March 19, 2019

Hunted: A Rambling Review

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Utterly absorbing -- once it got going, I couldn't put it down. Spooner marries the traditional Beauty & the Beast tale with Russian fairy tales beautifully. If I had to nitpick, I'd say that I could have used a little more detail in description, and also that Spooner could have strayed a little farther from the original Beauty & the Beast tale; this one sticks quite closely to it for the first three-quarters or so of the story (admittedly, the ending is very different!). I am a little confused by the ending itself, which wrapped up quite quickly and left me with some unanswered questions (spoiler, highlight to read: did the Firebird die when Yeva shot it? Or did it just disappear?). 

I really enjoyed Yeva herself as a protagonist -- she was fierce, and determined, and yet she was not impervious to emotion. The Beast took a little longer to grow on me (unsurprisingly, of course), but grow on me he did, and during the part of the tale in which Beauty leaves the Beast, I felt quite sorry for him, and I wanted to shake Yeva and remind her that he needed her. I know some reviewers said that there wasn't enough of the romance here, but honestly I didn't really have a problem with that. No, it isn't romance-heavy, but the slow-burn of a friendship developing between them is clear to see. (I don't know that the original fairy tale was super heavy on the romance either, to be honest -- I mean, he is an actual beast, after all.)

Anyway, bottom line: loved it. I think Beauty by Robin McKinley will always be my absolute favourite BatB retelling, but this one is up there. In a way it kinda reminded me of East by Edith Pattou (no trolls here, though!) so I think if you enjoyed that one you might like this one too.

4.5 shooting stars. 


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