Author: Meagan Spooner
Pub Date: March 14, 2017
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
“Because I thought the reason I’d always felt so restless was because I was meant for magic…”
Hunted starts off slow but makes up for it with a stellar second half. Much like Yeva—also known as Beauty—I am restless and uncomfortable with comfort. I constantly dream about finding something more out there—something that does not have a name. It’s just a strong feeling. Anyway, the story really revolves around that inexplicable feeling, the wanting, and I really liked that. Also, the author’s note at the end does a good job of explaining the intent of the novel. I believe Meagan Spooner accomplished what she set out to do. She followed that strong feeling and wrote this story (as well as several other successful novels), so I really respect her for that.
But let’s get back to the actual story. If it wasn’t obvious enough already, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Retellings tend to be predictable, mostly because they tend to end in the same way as the story they are inspired by, and partially because sometimes the authors get lazy with their worldbuilding. I suppose some might assume that the original story sets the atmosphere on its own, but that is definitely not true. In any case, I feel like Spooner did a good job at creating a “new” setting (of medieval Russia, I think?) while still staying true to the original fairy tale.
On another note, I actually found myself quite surprised by how this story made me feel. I didn’t think I would feel much empathy for the characters because (let’s face it) I’m an adult now and fairy tales just don’t have the same effect on me anymore. But I was wrong. I still yearned for a happy ending. And I think that was the most magical part about this book.
Moreover, this book reads easily. It’s like listening to your grandparent or parent wistfully tell you about this crazy, improbable thing that happened to them when they were younger, but it also feels more important than that. I don’t know how else to describe it. I just wish the first half of the novel didn’t drag so much. I had to put the book on pause several times because it was not holding my interest, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Read to the end. The payout is worth it.
I hope you guys enjoy this book as much as the majority do. I can see why so many people loved it! I just needed something more.
*Actual rating: 3.5 stars