Friday, December 19, 2014

**Review ~ Hunting in Bruges ~ E.J. Stevens**

Hunting in Bruges (Hunters' Guild, #1)
Hunting in Bruges
Hunters' Guild #1
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3 Bookworms

The only thing worse than being a Hunter in the fae-ridden city of Harborsmouth, is hunting vamps in Bruges.

Being shipped off to Belgium sucks. The medieval city of Bruges is quaint, but the local Hunters' Guild is understaffed, the canals are choked with dead bodies, and there's no shortage of supernatural predators as likely suspects.

On second thought, maybe Bruges isn't so bad after all.

With a desire to prove herself, protect the innocent, and advance within the ranks of the Hunters' Guild, Jenna Lehane hits the cobbled streets of Bruges with blades at the ready. Someone, or something, is murdering tourists and dumping their bodies in the city's scenic canals. With the help of a mysterious stranger, Jenna begins to piece together clues that are dotted throughout the city like blood spatter.

Determined to stop the killings, Jenna delves into a bloody local history that only raises more questions - but some secrets are best left buried. Jenna must put her combat training to the test as she struggles to unearth the truth about an ancient enemy.

Hunting in Bruges is the first novel in the Hunters' Guild urban fantasy series set in the world of Ivy Granger.

I want to preface this review by saying that my feelings about Hunting in Bruges may be colored somewhat by the extreme book hangover I'm suffering...

I liked Hunting in Bruges. I may have liked it even more had I read Stevens' Ivy Granger series, but she did a nice job of explaining the world for the uninitiated. I like the world of the Hunters and I liked my introduction to it. I also really appreciated the detail and historical accuracy Stevens devoted to the story. I've not been to Bruges in person but I can picture it in my mind now. And I also spent some time googling some of the baddies and their connection to the downfall of the Knights Templar.

Hunting in Bruges was a bit slow to start for me and I think it was the worldbuilding that was the cause. As the action kicked in, the pacing picked up and I was drawn into the story. The action was well done, vivid, gory, and had me on edge. My main issue with the story stems from my difficulty in connecting to Jenna, the MC. There was something about her that bothered me and after thinking on it, I decided it was because she's a "Mary Sue" - in this case, a Warrior Sue. She's had a tragic past she's worked hard to overcome and she's an amazing Warrior. She's good at everything she does - moving up the ranks quickly - and she says things like:
"Wasn't that gratitude for you? I raid a vamp next, put down a rabid master vampire, and help rescue a dozen human prisoners and when I make it topside I get told I stink. I snorted and shook my head. Good thing I didn't do this job for the glory and recognition."
Jenna grew on me though, over the course of the story. And the supporting cast was great. I really liked Ash - even if I'd figured out his story from the beginning. Darryl and Celeste were also wonderful additions to the cast - they both contributed some comic relief. 

Overall, I liked Hunting in Bruges. It's well written and the historical detail and accuracy were a bonus in an urban fantasy. The description of Bruges was also excellent. The action scenes were laid out well, making me edgy waiting on what would happen, and cringe when it did. I just think I would have enjoyed it more had it not been predictable - I figured out the mysteries right off the bat - and had Jenna not been a Mary Sue. However, I liked her despite that and I liked the supporting cast as well. I'm also intrigued with the over-arching plot line. So I will check out Hunting in Paris.


  1. I was addicted to Stevens' Spirit Guide series back in the day, but haven't found time to read any of her other series. Lorna reviewed this one on the blog, and enjoyed it quite a bit; however I 100% understand your book hangover comment which makes Hunting in Bruges a tough call. Happy Friday!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  2. That is usually the case when a series is trying to establish a certain world and the first book is bogged down by world building and everything else takes a back seat for a while. At least the heroine won you over around the end, that's a good enough push for you to check out the second one.

  3. Glad you still enjoyed it despite some issues. It is always tough when you can't connect to the MC and sometimes world building can just be too much. Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  4. I've been wanting to read Stevens for ages. I really think I'll give Ivy Granger a try while I wait for Hunting in Paris...I just have to find time. ;) I really think my book hangover has a lot to do with was the end of a series and it was fan-freakin-tastic! Just sad it's over... Hope you're feeling better and enjoying your weekend, Carmel!

  5. Yeah, she did win me over so I *will* read the second one. And I may check out the series that this is spun off of. Honestly, it probably has a lot to do with my book hangover...I'd just finished the last Rock Chick. Enjoy your weekend, Braine!

  6. Thanks, Teresa. I do kinda think that the issues I had wouldn't have bothered me quite so much if I hadn't had that book hangover. Finishing the last Rock Chick - while the book was amazing - left me dazed and sad. :) Hope you're having a great weekend!

  7. Sorry you didn't connect with the MC. I know how that feels sometimes. Maybe you will enjoy Hunting in Paris more-hope so! I got the first Rock Chick book a couple of months ago but haven't touched it yet.Maybe I should find some time this winter to do so :)

  8. Jenna sounds like a character that is difficult to like at first. I like how you mention the author described the city well, I love it when authors describe thigns well enough so you can really get a feel for the place. Sorry to hear it was a bit predictable.

  9. Oh i'm sorry this book was a tad fail. Hope the next book you read is better. it's definitely hard to write a review for another book when suffering a book hangover.

  10. It's a shame you didn't get into this as much as you hoped. It sounds really promising. Great review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  11. Thanks, Lorna. I really think it was my book hangover. I'm definitely going to read Hunting in Paris - so we'll see. Rock Chick is an amazing ride!! I've loved each and every one. They are crazy, over-the-top fun and characters that have become my friends. (it's set in and around Denver - where I live - so that's a bonus!) See, my enjoyment of Hunting in Bruges was totally affected by my Rock Chick hangover.... ;)

  12. She was, Lola...but she did eventually grow on me. There were definitely elements that I enjoyed. It's worth reading. :)

  13. Thanks, Sharrice. The more I think about it, the more I am sure my hangover affected my feelings about this one. But what can you do? I will read the next one - and hopefully it won't follow a Kristen Ashley book. LOL :)

  14. It is, Naomi. But I've really decided my book hangover had a lot to do with it. It is worth reading and I will read the next in the series. :) I'll just try to make sure it's not on the heels of a Kristen Ashley book! LOL


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??