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Hunted Hardcover – March 14, 2017
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★ "A rich, Russian-influenced retelling of 'Beauty and the Beast.' Building upon a familiar tale, Spooner creates a detailed world populated by complex characters... reminiscent of Robin McKinley's and Patricia McKillip's novels, concerned with the power of stories." -- Kirkus, starred review
“Spooner creates a detailed world populated by complex characters… An elegant, classic, and vivid fairy tale.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Unlike the cardboard heroes of fairytales, Yeva is a very human girl who must discover the meaning of the deep yearning that has always been within her. The author’s depictions will keep the reader spellbound.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review))
“A haunting and romantic exploration of love and what sacrifices come with freedom.” (Marie Lu, author of the Legend and The Young Elites trilogies)
“Haunting and graceful, with an edge that draws blood when you least expect it, Hunted is a masterpiece. Spooner deftly weaves together fairytale with fantasy, bringing to life an immersive, unforgettable world, a heart-wrenching romance, and a badass heroine.” (Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling author of Illuminae and The Starbound Trilogy)
“Elements of Russian folklore thread through this revision of “Beauty and the Beast,” and the smooth storytelling effectively creates atmosphere and mood as well as relaying the tale. Much time is spent on details… they all work to create a richly immersive and creatively fresh world for a familiar story.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
From the Back Cover
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood.
She knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.
But Yeva’s grown up far from her father’s old lodge, raised to be part of the city’s highest caste of artistocrats. Still, she’s never forgotten the feel of a bow in her hands, and she’s spent a lifetime longing for the freedom of the hunt.
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 heard about only in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin—or salvation.
Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?
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Top Customer Reviews
One day, fate turns and Yeva's father must return to hunting. An opportunity presents itself for Yeva to turn fate back around for her sisters and father, but something in her pulls her to the forest. Though she agrees, her father must still approve of her decision, but her father left on a hunting trip and hasn't returned. Days pass, and Yeva grows more worried. One day she sets out to find him, only to come face to face with terror and heartbreak that she never imagined. Soon Yeva finds herself a prisoner of the Beast, though she seems to have aa silent benefactor. For his acts of kindness, Yeva tells him stories from her childhood, stories of the brave Ivan and the beautiful Vasilisa. As the story progresses, Yeva soon learns that the stories she thought were nothing more than fairytales could turn out to have all the answers she seeks.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this version of Beauty and the Beast's story is how the Ms. Spooner has woven in old Russian fairy tales into her retelling. It makes for a fresh take on the story that we've all read/seen/heard over and over. Her telling is also closer to the original tale rather than the glossy, sanitized Disney version. I much prefer this stronger Beauty, one who struggles with what others expect of her and what she expects of herself. She's not perfect, she makes mistakes, she makes dumb choices. There's no glitz, no glamour, no singing teapots. There is heartache, loss, redemption, and a little bit of magic. I finished the book in one sitting and turned off my Kindle with a happy sigh. While I am glad this isn't yet another trilogy that should have been one book, I wouldn't have minded if this one book had a sequel. It would have been enjoyable to see how Yeva and Eoven (the Beast) fared in the immediate future, how Eoven dealt with the passage of time, if his beast nature ever resurfaced, if they encountered any more from the fairytales of Yeva's childhood.
I also really liked that Yeva had sisters, and her relationships with her sisters were central to the story. As a whole, this story was a great combination of atmosphere, magic, and romance.
There’s a different sort of air to this story, perhaps because our Beauty is living somewhere in Russia and has a different personality than all the Beautys who came before her. But she’s definitely one you will enjoy. She’s fond of the hunt though lately she’s been learning to be more ladylike. And that’s when her father loses everything. The family must sell all their worthy possessions and move to this small hunting cabin the woods where her father hopes to be able to hunt and sell pelts to pay off his investors whom he failed. But soon her father slowly begins to lose his mind it seems, as he starts raving about a beast in the woods who scared off all the animals and he was determined to hunt it down. But he never came back, so Yeva, our Beauty, brushes off her old hunting bow and starts to hunt around the cabin to take care of her sisters and then sets off into the woods to find her father after a long period of time has passed.
And it is then that Yeva encounters the Beast. But he’s not like any Beast we’ve seen before either. Every other chapter in this book is an excerpt from the Beast’s point of view. Almost like a journal entry and we can see how he fights with the animal and human side. Where one is always trying to take over the other. It was kind of insightful in some ways. After Yeva’s encounter with the Beast she is taken prisoner and befriends a young man on the other side of the door and she shares stories with him. Soon we meet the Beast in full and he has a certain task that only Yeva can perform, he wants her to go hunting.
While we do see trends in this book with the story that we all know and love, we can also see how this one stands out from the other. The location and culture are among those things! The stories Yeva indulges in were fairy tales from her childhood and it’s no surprise how big of a role they will play in the story as well.
Yeva definitely has more anger than any of the Beautys before her as well. She believes the Beast has killed her father and she swears to herself vengeance and that she will kill the Beast one day. She warns him of this too. The two basically don’t have that love connection going on like we slowly see revealed in the Disney movie. Here we definitely have something new and different. The romance itself isn’t really all that clear either. One moment the two hate each other and then in the next we see kindness. It almost makes your head spin, but yet I couldn’t help but like it.
One thing that was sort of unclear throughout was the curse itself. How the Beast became cursed really isn’t something that’s explored until the very end and even then, I wasn’t really positive that that was the curse itself. But I guess I was supposed to take that as fact. If anything that was the only issue I had in the book.
I liked how Meagan kept quite a bit from the original fairy tale and even the Disney movie as well and incorporated it into Hunted. We had a wealthy merchant lose everything and move to the woods. We had our Beauty with siblings, granted just two sisters, but they were a heck of a lot nicer than the original Beauty’s sister. Yeva’s sisterly bond was one thing I truly enjoyed about the story, though as to be expected, her sisters weren’t in the story too much. Yeva has a suitor who has eyes only for her. And he likes to hunt as well and Yeva really has no love for him, but this too was even different because he’s basically the opposite of Gaston! And even one of her dogs, Pelei kind of reminded me of Phillipe! Mostly in the moment she’s asking it “where’s father?”!
Hunted was truly a remarkable read! I quite enjoyed myself and loved seeing a fresh new take on The Beauty and the Beast story! Meagan really out did herself with this one! There was such a good balance of keeping true to the story that we all know and with adding in her own twists! And rumor has it that Meagan plans to write more fairy tale retellings! Truly hoping to see more of these that stick with the original fairy tale and of course with the Disney tidbits that we all know by heart! Be sure to add Hunted to your list for amazing fairy tale retellings because it’s truly not one to be missed!
Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've been trying to read more fantasy these days, particularly fairy tale retellings, so when I heard about...Read more
Hunted is a B&B retelling, yes, but it is also different in many ways. Yeva, our “beauty”, is a hunter.Read more
It's no secret that I love Beauty and the Beast. (I mean, come on; look at the name of my blog and Instagram.Read more