Author: Meagan Spooner
Release Date: March 14th 2017
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?
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
Although Yeva lives a seemingly perfect life, one where her father has wealth and she mingles with the city’s aristocrats, she wants more. She grew up with fairytales, stories from her father of mystical creatures he hunted in the woods before settling down, and she wants that life for herself. When her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her two sisters to his old hunting cabin Yeva has that life, where she can hunt each day and no longer has to worry about societies expectations.
However as her father travels further into the heart of the woods Yeva watches as he slowly loses his mind chasing after a beast which outwits him at every turn. He stays out for longer, taking more dangerous risks than before, until one day his hound returns to the cabin without him.
Leaving with a promise to return shortly Yeva sets off after her father, but what she finds is the Beast, and when she falls into his trap she wakes in a dark dungeon. Yeva plans to kill the Beast for what he did to her father, her vengeance keeping her going when she thinks of her family left behind. However the Beast has other plans for Yeva and soon she is learning how to wield her father’s bow, how to hunt and track in the valley, and see a world of magic beyond her own sight.
Hunted was a really intricately written fairytale retelling, however the thing that let this book down for me was that it was so slow to start. There was a lot of build up to Yeva discovering the Beast and ending up his captive, and then a lot of build up to him training her. It was only in the last third of this book that it actually felt like the plot was moving forwards, that everything that had been built up and that we’d reached the climax of the story.
Yeva has never really belong in the city, too wild after hunting with her father in the woods. She is lonely among the aristocracy, and even after she and her sisters move into the woods she is lonely in the forest. Yeva took her father’s stories and lessons to heart and of her sisters she is the closest to him, the first person out of the door, heedless to the fact that she is the only person her sisters could rely on in the wild, when he goes missing.
It is Yeva’s desire for vengeance that keeps her going when she faces the Beast, and her belief that her sister’s are safe that keeps her from breaking. She is a strong character and her time learning from the Beast only makes her a stronger and more capable hunter.
One of my favourite parts of Hunted was the relationship Yeva had with her sisters. All three of them are different people but they love and accept those differences the way family should, without judgement or question. When Yeva is trapped with the Beast she thinks back to her sister’s, knows they are safe, and that is what keeps her going. Their relationship is one full of love and sacrifice that is built from that love, and it was such a wonderful thing to read.
The Beast is a complex character. It doesn’t fully understand humanity but at the same time it isn’t fully a monster either. At the beginning of each chapter we get small snippets that allow us into its mind; and it was very interesting to read the Beast’s perspective of Yeva, of her abilities as a hunter, and of the curse that settled over it long ago. It added another aspect to this creature we only otherwise saw through Yeva’s eyes.
Hunted was set in a world of fairytales, more than any other retelling I’ve read before this one seemed to really capture the essence of the original fairytales. Yeva found herself in a world of Firebirds and Lamya and Borovoi; a world where the stories all had three princes on a quest, three riddles to solve, three questions to be asked., and the rules Yeva follows are the ones she learnt from the old fairytales her father once read to her. Meagan Spooner made it seem like there was magic on the very fringe of the normal world. The city Yeva grew up in was side by side to the magic of the valley where the Beast made its home, and while the people may have been unaware of the Beast and its curse for Yeva it was a harsh reality.
For me Hunted was a story filled with magic and wonder and a sense of belonging. It was a wonderful retelling of one of my favourite fairytales. The slow build up throughout the book worked well for the plot, it allowed plenty of time to develop Yeva’s character and her growing connection to the Beast, unfortunately it was just a little too slow to keep me interested all the time.
What did you think of Hunted? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.