Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to be bringing to you all a guest post to help celebrate and promote the release of Hunted (The Voices Book 2) by G X Todd.
Massive thanks go to Caitlin at Headline for asking me to host a guest post.
Today also just so happens to be the publication date for Hunted, how cool is that! I get to promote the book on its release day! – Tis what book blogging is all about, holla at me if you agree my fellow bloggers! 😉
I received a surprise ARC of Hunted way back when and had to (it was one of my anticipated reads for 2018 so I was damn well gonna) read the book straight away posting my review on February 15th, 2018! 3 months ahead of publication as I loved the book that much!
G X Todd being the cool person that she is, even went and created a couple of graphics from my review for Hunted and yes, being the polite and eloquent book blogger that I am I swore in my review! 🙂
Anyhow, without further ado, it is my privilege to present to you the guest post by G X Todd.
Movies that Inspired the Voices series: Characters, their Relationships and Mental Illness
This blog post is not only for readers who’d like to learn more about the inspirations behind the Voices books, but also as film recommendations for everybody else (because every film on this list is awesome and I 100% endorse them). I’m going to discuss and dissect in terms of themes, because it’s rare an film in its entirety excites me enough to want to write about it – it’s more the elements contained within.
Characters and their Relationships
For the key relationship between Pilgrim and Lacey, I watched three main films (which will seem pretty obvious as soon as you read them). First was the Coen brothers’ version of True Grit (2010). The prickly atmosphere between Rooster Cogburn and Mattie Ross at the outset, and the gradual thawing of their hostilities, was the heart of this film for me. It was only through that slow journey to mutual respect and affection that the final scenes played out so powerfully. Of course, Pilgrim isn’t as talkative as Rooster, and Lacey isn’t as obstinate or ball-busting as Mattie, but there are elements in both of them that were useful to observe and redefine for a different setting. DEFENDER does follow some Western themes, too, so this film was perfect viewing.
The second film Leon (1994), otherwise known as The Professional, is maybe a less obvious choice, but I wanted to draw on the protégé role that lies between Jean Reno’s character and Natalie Portman’s. By the time we see Lacey in book 2, HUNTED, you can see how she’s taken what she learned from Pilgrim and is utilising it in how she approaches situations. She is less naïve and less willing to trust. She is a survivor.
In the third film Dredd (2012), the female partner that Judge Dredd is teamed up with is much more capable a character than Lacey is as the outset of the Voices series, and it was more Dredd, as portrayed by Karl Urban, that was of interest to me. He is taciturn and grumpy, but entirely competent and deadly. He also makes some wisecracks that are so deadpan in their delivery they are a delight to behold. I would love to see another Karl Urban Judge Dredd film.
The final movie I’m going to mention in this section is more a recommendation than a film that inspired me (it was released after I started writing the Voices series), but the cantankerous older man/younger girl dynamic was great fun to watch, all the same, and that film is Logan (2017). Definitely worth a watch.
Characters Yet to Come
This is more a tease than a discussion on who inspired my books’ characters. All I’m going to say is that both The Green Mile (1999) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) helped to inspire two characters that will be making their first appearance in Book 3.
Mental Illness and the Voices
This is a sensitive subject, and I’ll be talking only about the movies that fired my imagination and not about whether or not I think those movies are accurate or fair in their portrayals of mental illness. That’s a discussion for another time.
First off, one of my all-time favourites – Harvey (1950). Oh, how charmed I was by this film. Jimmy Stewart plays a man whose best friend is an imaginary 7ft-tall rabbit called Harvey. Of course, his very public interactions with Harvey soon garner negative attention and he is packed off to a sanatorium for treatment. It’s a very whimsical look at what is potentially a symptom of mental illness and/or alcoholism, but the relationship between Stewart’s character and Harvey is one that shows great affection. This lightness is a pleasant antidote to the other films I’ll be talking about.
Fight Club (1999). [Major spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t see this film.] The use of personality dissociative behaviour as a narrative tool may be unpopular with some, but the purely brilliant way the story conceals the fact that the Narrator of the movie (played by Edward Norton) and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) are one and the same person is GENIUS. A truly successful example of an unreliable narrator in film and, for me, an excellent display of a fully realised character being front and centre when, in actuality, they’re not real at all.
More spoilers ahead, and connected to the above film: Dead Man’s Shoes (2004). This film is astonishingly clever in how it disguises the main character’s PTSD mental breakdown in what appears to be, to the viewer, a straight revenge tale. The conversations he has, the misdirection, the shocking reveal. This was possibly the most important film I’ve watched in terms of creating realistic exchanges between “the voices” in my books and those who can hear them.
Side note: G X Todd has awesome taste in film with some fantastic movies being mentioned and it is great to see some love for Leon which is one of my favourite ever films.
Hunted (The Voices Book 2).
The birds are flying. The birds are flocking. The birds sense the red skies are coming.
One man is driven by an inner voice that isn’t his – this Other is chewing at his sanity like a jackal with a bone and has one purpose.
