A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
I was immediately immersed in Ever the Hunted because of the writing style and my ability to connect to the main character, Britta. Overall, I felt this debut was a successful YA fantasy with enjoyable characters, fast pacing and beautiful writing.
You can see by the summary that this book followed some pretty standard YA themes: strong female lead, mystery surrounding father’s death, unrequited love interest, and the heroine being more than she believed. Regardless of hitting these typical notes the writing made this novel feel fresh and I was able to really feel the emotions Britta felt and be intrigued to learn more about her specific story.
On the romance front- this novel was pretty heavy on the lovey moments. Britta was often drawn to the physical attributes of her best and only friend, Cohen. I felt that there was a bit too much of her swooning over his back muscles but I was still able to feel some chemistry between the two. I’d classify this book as romantic fantasy so if you like a heavy helping of romance with your fantasy world this will be right up your alley.
The side characters were well done for the most part and I think it would be impossible not to have a soft spot for Enat- an old lady that lives in an enchanted forest. She’s bristly but loving and I was delighted with her character. As easy as it was to like many of the characters Summerill was adept at creating characters I loathed. I had trouble finding the good in a couple of them which made them rather one dimensional but it worked for the storyline.
The setting was vividly described which really helped me visualize the story. I liked that I could see the story play out in my mind’s eye and imagine the characters, forest and buildings. The world was richly developed and though questions were left undeveloped I knew enough to understand the struggle the characters faced and I’m certain we’ll learn more of the land’s history as the series continues.
The main mystery of the plot- what happened to Britta’s father- was not overly obvious but I honestly never really cared to try to solve the who done it though I was able to feel the love Britta had for her father. I think a few of the story elements were rather easy to figure out but I was still interested in reading the book to its conclusion.
An aspect I have to mention was that there was a strong family kinship/love element in this novel. Each of the main characters, Cohen and Britta, are driven by the love they feel for their family. I enjoyed their desire to push themselves for their loved ones and especially Cohen’s unwavering desire to protect his brother. I do hope that in the next book was actually get to meet Finn.
Now, for what left me a bit grrr- the ending of this book left open a door that I’m not sure I want open! I wasn’t thrilled with where that ending left us and the wait to find out what will happen will be far too long.
Ever the Hunted was a beautifully written romantic fantasy that played heavily on family loyalty and the feelings the main characters felt for one another (friendship and romantic). I felt that the world was an interesting one and I hope we delve deeper into it as well as learning more about some of the side characters. I fear for where the ending left the story.