By: Meagan Spooner
Publication 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?
The best thing to say about Hunted was that it was a rather clever reimagining. The retelling of Beauty and the Beast is loose, and it’s mash up with Russian folklore is shown through the power of storytelling. However, the plot played out slowly, and the book turned boring, and then the ending felt like a complete turnaround as the writing style became hazy and poetic, and quite suddenly, too.
The reason Hunted is saved from a 2 star rut, is Yeva’s dog, Doe-Eyes, and the unique combination of Beauty and the Beast and the short story of Ivan, the grey wolf and the firebird. The Russian folktale is not only weaved into the story as basis for Yeva and the Beast to begin to build a relationship and trust, but it also serves as the backstory to the Beauty and the Beast tale. The detail and planning that went into weaving the two stories together was admirable, and the idea itself was very clever.
The drawback, to me, was that I had a difficult time liking the Beast. Yeva I enjoyed, but her relationship with the Beast, and the Beast’s character itself, was disappointing. In addition, I never felt much of a bond between Yeva and her sisters beyond what was explicitly stated in the novel.
Overall, Hunted fell short of my expectations. The clever plot was subverted by boring characters and slow execution and the ending was rendered particularly anticlimatic by making the heroine’s journey involving physical strength and sacrifice end with internal reflection.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.