In Huggins’ Leviathan, science created a living, breathing killing machine (a dragon) and our heroes fought to survive and destroy it. In Huggins’ Cain, science created a living, breathing killing machine (a super-soldier) and our heroes fought to survive and destroy it. In Hunter . . . science . . . creates a living, breathing killing machine (a prehistoric human) and . . . *sigh*. Well, this is the book, that when I was reading Huggins back in college, made me give up on him. Cain had already kind of been a rip-off of Leviathan and now he’s ripping off Cain? No more. Revisiting these books changed my mind on Cain, which I think adds a gripping and disturbing horror element to the action-adventure of Leviathan. But Hunter? Nah, still pretty bad. He’s always dealt in archetypes of a sort, but the characters here are painfully underwritten and theonly difference between this and the previous books is that this one takes place in the wilderness where the title character and a small band of soldiers venture into the Alaskan forests to track down the killing machine science created. Hunter is developed a bit, but no one else really is. There is one very interesting exception. Probably the best developed character of the book is a woman, expert military sniper Bobbi Jo. Huggins has struggled with female characters to this point, often shuffling them around as kidnap victims instead of giving them agency. But Bobbi Jo is tough, smart and carries a super-high powered sniper rifle that ends up being about the only weapon that can really hurt the monster. This leads to several sequences where she and her rifle end up saving the day, even saving the life of the main character. And when she and Hunter fall into a sexual relationship, she initiates it; Huggins has even allowed this woman sexual agency which is kind of amazing compared to his previous books. But the action is repetitive: heroes hunt creature; creature attacks heroes; heroes drive creature away; heroes hunt creature; repeat. Toward the very end, our heroes end up holed up in a military base and that section of the book features some of Huggins’ brilliant action writing. But at over four-hundred pages into a nearly five hundred page book, it’s long overdue. This is Huggins’ talkiest book and most repetitive; it features his least interesting action writing and woefully thin characterization even by Huggins’ standards. I’d avoid this one. 1 ½ stars.
tl;dr – Huggins rips off his own work for a rehash of his previous two books with less interesting characters, even more doldrums and almost no compelling action. 1 ½ stars.