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.
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?
Hunted is my first Meagan Spooner book and I must say I quite loved it! Winding down on the Beauty and the Beast readathon I was happy to be able to squeeze this new release in. I’ve been seeing some mixed reviews over this one which started to make me worry, so I kind of stopped reading them. And I will say that I am one of the ones who truly enjoyed this one!
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