Monday, August 6, 2018

Book Review: Hunted

Release Date: March 14, 2017
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 384 pages
Source: Purchased Book/Library Audiobook

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?



Protagonist: When Yeva's father loses his fortune in a venture ransacked by bandits, they and Yeva's sisters have to move to their father's old hunting cabin at the edge of the woods. Yeva feels happier there than in the city and hopes to go hunting with her father, but he urges her not to follow him. When he doesn't come back from one trip, Yeva follows him into the woods and discovers the horrors of the woods, including a monster who has trapped her. On the whole, I like Yeva, she's a headstrong and capable protagonist, she knows how to take care of herself and hunt, and she doesn't back down when challenged. Still, I do wish that I cared about her more, I mean, like I said I like her, but there was something holding me back from truly connecting with her as a character and I wish I knew what that was but unfortunately I don't, still as I've repeated already she's a great character, I just couldn't connect for some reason.

Romance: The romance in this book is a slow burning one, at least for Yeva, the Prince trapped in the Beast softens to Yeva rather quickly. Much like with the protagonist, there isn't anything about the romance that I don't like, it's slow burning and I can tell that the two characters truly grow to care and love each other and that love feels earned, but unfortunately, I couldn't connect with the romance very well. It may be because I couldn't connect with Yeva, but I wanted to love this romance, and in some aspects I do, but emotionally I could never get invested in the romance, try as I might.

World Building: This is one place this book truly shines. As many of you may know, my favorite fairy tale, and thus my favorite retelling fodder, is Beauty and the Beast, and I've never seen one set in Russia or based on Russian folklore before and I really enjoyed how this author wove those folktale elements into this story. I think this story takes place in a version of our world, though I'm not quite sure as I don't think it was said where this story takes place, only some mentions of real places every now and then. Still, the valley of enchantments that the Beast is cursed to, feels lush and beautiful full of creatures of all sorts, some I'd never heard of before. While the retelling itself had some unique qualities to it, unfortunately, it read as a very simple Beauty and the Beast retelling and while I loved the Russian folklore elements to the story, I wish there was something more unique about the retelling itself.

Predictability: As this is a retelling, pretty much everything in this story is predictable, save a few things but they are small and I mostly didn't predict them due to not remembering certain parts of the story from before. I mean, every major twist in this story was completely obvious, I really wish that the author had kept some secrets to herself because the foreshadowing in this tale is very obvious.

Ending: So, the end of this tale really serves to drive home the "lesson" of this story. It tries so hard to drive that lesson home that there are aspects to this tale that sort of crumble just to serve this supposed lesson. Don't get me wrong, I like the lesson and it does fit with this story, but I felt the message was very heavy-handed at the end of this tale. There is an epilogue to this tale that while appreciated, isn't really needed, and that's coming from me who loves epilogues.


While I did enjoy this tale, I, unfortunately, couldn't connect with the characters and story as much as I wanted to and while I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, this one was, unfortunately, despite the interesting Russian folklore elements, rather basic in its story structure.


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