Published: 19th December 2013 by Bloomsbury Sydney
Format: eARC, 250 pages
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Eighteen year old Pride is a tracker with a hunger for blood. Taught to trick and to lure, she is the perfect killing machine.
Kept leashed in the cellar by a master who is as ruthless as he is powerful, Pride dreams of freedom, of living a normal life, but escape from the compound is near impossible and disobedience comes with a price.
When she learns her master intends to breed her she knows she has to run.
Pride soon learns if she is to survive in the wild, she must trust in the boy who promises her freedom, the same boy she was sent to hunt.
Pride’s Run feels like it’s two different books mashed up together. There’s the first part, which is about Pride, our kick-butt heroine, and her life as a captive Lupher in a drug-lord’s Compound. And there’s the second part, the majority, where Pride plays second fiddle to a stereotypical YA alpha-male dude who irked me to no end.
I really liked the Pride I got to know in captivity – she’s smart, sassy, and looks out for her cell-mates. She might not be the strongest Lupher, but she can outthink most of her opponents, the most dangerous of whom is Stone, her once-friend who has been broken by the Master. Pride and Stone share a unique ability to telepathically communicate when not ‘shading’, but since becoming the Master’s favourite, Stone has become violent and angry around Pride. Pride is strong without being amazing at everything, and is determined not only to one day escape, but to come back for her cell-mates. Her inevitable escape leads her to Logan, a mysterious lone alpha Lupher who helps her survive.
“It’s crazy how beautiful he is.”
The point when Pride and Logan meet marks where my enjoyment of the novel began wavering. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like the romance (although it’s so stock-standard I struggled to keep invested in it), it was that Logan inexplicably and frequently disarmed Pride to the point where she couldn’t move, speak or think. Which is silly, really. It’s explained that he has this affect because a) he’s an alpha, and b) because he’s the only non-captive Lupher Pride has ever met, but her inability to function around him got annoying very quickly. Coupled with the numerous times we were reminded just what a perfect specimen of teen-hunk he is (because all the boys in YA land are unbelievably hot), the silly romantic subplot ruined the second half of the book for me.
The latter parts of the novel also didn’t really match up with the Pride I had met in the first – she’s suddenly forgotten about her companions back in the Compound, lost all her agency, and has generally become this pathetic mess of a girl that shivers or stops breathing or experiences alarming hot flushes any time Logan gets within 10 paces of her. She’s also unexpectedly naive about relationships, which I understand, and desire (and sex), which I didn’t understand. I chalked it up to the usual way that YA is written, where the female has to be naive and completely unexperienced so she can be unduly impressed any time anything happens.
The writing style took a while to get used to. The author likes to uses too many adjectives for my liking. Logan’s gaze is “intense, penetrating”, he looks “fierce and carnal” on one page and “fierce and deadly” a few pages after, and almost every noun is preceded by an adjective. It just got tiring for me, sometimes I want a knife to be a knife. There is also a lack of finesse in the plot progression – although there are twists and surprises in the story, they fail to impress because of the heavy foreshadowing. Absolutely no plot element is introduced without first having been hinted heavily for at least a chapter. And the love triangle (which looks like it’ll be annoying, considering how Pride has handled herself so far) was a sure-thing from early on.
Pride’s Run began as a thoroughly enjoyable book, but it declined for me because the introduction of the alpha love interest took away from the protagonist’s agency. I don’t exactly like the trope to begin with, so maybe it’s my personal prejudices rearing their heads. I did actually like the book though, though I know my review doesn’t reflect it. I admire the idea behind the series and will be reading the rest of the books, and hope that the writing and execution improves in the future.