[Review] Hunted – Meagan Spooner

Hunted | Meagan Spooner
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2017
My Rating: ★★★

From Goodreads: 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?

“In every fairy tale there were rules. Even the monsters could not break them. And where, except in fairy tales, did there exist talking beasts?”

I’m sort of torn on this book. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. I can’t recommend it, but I don’t want to turn people off of it. I think it’s a worthy addition to Beauty and the Beast retellings (of which I have an obsession for), yet it bored me more often than not. I liked the novel’s twists and turns, but between those unexpected moments, the story slogged. It would appeal to those who prefer beautiful descriptions over a fast pace.

The story alternates between Yeva and the Beast. We only get snippets of his thoughts between each chapter, but most of the quotes I found notable came from him. I would’ve enjoyed more from his point of view.

“Because while hatred is a fire only man feels, he does not hate the beast that comes in the night. Mankind fears it, fights it, drives it off, but he does not hate it. No one hates the bear, the wolf. They don’t hate the wind or the snow. They don’t hate death.

They hate each other.”

Though Yeva is a strong heroine, hellbent on revenge, I never felt a connection with her. I didn’t care what happened to her or her family. I mostly found myself worrying about her dogs.

To be honest, I prefer retellings where the beast is more of a sexy beast than an actual beast. At the very least, I want a lot of banter. Hunted was missing that for me. I did, however, love the the play on Russian folklore with stories about Baba Yaga, Ivan Tsarevich, and Vasilisa the Wise.

Hunted wouldn’t be a book I would ever reread or heartily recommend, but I can understand why someone else might become immersed in Spooner’s beautiful prose.

If you’ve read it, what were your thoughts? What is a Beauty and the Beast retelling you enjoy?