My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Point of View: 3rd Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fairytale Retellings, Beauty and the Beast
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?
A wolf and a man. A woman and a dragon. Hunter and hunted. Nothing in this world has only one nature.
This is a slightly obscure, yet wonderfully so, retelling of ‘‘Beauty and the Beast,’’ my preferred fairytale of all existing ones.
Yeva is a huntress. She loves it. She loves the feel of finding prey and hunting it. She is her father’s daughter. But her sisters do not understand her love of hunting, and when it’s time to choose a husband, who will accept her as she is? Who will share her unconventional hobby?
Given her undaunted nature, it’s no surprise she is the first one to propose to go after her father when the latter fails to come home. Leaving the man who loves her with the entirety of his heart, or so he claims, to care for her two sisters, she goes after her father.
And encounters the Beast.
The story progresses with slowness, but its elegant writing will make it that you will enjoy every second of it.
It takes a while for the story to show us how original it can be—because until then, there are countless similarities to the fairytale as we know it or retellings we have read previously, such as A Court of Thorns and Roses and Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast.
‘‘Hunted’’ does, however, introduce new elements to the fairytale. Yeva is presented as a courageous, fearless huntress who will stop at nothing to avenge her father. She is romanticized—to some extent—because although she is steel, steel can be melted. Regardless, she stands her own and tries to do what she thinks is right with determinacy.
When I speak of ‘‘new elements,’’ I am mainly referring to the Russian fairytale ‘‘Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf,’’ which is weaved into the story. Quite a surprising turn of events this story brings, let me tell you.
I am also referring to a certain beautiful theme this author illustrates. Everyone pursues happiness—it’s in our nature. We all want to live a happy life. But what does make us happy exactly? When do we know we’ve reached the happiness we were meant to?
This novel is written in the third person point of view, but interestingly enough, we have numerous, though short, first person point of views from the Beast itself. Though they may appear confusing to the reader at first, they add a certain lyrical quality to the story. So I definitely would never think to get rid of them.
I can’t see why any lover of fairytale retellings should miss on this book.
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