To find the voice hiding in the girl.
She has no one to defend her now.
But in an inn by the sea, a boy with no tongue and no voice gathers his warriors. Albus must find the girl, Lacey . . . before the Other does.
And finish the work his sister Ruby began.
Hunted is the second book in the acclaimed Voices series, where the battle between Good and Evil holds you in its vice-like grip.
Purchase Hunted (The Voices #2).
As an added extra here is my review for Hunted:
I received a free copy of the book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Hunted is the second book in The Voices series and follows on from last year’s release, Defender. Which coincidentally is the debut novel from Todd and was also one of my Top Ten Books of 2017! – yes, it’s an accolade worth mentioning as obviously, I have outstanding taste in books.
The post-apocalyptic genre is one that I’m quite fussy about (yes, I’m male ergo I’m fussy). It’s a genre that generally incorporates a harsh landscape, dwindling amenities, enduring hardship and a struggle for survival. To make a book within the genre really standout you need to have characters whose lives and fates you care about. It’s not the sort of genre where you can just read about ‘characters‘ as come to the end what’s the point in finding out if they make it and survive if you don’t care about them?! Sure, you will get a good story and a well-realised world (Hunted has both) out of it but if you aren’t gripped by the characters throughout then you’re missing out on what for me, is an integral part of a book especially in a genre that is about enduring and survival.
Not to worry though as like its exceptional forebears The Stand by Stephen King and Swan Song by Robert McCammon (two of my all-time favourite books and yes, Todd’s work is fully deserving of being mentioned in the same breath as those two greats) The Voices series accomplishes this giving you a tremendous cast of characters that feel real, whose lives and struggles come alive in your mind, whose journey you want to follow and finally, whose fate you need to know.
Hunted picks up after Defender (you really need to read that book first) and what a fantastic continuation of the story it is but instead of carrying on the story with Lacey, Voice, Addison and Alex (who we return to later) we are instead introduced to a new set of characters. We have chapters that focus on Posey, the Other and their group searching for Lacey et al from Defender and joining them are the new characters of Sunny and Beck amongst a few other minor additions. Then, we have the completely new set of characters, story and chapters that focus on Albus and his group who are holed up at a secluded Inn which acts as their safe haven.
I’m not one for excessive details, what fun would that be if I went and ruined the story for you?! I’ll tell you, none! The reader needs to experience the book first hand and not have a review tell them the ins and outs of the story in every minutiae detail. Suffice to say that Hunted is a harrowing tale set in an unforgiving and brutal world that will take you through a range of emotions as you follow Todd’s cast of unforgettable characters on their journey.
For the first third 200 pages (approximately) of Hunted Lacey et al are only mentioned in passing as everyone ends up searching for the group. The good to help and the bad to capture and it’s a race against time who will find them first. It’s a great way by Todd to start the book as it widens the scope of The Voices series, you get some additional insights, new characters and it also serves to build the anticipation for the reintroduction of Lacey et al later in the book. When we do finally meet-up with Lacey et al again it is an absolute pleasure to be reacquainted with them all and pick-up the story as told from their perspective.
In Hunted we get to delve slightly deeper and learn some more about the voices component of the series but there is still much more to be revealed by Todd about the actual concept and I can’t wait to find out what’s still to come with the characters, story and the voices.
The world in Hunted isn’t sunshine and rainbows. It’s bleak, dark and the dangers radiate from the pages as Todd’s writing really brings out the harshness in both the setting and the often ruthless people who inhabit the world.
Todd has a writing style that really draws you in and you will find yourself eating up the pages as you devour the story she is telling. There is some occasional humour thrown in by Todd and Voice is just as snarky as he was in Defender (gotta love the snark). The new characters introduced all add to and aid the story and the previous characters continue to grow and develop. Add in frenetic action, stellar setpieces and some thoughtful and emotional moments with a last 50 pages that will leave you speechless and you have a masterpiece.
I said in my review for Defender that it was a ‘modern classic‘ and an ‘outstanding addition‘ to the post-apocalyptic genre and with Hunted which is an even better book than its predecessor Todd has firmly cemented both that belief and my love for this series. Defender is a modern classic and Hunted is too. This series is a must-read, remarkable and worthy of being heralded as something special.
Hunted, guaranteed is destined to be one of the top books released this year. The only negative I have is that I’m posting this review in February and the official release date isn’t until the end of May! That’s plenty of time for all of you to catch-up on the series read Defender and then pre-order Hunted!
For me, sigh, I already want the next one!
To end, the quintessential review sentence! Simply put, for Hunted. It’s fucking awesome.
About G X Todd.
G X Todd lives and works in the West Midlands. After completing a history degree at the University of Birmingham, she worked for public libraries for fifteen years, where she drove a 35-foot-long library van around the Black Country. She now spends her days living the dream: writing books while in her PJs.
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The Voices series so far: Defender and Hunted are BOTH out now!!!
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