Book Review: Hunted

Title: Hunted
Author: Megan Spooner
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Retellings | Romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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 (goodreads)?

Hunted introduces a vivid new fantasy world; however, it's light on the romance. 
Plot: Yeva and her family lived comfortably until a robbery uprooted them from a life of luxury.  At their father's declining health, Yeva took on the responsibility of feeding her two older sisters until she encountered a creature deep in the forest. Hunted captured the spirit of the fairytale and Spooner's spin on the fairytale had its own curious mythology that held my attention. I loved that Spooner was able to tell this tale in one novel, it felt complete but also left me wanting more for this world. 

Characters: Yeva intrigued me from her introduction in the first chapter. Her selflessness and desire to protect her family spoke to me and I enjoyed watching her grapple with her confusing feelings toward the Beast and his world. While the story of Beauty and the Beast is inherently romantic, I did not get the feeling that Yeva and Beast's relationship was a whirlwind of emotions and soul-crushing love. I expected Beauty's time with Beast to engage me the most, instead, I found myself devouring the chapters that highlighted Yeva with her family.

Worldbuilding: Spooner mentioned that she would be writing a fairytale companion to Hunted and I am most excited to return to this world. Spooner's take on the original tale was unique and it complemented her world quite well. 

Short N Sweet: While Hunted was a well-rounded novel, it was missing the impactful love story I was expecting. 

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