Well, my first thought after finishing Hunted was....wow! I think I honestly said "wow" out loud, too. :P This book had such a powerful feel to it, and the overall message was incredibly moving.
One of the best parts about Hunted was the paranormal aspect. There are people with paranormal abilities living amongst people without them. Unfortunately, "paras" as they're called are persecuted, and they're treated horribly! If the government captures them, they're forced to find other paranormals and report to their handlers. They have tracking devices in their tongues, and electric shocks are used to punish them for not cooperating, or for not doing well enough. It was so sad to read about the way the paras were treated, and it makes you think of the groups of people in the past, or even recently, who've been mistreated because of their race, their sexuality, their religion, and countless other factors that make them different. It's horrible when you think of how people are persecuted because they're different, and Hunted puts that into a whole new perspective. Being different doesn't stop someone from being a human being...and the way that victimization is justified is often through "otherness," where you distinguish someone as different and make them out as the enemy. There's also the whole "for-the-greater-good" mentality, which pops up in a lot of places, and can have some seriously horrific consequences.
Now, I just want to be clear, while it was easy to see the ways other have been mistreated, this wasn't a sad book. It's a powerful one, and it has some amazing characters. The main character, Caitlyn, is a telepath, so she can read people's minds...although, she usually chooses not to, and instead uses her power to try and protect her mother and herself. I loved getting to see the other characters' thought processes through her. It was incredibly interesting, especially when you get to see the others' views on paranormals through her. Also, since Caitlyn's a para, it allows you to put yourself in her perspective, and you get to feel what it's like to belong to a persecuted group and to be constantly on the run. You get to know her, and that makes the victimization of the paras even more powerful.
I didn't expect Hunted to have such a large focus on the prejudice and violence between paras and normals, but once I started reading it, I was so glad that it did. Without them, it still would have been a fantastic story, but with them, it became more than just a brilliant story. It became a story full of meaning, one with a powerful message of acceptance, and unity. It was even more moving once I read to the end, and saw that the author, Cheryl Rainfield, used her own past experiences to write the book, as she was victimized in her past, too. While, I didn't read that until the end, it made the overall book sink in even further. It makes you realize that there are still a lot of people out there who are persecuted, victimized, and bullied. It makes you want to stand up for the people who are being mistreated, and to stop it if you get the chance. I think it's pretty incredible for a book to leave you with that feeling, especially one that is done in a way that makes you actually want to do something.
There are some books that push you to do something, but end up being irritating, Hunted is not one of them. Hunted is a wonderful story. It has an intelligent and brave heroine, and leaves you wanting to make a difference...to stand up for the underdog...to stand up for equality...to stand up for your beliefs. It makes you want to speak up, and support other people, especially the ones that aren't able or have difficulty speaking up for themselves. I completely recommend Hunted. It's not often that you get the chance to read a remarkable story that entertains and inspires.
*This review is also posted on my blog, Burning.x.Impossibly.x.Bright, as well as on some of my other social media accounts.
*I received a reviewer's copy of Hunted to participate in its blog tour.