Sunday, July 2, 2017
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Since that movie came out, there's been a Beauty and the Beast craze around YA literature nowadays. Understandable, seeing as it's already a pretty popular tale for adaptations and reimaginings. Like any fairy tale adaptation, I've seen the best and the worst and so decided to give this one a shot. Let's see how it worked out.
Yeva and her family have hit a spot of trouble. A reckless business venture caused her father to lose all their money and so he and his three daughters are forced to move out to their hunting cabin in the woods. Yeva, however, is secretly thrilled as this means she can go out hunting in the woods like she used to. When her father goes missing, Yeva sets out to find him and comes across a terrible Beast that takes her out of time and space to train her to hunt for him. Yeva trains and becomes stronger under the Beasts guidance, but not seeking to kill his mysterious prey, but the Beast himself.
While other adaptations like to go straight for the throat and play out the "arranged marriage" message that this fairy tale plays out, this one is a little different. This one is a bit more formulaic, playing out the plot of the story but with a set up all its own. I was a bit worried they were going for a "liar revealed" sort of thing, but it that idea is quickly scrapped and the story progresses a bit more smoothly after that. It does manage to build chemistry between two characters who are essentially walking on eggshells around each other all the time. Yeva, as a main character, manages to avoid being a tough hick and a demure lady who just happens to know how to use a bow. She's flawed, irrational, unsatisfied but also caring and sympathetic and intelligent in a way that's neither snobbish or matter-of-fact. She trusts her gut, whether it's right or not, and I liked that about her.
One thing I really did like about this book was the descriptions of the woods and the world building. I read this book in the heat of summer, but this book had no problem making me feel the cold of winter. Also, I like that the castle in which the Beast lived was no day spa with servants waiting to pamper and spoil our protagonist. It's just as cold and mysterious as the woods surrounding it and I liked that about it. Nothing comes easy for Yeva in this story and I appreciated that. The Beast actually is a "no Prince Charming" but he's also not a raging abuser either. There's sense in what he does and the brief insights into what he thinks lets us see that his end is developing just as much as hers is. It all comes together very well.
Now, there is a problem I have with the book and it's kind of a big one. I don't get the ending to this thing at all. While I can understand, kinda, from a story perspective, this book is trying to teach us something and...I just don't get it. It has to deal with them both being unsatisfied even though they have everything they could want and...you're supposed to just settle? You can't always get what you want but if you try sometime you find you get what you need? Was that it? Also, there's a "twist" about the Beast's identity and...yeah I called it. It wasn't too hard to figure out. It wasn't a bad ending, per se, I just didn't get it. Well, my loss I guess.
I appreciated a lot of this book, such as the great world building and the steady balances in the characters and the pacing of the romance. But the confusing ending left me a bit lost and that's never the kind of impression you want to leave your readers with. Still, overall, it's a pretty good book and worth your money at your local bookstore.
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer
Next Time: Beware the Raven King.