Author: Meagan Spooner
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
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.Review by Nara
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?
A rabid animal, a man-eater, deserves nothing more than a swift death to spare anyone else the fate her father had suffered. But a murderer?Hunted is an incredible Beauty and the Beast retelling that will truly stand out from the crowd. I quite enjoy these darker versions of Beauty and the Beast, another example coming to mind being Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. There's a greater focus on the fantasy aspect of the tale, and the Stockholm Syndrome side of things is not romanticised as much.
That deserved a kind of vengeance that turned Yeva's heart to ice.
The writing is truly fantastic. I've read all of Meagan Spooner's other books, and I must say, the genre where her writing shines is most definitely high fantasy. The dystopians/sci-fi she's written previously don't bring out her gorgeous prose in the same way that Hunted has. Beast's point of view was quite enlightening, and you could see the warring personalities within him through his short chapters. I actually quite liked these, as you could see the fluctuating levels of madness and how much the "beast" was taking over.
Yeva is very likeable as a protagonist, and together with a very solid relationship with her sisters and father, the character development in the novel is quite good. All the characters are engaging, and the only criticism I have on the part of the characters is that we could have definitely seen more of some of them e.g. Lena and Asenka, her sisters. Alas, in a Beauty and the Beast retelling, that's rather difficult. I actually wouldn't mind more books set in this world- it seems rather wasted on a standalone.
All in all, very little to criticise about the book. It's a fabulous retelling of a classic that everyone who likes fantasy and gorgeous writing should read.
World Building: 5/5