By: Meagan Spooner
# of pages: 374
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?
My opinion: I didn’t realize when I reserved this at my library that it’s another retelling of the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” I just finished Wintersong a couple of weeks ago which is also a retelling, but is going to be a series while Hunted is a standalone novel. It’s a good thing that’s my favorite fairy tale and I love reading different versions of it.
The story is about Yeva, nicknamed Beauty, the daughter of a hunter who lives in Russia. Although Yeva loves hunting, she hasn’t been allowed to in years since her father wants her to become a respected member of the local society. However, their lives are suddenly turned upside down and she once again finds the opportunity to use her bow and arrows.
I wasn’t able to immerse myself in the beginning of the book like I usually do because we were visiting distant family members I haven’t seen in 3 years for U.S. Thanksgiving. So I wasn’t immediately drawn into the book, but by the end I was very impressed. It was an incredibly well written book. I couldn’t help but compare it to Wintersong and it came out on top. However, it is quite different from Wintersong, so I can’t fairly compare them directly.
Things that were brought up at the end of the book were hinted at near the beginning of the book. I love it when books are consistent from beginning to end and when it’s obvious the author had a clear plan from start to finish. Nothing in this book seemed unnecessary, didn’t make sense, or contradicted itself.
I also enjoyed the main character of Yeva. I didn’t relate to her that much since I’m not a hunter and don’t find the idea of hunting and what it entails enjoyable. I also hate the cold and winter/snow played a large part in the story and seemed to symbolize freedom to Yeva while it would make me feel the opposite. However, in spite of our differences I liked Yeva and understood why she made the decisions she made.
And finally, I appreciated the clean, good fairy tale story that Spooner gave her readers. It makes me happy to have finally read a young adult fantasy that isn’t the first in a series. It seems like I’m always waiting for the next novel in a series and this one wrapped up nicely. It felt like the author wrote this for the pure enjoyment of it and that it wasn’t to make money or appeal to teens today, etc. Perhaps her explanation in the note at the end of the book influenced my feelings about this, but I think my thought explains why the novel felt so well written and planned out.
Overall, this wasn’t SUPER amazing to me in spite of my review sounding like I was paid off to gush, so I don’t think it will go on my favorites list. Maybe that was because I wasn’t able to spend much time reading it the first few days. I think it’s worthy of gushing and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and different versions of fairy tales.
Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Well, I’ve already said why in more detail that my reviews usually go into!