I just finished reading Hunted, by Meagan Spooner!
"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?"
This book is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, and I think that it was done, well, beautifully! I adored Meagan's writing style, and through it you could really feel the kind of magesty that comes with the Beauty and the Beast story we all know and love.
Yeva, the main character, has some tropes that we have seen before, but I absolutely loved the character anyway! She is used to both mild riches and poverty, and yearns to go hunting in the woods, but is mostly fine with her life. There is a man who is in love with her, and she doesn't outright reject him, but believes she can learn to love him so gives him a chance. She is the youngest sister in her family and, overall, a very realistic and relatable character.
One day, Yeva's father goes missing in the woods. She finds him killed, and this leads her to meeting the Beast - a wolf-like monster that has human attributes, such as speach and emotions. He captures her to make her agree to hunt a monster for him. Her task is to hunt and kill the one who cursed him into his beast form. Although she is angry at the beast for killing her father, she agrees and starts training with him.
The subtle hint of magic in this book was really amazing - it wasn't an obvious, in-your-face magical world - instead, it was brought out through legends, stories, and a kind of 'music' the forest had. I though this was done really well!
The Beast has some kind of double personality. Much like Gollum in Lord of the Rings, he refered to himself as 'we' and was often conflicted as to what to do or think. I enjoyed his constant mental conflict, and the snippets of his journal.
One thing that I feel could be worked on a bit is maybe the emotion factor - you guys know, I love it when books hit by feels. This book had an enoromous potential for that, but I feel like emotional parts could have been drawn out a little bit more. On the other hand, moments of tension and action were practically like a single ring of a bell - bright and impressive!
I'm giving this a 4/5 feathers! It was a beautiful read, and I would highly reccomend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy re-telling!
Have you read Hunted? Or any other Beauty and the Beast retelling you would like to share? Let me know!
Have a great day!