Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 384
Source: Bought
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Overall: 3 STARS

SUMMARY 
New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner spins a thoroughly thrilling Beauty and the Beast story for the modern age, expertly woven with spellbinding romance, intrigue, and suspense that readers won’t soon be able to forget.

Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones—and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and 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. The Beast.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical 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 THOUGHTS 
Ever since I first heard that Meagan Spooner's Hunted was a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling, I've been so excited to read it. I love it when an author breathes new life into a beloved fairy tale, making it fresh and unique, but still familiar at its core. Hunted actually blends "Beauty and the Beast" with a Russian fairy tale called "Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf", one I had no prior knowledge of reading, which made me all the more intrigued about this retelling.

When Yeva's merchant father loses their entire fortune, her family moves to his old, abandoned hunted lodge far on the outskirts of town. The small lodge is a far cry from their privileged life in genteel society, but Yeva is secretly relieved. She's never been satisfied in town, always feeling a deep, restless yearning in her heart for the forest her father taught his young Beauty to hunt in as a child. But after her father disappears in the woods one day, Yeva sets out to find him, leading her to a ruined castle and a terrifying creature simply called the Beast. 

For all its lovely prose and gorgeous descriptions of the wintry landscape and the ruined castle that lies in the Beast's territory, the plot for Hunted seemed to drag for me. The pacing was slow and not much seemed to really happen, despite the long length of the book. When Yeva wasn't hunting or training with the Beast for a purpose he couldn't say, her feelings were torn between her desire for vengeance or her tentative friendship with the mysterious Beast. I guess you could call it a slow-burn romance, but I say that very loosely. Yeva's not exactly one for romantic notions. I was actually much more curious about what would break the enchantment cursed upon the Beast, and how he lost his humanity in the first place.

I just wished there was more conflict or drama in the story. Yeva's two eldest sisters are genuinely nice and caring, rather than being shallow and selfish like in the fairy tale. And even Yeva's potential suitor is actually a good match for her, someone who is considerate, accepts her love of hunting, and would provide a good home for her. He was no awful Gaston, that's for sure. But with everyone being so nice, it was actually kind of, well, boring. And the ending! It was unexpectedly anti-climatic. The pacing finally began to pick up with frenetic urgency for Yeva to return to the Beast and help him... and then it was all over within a few pages. I'm not even sure I fully understood what happened.

Honestly, I liked Meagan Spooner's Hunted, but I was still left feeling rather disappointed in this YA fairy tale retelling. The flowing style of writing may have been perfect for weaving together the fairy tale aspects, but with such little conflict for a fantasy, the book simply didn't leave a deep impression on me.

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