Review of Hunted by Meagan Spooner

huntedcoverHunted
By: Meagan Spooner
Release Date: March 14th 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: E-ARC
Source: Edelweiss

My Rating:
star

Summary:
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?

My Thoughts:
Beauty and the Beast has always been  my favorite fairy tale so I’m excited each time I see a retelling being published. Meagan Spooner is such a talented writer I couldn’t wait to see what she’d do with this classic. I wasn’t disappointed at all! It was fast paced, original and yet really pulled in the feeling of the original story.

This go around our Beauty was an accomplished hunter as well as being very good in the woods. Yeva (her nickname was Beauty) had two older sisters that she was very close to (not like the original tale where the sisters are cruel to her) and she was the closest to their widowed merchant father. As you read it all feels so familiar and comforting but the little differences are enough to keep the story unique and interesting. I had a vague knowledge of where the story would go but Spooner added in so many aspects that were original to this story it kept me completely captivated.

Yeva’s world had a very original magical element. As we read on more and more of the magic becomes clearer and Beauty’s role as well. This was the type of story that had layers to it- we have our direct storyline but also a smaller, internal story about the Beast that was revealed as well as the larger story arc. I really loved this element.

The Beast in this book was easy to like and he even had little chapters from his point of view. They were very short but I liked seeing a little bit of what was going on inside his mind. He was a complex character and I loved the chemistry he had with Beauty. I loved his dual nature and there were times I actually didn’t know how he’d react which upped the tension considerably.

I have to say my favorite character though was Doe Eyes- Beauty’s dog. I absolutely adored this pup and she brought so much charm to the story. I loved the bond she had to Beauty. I recently got my own dog so I was especially able to relate to the emotional connection these two had.

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Final Thoughts:
Hunted was exactly the type of retelling I’ve been wanting! It had the original tale’s vibe, and most of al,l great characters that had real chemistry.

Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824A Court of Thorns and Roses
By: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

The Story:
I have been a fan of Maas since reading Throne of Glass and have felt that each book has gotten better as the series progressed. I had some high hopes and expectations for ACOTAR and let me tell you…I was a tad nervous for the first 100 pages. There had been so much hype and the folks that have read it prior to me all said it was so magical and wonderful. My worry was misplaced- ACOTAR turned out to be completely beautiful, epic and wonderfully written.

I love anything to do with the Fae so Sarah J. Maas taking them on-I was immediately sold. Then knowing that it was also a retelling of sorts of my favorite fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast…let’s just say this book had been on my most wanted list. Maas created such a rich world that incorporated traditional Fae lore interwoven with her own rich creativity. I loved the mention of various Fae and that they are ruled by a High Lord, seven for each court.

The story started with Feyre’s home town and her struggle to upkeep a promise to her mother and keep her father and two sisters fed. Because of this she had been forced into the role of a huntress and provider. I thought that Maas created a very vivid town and home life for Feyre though not many pages were spent there. Once we cross over to the lands inhabited by the Fae I felt that the descriptions became even brighter and more vivid.

As I said before the story was slower in the beginning but after a certain point it became impossible to stop reading. I became addicted to this book and felt it painful to put it down to sleep. The action and stakes were raised and things became tense. Since I was aware that this was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast I was able to see where the story was going at places but I enjoyed seeing the parallels and found that this aspect enriched my reading experience. I felt that Maas was very clever in her presentation and incorporated that romantic yet tragic feel of Beauty and the Beast seamlessly with the Fae. Really, it was beautifully done and captured my imagination and heart.

The Characters:
It was a slow burn for me to really connect with Feyre but once I did she became a favorite. I felt she was realistic and though I found her family-life a slower portion of the book I did feel that her reactions especially in feeling she’d abandoned them to be admirable. I loved that she was a complex character that suffered from her guilt. She pushed herself to take actions for the better good that struck war to her soul. I thought her internal monologue and torment was wonderfully done.

The Fae in ACOTAR were done so brilliantly. I absolutely loved the description of the Sureil was exquisite,

A face that looked like it had been crafted from dried, weather-worn bone, its skin either forgotten or discarded, a lipless mouth and too-long teeth held by blackened gums, slitted holes for nostrils, and eyes…eyes that were nothing more than swirling pits of milky white– the white of death, the white of sickness, the white of clean-picked corpses.

Isn’t that so creepy yet beautifully morbid? Many times I have found descriptions of the Fae to veer on the silly side but not so with Maas’ creatures. They were often the stuff of nightmares…but the beautiful ones, the High Fae, were something else altogether. Tamlin, Lucian and Rhysand- oh my. Each was unique, beautiful and complex. I could read so much more about each one of these characters. I’d love to read about their lives prior to ACOTAR (wishing for novellas).

And the main villain…perfectly and delightfully evil. Very little was mentioned or explored about the villain’s past or motivations but it worked very well for me. I totally bought this villain’s evil streak and feared for the characters as they were forced to interact with this person (don’t want to give anything away with gender).

Final Thoughts:
Though A Court of Thorns and Roses started on the slow side for me as the storyline picked up I became absolutely addicted and unable to tear myself away from Feyre’s story. I am thoroughly in love with these characters and know that the wait until the next book will be unbearable. Maas successfully incorporated the heart of Beauty and the Beast into a modern story depicting the Fae.