Three lovers. Two demons. One mystery. When a shadowy Baron asks three fearless demon hunters to find a lost collection of jewelry, little do they know that the gems might be owned by the daughter of Satan himself. Their hunt leads into the distant past for clues about a lost woman who leaves a trail of destruction wherever she goes. Beautiful, deadly, and immortal, she moves through the world making chaos and converting humans to the ranks of evil. But not all of her converts are happy, and an ancient succubus will side with the hunters, making the search for Elizabeth a race against time as the bodies pile up under the Florida sun. If they lose, they'll serve Elizabeth for eternity. If the hunters are smart, they might live, and if they're lucky, they might even win. Come stalk the night with the fearless.
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I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. It seemed from the write up that it would have a very heavy supernatural bend to it. It does, but it doesn't at the same time. Hard to explain, but the world, the characters, and their motivations and behaviours do not feel supernatural, even if their existence is (this is a good thing, by the way). The "bad guys" are varied and supernatural in nature, but their actions are realistic, and how they are dealt with is believable.
The background/history of the characters and the world and how they got to where they are was really well-doled out/paced. We aren't subjected to lectures or long histories, but little snapshots of the past just in time to stretch out some suspense or fill a gap. There is a fairly consistent sense of humour throughout which actually comes across quite well as it fleshes out the main character, and certainly makes him more likeable.
There is an oddly placed fairly detailed erotic scene as we get close to the end of the novel. Not sure why this scene was so far into the story, nor why it was so detailed when other similar scenes were more cursory in nature. It was a well-done scene, just so much more detailed than other scenes that it felt more like it was fulfilling a specific requirement for X pages of erotica, instead of progressing the story.
I think the story ended at a logical point, but it isn't really resolved... and it doesn't feel like justice was properly served (but, then again, there wasn't a huge 'wrong' to be righted here, just a general sense that immortals are bad and should be removed). It seems clear that there are more books planned for this series; I would certainly read them.
When I first started the book, I thought the choice of a female narrator was a bit odd since the main character is male. That being said, however, she does an excellent job, and you can tell each of the characters apart easily; no exaggeration... she really does a terrific job, but it was still a bit odd when the narrator made a reference to being male (particularly in reference to sexual activities).
There are some sex scenes, but they are not particularly graphic. There is some non-graphic violence and I don't recall any foul language.
The Forest Bull is the story of a group of immortal hunters in a world where many of these immortals are the creatures of nightmare, preying on the innocent, unless stopped. From various walks of life, people have risen up that have chosen to hunt those of these creatures, and like in the TV series Supernatural (a favorite of mine) there is a loose affiliation of these hunters.
Just a note on the audiobook version - the book itself is written from the first person of a male, but the narrator is female. This is a bit disorienting at the start, as when the story starts, you haven't been introduced to the narrator, so initially may draw the assumption that the character is female, but be advised, it isn't. I haven't come across this setup before (female narrator of a first person male story).
On the narration however, Rebecca Cook is fantastic, and does a great job on all the voices, male and female. Initially when I was listening, I thought the book was narrated by Katey Sagal, and prompted myself to check, Needless to say I'd recommend her narration to anyone, and will definitely be looking for more books narrated by her.
Another note on the story, the summary describes the trio of hunters as "Three lovers". This is accurate, but in all honesty was a little off-putting to my male preconceptions. When I see the term "lovers" in the book summary I immediately think of books that usually feature unarmed, topless, buff, beefcake dudes on the cover (as opposed to the Conan-type books with armed, topless, buff, beefcake dudes on the cover). Anyhow, yes they are lovers, but any of you males like myself who may think, 'oh gee, this is going to be full of steamy romance etc", be advised that this is not the case. Yes there is some adult material, but not too much, and actually not between the "lovers".
All these notes out of the way, what did I think of the story? Loved it. Every so often I read a book that doesn't seem to be treading the same safe territory with concepts and mythology, and manages to inject a lot of new slants to things, and you feel like you have someone describing a unique vision of a world. It is a great feeling when you come across one of these. I felt this book met that in spades. The characters are well written, and a lot of the interplay between them is fantastic. I also like that the "baddies" weren't really one dimensional, or "demonised" for want of a better term, and everything was a straight black and white. It isn't like a lot of books where the author makes you hate them, and then perpetually drags out their existence and tormenting of people in the book to the point where you want them to just get it over. They are all dealt with fairly, and quickly. And in at least one case for me, you may actually start to like them.