances of the use of “than” instead of “then,” among others, and it surprised me. And the loss of focus you mention could be part of what is feeding into my “off” feeling (I said I couldn’t explain it well, and this helps).

      But like you, I eagerly await her next offering — novel or novella, whichever — as she is a very good writer.

      Reply

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