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?

Quick Thoughts and Rating: 3.5 stars! Enriched with Russian folklore and a young girl that knew her way around a bow-and-arrow and came equipped with an ax, Spooner certainly took creative liberties in this darker reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Sprinkled throughout the storyline were lessons on life, love, and our wants for unfulfilled desires, and how sometimes what we want has been right in front of us all along. While I definitely enjoyed their strength of character in both Beauty and her Beast, I can’t help but long for a stronger romance to have been more evident between them during their time together.

♥ Review: Beauty and the Beast is an all-time favorite. I don’t think there will ever be a time when I won’t give a book a chance simply because I’m that in love with it, and so I’ll desire any book with hints of it only because it’s a retelling of my favorite. This one in particular was absolutely different than the Disney version I favor, but I mostly enjoyed it for the creative direction that Spooner chose to weave her tale. Delivered in a dual narrative, Yeva (Beauty)’s perspective being the more prominent voice interspersed with Beast’s clipped thoughts of a man warring with his animal side and vise versa, Hunted was slow in pace, but rich in details. I appreciated the amount of time the author took to build the story and really hone why Beauty was so at home in the woods, letting us see just how much it was a part of her, called to her, even from a very early age.

However, it was due to that descriptive monologue that at times the text seemed too heavy and the pace dragged. Additionally, during the months that Yeva spent as Beast’s captive, there are times that we really get to see them interacting and see the potential for more of romance, but it was very hit and miss for me overall. I think part of the problem was the author was trying to speed the pace and show passing of time by simply stating how much time had passed, but in doing that, just telling us that it was so, we missed the opportunity to have that page-time with Beauty and Beast together and to watch them forming that connection. We missed the chance to fall in love with them falling in love. And for me, that’s kind of a big problem, as I’ve mentioned before, Beauty and the Beast has always been the ultimate love story for me. In fact, I feel like if I hadn’t already had the presence of that love for them already in my heart, perhaps I would have missed their romance in this book entirely.

With the little-to-no-romance issue between Yeva and the Beast aside, I loved the presence of other relationships included in this book. Often times, I feel like book miss the opportunity to showcase how important family and friends can be in a novel. Spooner didn’t have any trouble at all in this aspect. I loved seeing the bond between Yeva and her sisters, the sacrifices they were willing to make for one another, as well as the love they had for their father. Spooner may have missed the mark in the romance side of things, but the familial love shined brilliantly throughout the book with ease, and sometimes I think that is just as important. Big points for that!

♥ Teaser Quote: 

    “Don’t you see?” the Beast went on, pulling her close so that she could breathe his scent, feel his hair brush her skin as he pressed his forehead to hers. “You are what I want most in all this world, and you came back to me. Yeva . . . you are the Firebird.”

–quote taken from the e-ARC of Hunted at 98%

Book Rating Breakdown
General Book Feels

♥ Rec It? Sure. Despite the fact that I didn’t find it to be some grand, epic love story, I did enjoy it for its sense of adventure and for the depth of the relationships that are found instead. Seeing as this had a very definitive end, I can only assume that Spooner has plans for other retellings as part of this series, and I’m curious about what more she has to offer after having finished this.

♥ A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.

*Disclaimer: An e-copy of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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