Review of Husk (Plague Demon Chronicles #1), by D. P. Prior

Husk

I picked up a copy of D. P. Prior‘s Husk: Hunt or be Hunted when it was free on Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:
They call them ‘husks’, the demons that cross the Farfall Mountains, leaving a trail of blood in their wake. 
No incursion goes unmet; otherwise the cancer would spread until the whole of Aethir was consumed by nightmares. 

That’s why the Maresmen were formed—trackers and warriors charged with holding back the tide. Each of them is different, uniquely suited to the task in hand, but one thing they hold in common: they are half-breeds, part human, part husk; and they are bound by an inviolable rule: 

Hunt the husks, or be hunted themselves. 
Jebediah Skayne has been hunting husks his entire adult life, but there’s something different about the trail leading to the fishing town of Portis on the shores of the Chalice Sea: no spoor, no footprints; nothing save the unmistakable feeling of wrongness. 

Finding a husk in Portis would be near impossible for someone who didn’t have the sixth sense, but the instant Jeb arrives, all trace of the incursion vanishes. Forced to rely on more mundane methods of investigation, he starts to uncover a town rife with corruption, where a man will kill you for looking at a woman the wrong way; a town that’s seen its share of incursions from the land of nightmares before. 

As events start to slip from his control, he realizes the husk he’s come to kill is one step ahead of the game, and it holds a secret that will shake his world to the core.

Review:
Meh, mediocre but not all out bad. There is an interesting world here, the idea is certainly engaging and the writing isn’t bad, but the book drags as the main character spends too much time in his head and too little doing anything of significance. There are several surprise deaths that I thought were there just for the shock value. It was predictable and ultimately I didn’t feel it wrapped up well.

Plus, I had an issue with Jeb’s character.  I don’t know, maybe this is a personal quibble, but it seems to me that if his mother is a sucubus (a seducer of men)—as opposed to having an incubus father, I guess—his staunch heterosexuality seems a little contrived. Similarly, yes, his attitude toward sex and woman is given a context, but in a very real sense it feels a lot much like the author just gave him an excuse for pretty standard disrespect toward woman and women’s sexuality. Jeb uses them for sex and tosses them away like garbage (literally in some cases), often still begging for more of his magic prick. Perhaps this was meant as an exploration into the male sexual psyche, but I’m thinking not.

It’s like the prewritten male fantasy. Maybe because of this. Maybe because of the very male gaze. Maybe because all women are reduced to what they can contribute to the male protagonist—sex or food/drink. One is literally reduced to a walking womb whose only purpose in life is Jeb, her son. Maybe just because of Jeb’s narrative voice, but the book simply feels very male to me. So maybe I’m just not the intended audience, in the end.

Edit: I’ve decided to add links when I get flack for reviews. This one seems to attract people who want to tell me how I should review or speak to other commenters.

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