Author: Meagan Spooner
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy tale Retelling, Young Adult
Published: March 14th 2017 by HarperTeen
Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★
“Fairy tales are about lessons. Those who are virtuous and true are rewarded, while those who are wicked and greedy are punished.”
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?
5 of 5 stars to Hunted by Meagan Spooner
I am most excited to post about this book when I finished it. However, I had to hold all that excitement in because I took my time meticulously planning the graphics I would attach with it as if my life depended on it (LOL). I am so glad to show the finish product to all of you and to tell you how beautiful this book is! (Warning: image heavy post!)
First, let’s meet the lead characters. I made character profiles for each one so you could have a gist of how their personalities are.
I wasn’t really familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast, only aware of the fundamental element in its story (a beauty falling for a beast and vice versa), until I’ve seen the live-action movie (I know, I’m so late!) but its premise has always fascinated me. I’ve always had a soft spot for broken, imperfect heroes who need saving instead of the other way around. Ultimately, this aspect is what made me love Hunted so much but there are also a number of things that come after it.
Coming in second was the simplicity of the story that is teeming with moral values. It was molded after classic fairy tales (Russian, I think) that anyone can easily relate with. It brought me back to my childhood fascination of fairy tales and fables, and eventually rekindled my love for old literature.
Another factor was the smooth story-telling. Often times, young adult novels, especially fantasy themed ones, can get too caught up in providing flowery prose to seem more profound and end up failing, but Hunted was told cohesively and beautifully. The POVs are so clear and direct but at the same time has a beautiful flow to it.
Fourth would be the leading characters themselves. I find myself relating to both Yeva and Eovan, who are actually more alike than they thought weren’t, just because they are from two different worlds.
Yeva, lovingly nicknamed “Beauty” by her family members for her outstanding physical looks, dreams of a different world, of living a life in the woods away from the village she never knew how to love. Yeva loves hunting, having taught by her father who is considered the village’s best hunter. She has always felt out of place in the small town with girls only allowed to dress in their best gowns, have tea and chat, sometimes knit, others become nurses and then eventually marry to a good family. Yeva never wanted any of these–she has no problems with girls who are happy as it is–but she has grown to love the woods with which she considers her true home. She always wanted more.
I love Yeva because she’s brutally honest with herself. She never lied just to spare her feelings. She knows when she’s about to do something cruel or selfish, she’ll hate herself for it but she’ll push through anyway because she has a steely resolve and she’s brave. Her mind is a jumble of beautiful, sad, and clever thoughts. It was a joy reading her point of view.
The Beast, to be called Eovan later on, was a lonely creature, half beast and half human. He was always miserable having to live two identities. He needed a hunter to help him achieve his goal: kill the creature who cursed him to free the beast and the man finally.
The Beast is an enigma but I felt through his interactions with Yeva that there is still humanity left in him. He may look like a monster but he has his unique and unassuming ways of showing he cares.
As Beauty and Beast spend time together at a dilapidated castle, they realize their dreams and wants maybe one and the same, and in the end, they learn their lessons: greed will never result in anything good. Greed just brings regrets and misery. This part resonated with me a lot because often, we take things for granted. We always long for more, never realizing that the things we truly need and want are already within our grasp.
Lastly, I love the different faces of romance presented here. The author didn’t really give in to much romantic detail but it felt right anyways. It didn’t need to be emphasized in order to be felt or understood. It just is. There was the classic unconditional love portrayed in Yeva’s oldest sister, Lena and her man Radak, the selfless one shown in Asenka and Solmir, and of course the conquering one present in Yeva and Eovan.
This has been a long review but I think to summarize, this book is truly magical.