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Hunted by Meagan Spooner
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This compelling Russian twist on Beauty and the Beast revolves around family, magic, love, revenge, and fantastical elements. The complex world-building, lyrical language, and rich, gorgeous details will enchant you!
  mcmlsbookbutler | Jun 8, 2017 |
“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

Yeva has never been comfortable living among the town aristocrats but instead dreams of the stories her father would tell her when she was younger; of the forest and the magic contained within. When her father loses his fortune and they are forced to move back to his lodge in the woods, Yeva could not be more content knowing she can spend her days familiarizing herself once again with the woods even though she knows it’s not a reasonable way for her to spend her life. Her father also begins spending his days and nights in the woods, mentioning hunting a beast and when he fails to come home after weeks of being gone, Yeva sets out to help him only to be captured by the beast that her father was hunting.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. she reminds us of what we used to be.
She reminds us of what we could be.”

Hunted is told primarily from Yeva’s point of view but is interspersed with short snippets from the Beast, showing the constant battle between his animalistic side while he fights to retain a hold of his humanity. Yeva is kept in a cell for weeks on end, telling him stories of Ivan and the Firebird to the one on the other side of her cell door who brings her food every day, having no idea that he is also her captor. The Beast finally shows himself to her and reveals that he captured her for a purpose: she must train to be a more superior hunter than she already is because she’s the only one that can kill the creature responsible for cursing him.

Hunted is a combination of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with the Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf Russian fairy tale and it’s a slow to unfold type of story. There’s also a disassociation from any sort of emotional connection that was key in my own connection with the story. I found it to be a beautiful story in essence of a young girl not knowing what to do with her life, wandering aimlessly, and I really wanted to feel her adversity but I never quite felt like there is much at stake for our young heroine. The significance behind the Firebird plays a huge role in this tale, as well as storytelling in general, and the romantic building blocks were left feeling incomplete in the attempts at focusing on the bigger picture. There is a note at the end Spooner includes regarding the origins of this story and the lengthy process it took to come to fruition was a heartwarming story. Her dedication to all of her readers was unbelievably touching and made me wish I had loved this story more than I did.

‘Male or female, young or old, if you’re reading this book, then you’re also that child reading by flashlight and dreaming of other worlds. Don’t be scared of her, that inner Beauty, or her dreams. Let her out. She’s you, and she’s me, and she’s magic.

There’s no such thing as living happily ever after — there’s only living. We make the choice to do it happily.’ ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Jun 2, 2017 |
I bought this book for the dedication, and I'm happy to say the story lived up to it's promise. This is an excellent fairy-tale retelling that beautifully fleshes out and breathes life in the old, familiar story. This is my first work by Meagan Spooner, but will not be my last. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Apr 29, 2017 |
This retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast sticks a bit closer to the original French tale but it has Russian influences (Yeva mentions Baba Yaga and Prince Ivan a few times). I thoroughly enjoyed this twisty version of the beast and I'm happy to add it to my shelves. ( )
  ilonon | Mar 29, 2017 |
HUNTED was a very unique spin on Beauty and the Beast, but it didn't quite pull me in like I wanted it to.

In HUNTED, Beauty is the vengeful huntress looking for her missing father only to find herself a captive of the beast. I liked Yeva. She was fierce when she needed to be and I liked how she took care of her family. She had a lot of struggles to work through and it was easy to connect to them. I never really connected to the Beast, but I did enjoy the lore that was involved in telling his story.

The romance—if you can really call it that— was very slow. It was one of those things were Yeva despised the beast until she was free of him and then she realized that she loved him in the end.

I found the story very interesting, but the pace at times was extremely slow. The ending events felt weird. The writing felt different from the rest of the story and my interest kind of withered at that point.

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  STACYatUFI | Mar 15, 2017 |
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To the girl who reads by flashlight, who sees dragons in the clouds, who feels most alive in worlds that never were, who knows magic is real, who dreams
This is for you.
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We always know before the change comes.
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