Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Book Shelf: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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?

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner is a lavish and elegant Beauty and the Beast retelling, offering to readers a story of yearning and magic set within a winter wonderland and woven together with Russian folklore and mythology.

The youngest of three daughters, Yeva is more at home in the forest than amongst the aristocrats of the city where she and her family live. Taught by her merchant father the art of hunting and tracking, Yeva is secretly relieved when her father loses his fortune and has no choice but to move Yeva and her sisters into the cabin in the woods. No longer having to suffer idle small talk with wealthy lords and ladies, Yeva happily throws herself into daily life at the cabin until her father goes missing in the woods and Yeva ventures out in search of him. Despite her sisters misgivings, Yeva is determined to hunt her fathers hunter and in her effort comes upon a Beast unlike anything she has ever seen. Attacked herself, Yeva soon finds herself prisoner in a strange castle and discovering creatures she thought only existed in fairytales. The Beast may be more monster than man, but as he urges Yeva to help him hunt creatures of legend, who will win? Beauty or the Beast?

Having read and adored Meagan Spooner's Skylark and Starbound series in the past, I was very excited to read Hunted. Beauty and the Beast re-tellings are always some of my favorites but although Hunted featured some absolutely beautiful prose and a stunning atmosphere, I didn't love it like I thought I would. I still thought it was an enjoyable novel, it just failed to blow me away as anticipated it would.

Though Hunted leaves me with somewhat mixed feelings, there's no doubt in my mind that the world within Hunted was very well depicted and thought out. Meagan Spooner fills this world of mystery and magic with beauty and elegance, detailed descriptions of a wild wilderness and a gothic castle in disrepair.

Yeva is a strong willed and capable heroine who knows who she is. She makes no apologies and knows she doesn't fit in with the normal society of her time. Yeva yearns for something she cannot name and it is this that sees her venture out, searching for something elusive. I did like her, and many of the minor characters including her sister, but I felt somewhat disconnected from her at times too.

The relationship between Yeva and the Beast felt lacking to me also. I did not feel any real romance or connection between them given that the relationship between Beauty and Beast is so pivotal in the original tale. This does not seem to be as explored in Hunted as I wished to would have been, nor does the Beast seem to encompass the character and personality he has in other re-tellings and versions I have read or watched.

Yet, even with it's faults in my eyes, Hunted is still a wonderfully depicted novel. I have no doubt that it will be a favourite amongst many readers and definitely do not regret reading it for there was something within it's pages I found haunting and compelling too.

Source: Purchased by me
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 14th 2017
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: Nowhere near what I expected, but still beautiful in it's own right

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