The Hunter, by Theresa Meyers, is a steampunk western romance...with demons. And if that sounds awesome, it's because it is.
Colt Jackson, the youngest of the three Jackson brothers, is a Hunter. A hunter of the supernatural, actually, and by all accounts, a damned good one too. It runs in the family.
That's the kind of thing that makes having to strike a deal with a demon (one he's sure will end up with him losing his soul) a little awkward. But if that means saving the world from all hell breaking loose, well...
So, Colt summons up a succubus, Lilly, and the two of them head off to find his father's portion of the Book of Legend, so that he can seal off the Gates of Nyx. Naturally, nothing goes quite as planned, and Colt and Lilly find themselves thrown into a high pressure, high stakes situation, which leads to fast chemistry and a forged bond.
I liked this book. Lilly and Colt make a good couple and a good team. At times I wished there had been more action, but the two of them made for an enjoyable read the entire time. And it was refreshing to see characters who managed to toe the line between letting go of all of their long-held beliefs at first sight, and clinging to them past the point of reason. A lot of authors use that as a crutch for conflict, but Meyers avoids that pitfall, and I thank her.
Normally I don't like when romance novels add science fiction or fantasy elements, because the writer is often not as adept at handling those parts of the story, and the whole thing feels like it's taking place in front of flimsy backdrops. Meyers, however, does a very good job of blending the genres so they all feel like they fit into the tale. The Hunter would be a different story without the supernatural aspect of it. The western setting and the demons worked especially well together.
However, I would have liked to have seen more steampunk. Not necessarily in terms of more gadgets and whatnot, but more in terms of the feeling. It's the kind of thing I hesitate to bring up, because I can't quantify it. But it didn't feel like a steampunk story to me.
Then again, the book is primarily a romance novel, and it reads like that. Lots of sexual tension, innuendo, and descriptions of girls in dresses. I did enjoy the kind of clever explanation of why Colt, who is definitely not the kind of guy you'd expect to take such detailed notice of a lady's outfit, was paying so much attention to Lilly's costume changes. He's obsverant? It's cute, and I'll buy it.
If you like romance novels, and you're wanting to blend the genres a bit, then I would definitely suggest this book. If you're more of a fantasy/science fiction fan looking for something with more romance, this book might make you restless. "Why haven't they been attacked by bandits, or bit by a snake or something? They haven't been in trouble for like ten chapters!"
I'll admit to being completely predisposed to liking the book. Steampunk western? Why, that's my favourite kind! One of the main characters is a succubus? I've been so into them ever since getting into Lost Girl. Gritty characters in a gritty world? I can feel the sand and dust already!
If those are things you love, then perhaps you too will enjoy the book.
That being said, I knew before I started the story that it people were going to draw similarities between it and Supernatural. A family of demon-hunting men, one of them named Winchester, whose mother had been killed by a demon? I haven't even seen Supernatural and I know that much is pretty similar.
But, having not seen Supernatural, I can't say how much it resembles the show or not, and I'm not entirely inclined to take a fan's word on it (there are Supernatural fans who believe the series invented salt). So I offer no comment there, except to say that there was nothing so out of the blue in this book that I thought, "She must have taken it from somewhere else!" If you're not familiar with the show, you won't feel lost in the book, in other words.