I don’t know about you, but my favorite classic fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. When I found out that Hunted by Meagan Spooner, was going to be retelling of this beloved tale but mixed with Russian folklore, I was immediately hooked.
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?
- The Characters – Beauty (or Yeva), is such a strong and independent main character. I loved that Spooner was able to take away those criticisms of the original character, by giving us a young woman who is known for her hunting and not her looks. Ummm, yesssss please! I also really enjoyed the depth to the Beast. We were given a very complex character who was able to show how much he struggled internally with his dual natures of man and beast.
- Beautiful Prose – I loved the writing in this book. It had an almost lyrical quality that went really well with the folklore in the story. This was my first book by Spooner and I was pleasantly surprised to see such beautiful words.
- Philosophical – The YA genre catches a lot of flack for being superficial, with a focus on action and plot. However, I would definitely say that was not the case for Hunted. The entire theme of the book is very deep, revolving around wants, desires, and the endless need for complete satisfaction. Pretty important in today’s society, huh?
- Pacing – I will say that due to the prose and the overall plot (which we are all quite familiar with!), the middle of the book does tend to drag for a bit. I think there’s about a good 100 pages where not much is happening. It was almost like a Groundhog Day moment, where we had to relive the same everyday routine. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I struggled to push through it.
Overall, this was a really interesting take on the Beauty and the Beast story. I loved how it was able to seamlessly blend with Russian folklore and create a completely new story, that was still the beloved tale that we’ve all come to know. Don’t expect to breeze through this story. I think it’s better to be savored on a snowy day, curled up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Have you read Hunted before? What did you think of it? Did you like how it was mixed with Russian folklore?