| REVIEW YA/retelling | Hunted van Meagan Spooner

Aside from Sci-Fi books being a hype within the YA community, re-tellings have become insanely popular as well. Recently I published a post about re-tellings from different fairy tales. The collection is huge – of course I couldn’t put everything in my post, but there’s more than enough – and if you’re interested you can read that post HERE.

I grew up with Disney and other fairy tales and I remember well from ever since I was a little girl, I was hooked on fairy tales and especially – Disney or otherwise. The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast remain my favorite. Authors re-telling these fairy tales is a dream come true for a booklover who still loves fairy tales. Some well known and recognizable elements from your favorite stories but with some fresh and new insight from the author’s imagination.

When I came across Hunted last year, I immediately put it on my wishlist. The book was delivered last March and I started reading it the same day because it just ‘screamed’ I had to read it asap. I wasn’t surprised I flew through it and finished it shortly after. Hunted by Meagan Spooner is an absolutely gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast that borrows from the Russian folklore of Ivan and the Firebird and in doing so manages to bring something unique to the tale whilst still remaining faithful enough to be the beautiful tale that I love.  Read on for my extended review..

“Fairy tales are about lessons.
Those who are virtuous and true are rewarded,
while those who are wicked and greedy are punished.”

First off, I want to talk a bit more about the setting. There are two different settings in this book; the ‘normal’ world were Yeva/Beauty lives with her father and sisters and the ‘magic’ world of Beast. Both were enthralling to read about. Yeva’s own world felt very familiar as to what we’ve known from the original fairy tale and I love the original elements but at the same time the author took her own spin on things and it fit perfectly. The magic world of Beast was mostly new territory and different from what I knew of the original fairy tale and I was memorized by everything I read. The setting is magical but has an icy cold feel to it, dark and cruel and I love it!

“None of this was what held Yeva’s gaze.
Because in the bottom of the valley,
straddling the river nestled in the foothills,
was a castle.”

I really liked all of the characters in this book, even the side characters like Solmir who at first ‘feels’ like the ‘Gaston’ of the story but ends up surprising me when I least expected it. His development throughout the story was a joy to read! Yeva’s sisters were an awesome addition as well. Very different in character from Yeva, but every one of them has an interesting story and development.

Yeva has a strong personality. She’s intelligent and very capable of surviving a lot of things with her set of skills. She’s got a tremendous knowledge of many things like medical stuff and she’s good at bonding with animals. her dog, ‘Doe-eyed’ – I kid you not, that’s her name, lol – is such an awesome addition to the story. I’m an animal lover myself and I love it when they’re present in a story.

Beast is the perfect counter character for Yeva and I liked him as well, from the very start. Even though he can be a complete brute from time to time, I love the mystery of his character and I kept wanting to know more, more, more. His animal side was so vividly written and you really felt it’s presence, loved it. Beast’s character and his realm were in perfect balance together and it took my breath away.

ROMANCE.
I’m really happy to tell you the author stays very true to the romance as it is in the original fairy tale. She definitely gives her own twist on things, but for the most part it comes down to this; Beauty/Yeva fears Beast, even though she’s a bit of a bad-ass herself. Yeva feels an intense hate for him for what he did to her father and now she’s trapped inside his realm and he’s using her for his own goals. At the same time she develops more than hate feelings for him. Her fear and hate reduce and she finds genuine romantic feelings for him, even though she’s still hurting for everything she’s lost because of him. Her and his change of feelings towards each other is well developed and beautifully written. A believable romance with depth..

FOLKLORE. PLOT.
The story of Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites. The Disney version but the original folklore tale as well. The author shows us the strength of the stories in her book as well and I love it. The elements from the original stories are recognizable and beautifully written in this book and the author’s own twists on the story and the ‘fill-in’ of the rest are original and mesmerizing to read. Since it’s a re-telling and the fact the author keeps close to the original elements the plot wasn’t all that surprising but it were the small moments that had me by surprise often enough. So it’s definitely not a story in which you could predict everything that’s going to happen despite of the use of a lot of original elements and that’s a showing of the amazing talent of this author I think!

The writing was amazing. I ‘met’ Meagan’s writing in a book she co-wrote with Amie Kaufman; the first book of the starbound trilogy (haven’t read book 2 and 3 yet) and I loved that writing immediately back then! I definitely recognized it’s writing in this book from my earlier read by her and Amie and it’s really good.  The writing is vivid and just gorgeous.

CONCLUSION.
Right from the start I got sucked into this world and I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading. The beautiful writing got me hooked and touched my heart. I quickly became attached to the characters because they felt so real and their development throughout the story was just really good. The setting of Beast’s realm is amazing and because of the vivid writing it really comes alive before your eyes while reading. I liked the book being not Too action-packed so it could give the story more time to evolve and at the same time adding more depth to it, I think. The balance was perfectly done on that. Aside from the story-line development, the development of the characters and the romance was really good as well. This read made me just really, really happy!

After finishing the book and closing it, I still didn’t have enough of it. The epilogue was too short in my opinion – I could’ve easily read another whole book haha. I wanted so much more of this word and it’s characters and it was hard parting from it.

The original elements at their best in combination with the original new input of the author herself  made it not only a beauty and the beast re-telling but something MORE. This is a book that should be in everyone’s collection, regarding which reading preferences one has. –  A MUST BUY. Even if you’re not familiar with Beauty and the Beast (barbarian!!) I’m sure this book is going to get under your skin. It involves a great, intense story-line with beautifully written family bonds, strong characters, dark but beautiful and magical settings, a well developed romance and a compelling writing style!

A truly mesmerizing Beauty and the Beast re-telling you’ll never forget 

 

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