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Hunted by N. M. Browne


by N. M. Browne

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My mom gave me this book because the kids at her school are reading it in one of their English classes. It's about a young woman, Karen, who falls into a coma after a violent encounter with a gang. During her coma she is - or maybe just dreams she is - a fox in a medieval-like setting on the brink of revolution. She befriends a young man and their journey is the heart of the novel. This was interestingly written - lots of short, almost jarring sentences helped to communicate the idea that Karen-Fox's mind is mixed with an animal mind.
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
Hunted by N. M. Browne is a book I discovered in my early teens. I would say the intended audience is younger readers and young adult, but I still enjoy it almost ten years on. The only thing is that the writing can seem a little young at times, but the fascinating and unusual story more than make up for it.

We follow two main characters, Karen and Mowl, as the narrative brings them together in a very original way. Though Karen is the true main character, the story is told from both their points of view, alternately switching between the two. I know sometimes that can be irritating, but it works in this book.

The story starts with Karen (in modern England) being chased by a group of girls, ultimately ending up with her in a coma. She wakes up in a different world ( a very ambiguous one at that) as a fox. She is still herself, but her memories are fractured and she can't remember anything distinctly. This means that she survives through her fox instincts, which can so strong that they completely drown out her own thoughts and feelings. Also, though this world has some magic realism, as a fox she cannot speak or understand human speech. As you can imagine, this makes the whole situation a lot worse and very difficult for her to deal with. I can't even begin to wonder what the mind would go through waking up in a different world and time (as this second world is set in the past, in what I guess is medieval England) as a fox and on top of all that, no longer being able to communicate.

Across her travels, she meets and is befriended by Mowl, a shepherd boy in his teens. Mowl becomes hunted by the Militia, as they believe his estranged father (Mowl being an orphan with no knowledge of his family) killed the king. As his son, Mowl is also blamed.

Together, Mowl and Karen must find their way through a world in a state of oppression, where talk of revolution clings to the air and any suspected are hanged for treason and their loved ones hurt and killed. The king is under the influence of his advisor. The Militia is vast, strong and ruthless, killing without qualm.

Magic of a kind exists in this world, but more on a spiritual level. There are Adepts that can sense things on a higher plane and also sense peoples' emotions and desires. Some also believe in awls- beings from a higher tier who briefly visit their world. However, the king and his Purple Path are working to wipe all this out, building temples and charging taxes to make people believe there is nothing beyond their own world and killing all those who disagree. Rebellion is a whisper in the breeze, as many cannot survive the harsh winters with the new taxes.

The world itself, as I stated earlier, is ambiguous. We get small snippets of Karen is hospital from her grandparents' point of view, so it's unclear whether the second world is real or just a dream Karen is having during her coma.

Hunted is a great read, the characters are real and throughout the story the tension is constant and building. My only real criticism is that the ending is a little abrupt. I won't spoil it, but I would've liked to know just a little more than is given, but on the whole it's a great book. If you don't like books for younger audiences, but are interested in the premise, try checking it out of the library. I would definitely recommend Hunted. It was one of my favourites when I was younger and still holds a special place for me. ( )
  needtoreadgottowatch | Dec 1, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0747555192, Paperback)

Pursued and beaten by bullies intent on punishing her for alleged boyfriend-stealing, Karen, an English teen, slips into a coma--and a parallel altered state as a fox in ancient times. Suddenly, while lying unconscious in a hospital bed, she is also running through a forest, seeking shelter and sustenance, even decayed meat. And as her grandmother waits vigilantly by Karen the human's side, Karen the fox becomes embroiled in a strange political intrigue involving a dethroned king, a shepherd with the power to hear others' thoughts, and a peasant uprising.

This dark, unusual fantasy will capture the imagination of readers who loved David Clement-Davies's The Sight and Brian Jacques's Redwall series. Vivid imagery and a complex storyline demand close attention; the stark reality of life for each of the characters has no easy resolution, and readers will be compelled to stick it out with Karen to the bittersweet end. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:08 -0400)

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A young woman in a coma becomes a magical red fox in another space and time, where she plays a vital role in a rebellion against the king.

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