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?
I was pretty excited to be settling into another retelling. Especially for Beauty and the Beast. Because while it does fit into the category of stories that have been retold billions upon billions of times. It’s also one of my favorites. Unlike Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, I just can’t get enough of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a childhood favorite that left a lasting impression. Plus it only helped that this book was released the same month that the new live action movie came to theaters.
This was Meagan Spooner’s first book she ever worked on. It was set aside when she started the Starbound trilogy with Amie Kaufman but it did survive the dust and alone time. I’ve never read anything about Spooner alone, and in fact barely read 10% of These Broken Stars. But I’ve found I enjoy her writing style. It is pretty in the way that it leaves you feeling cold when Yeva is trekking through the snow and your heart is racing when she is terrified of the beast. It borders but does not breach the type of writing that is overly descriptive to the point where you just want to get on with your life. There will be some who find it boring. But personally it was just descriptive enough to give the book atmosphere.
One of the things I loved about this book were the characters. I could write a whole post about how when people retell fairytales they give into character stereotypes, which ultimately make their character’s one dimensional. For Beauty and the Beast those stereotypes include, but aren’t limited to Belle being beautiful but she loves to read. Gaston is a mega jerk. I mean his name means handsome stranger. And the father is almost always either lacking intelligence and/or a coward who won’t stand up to defend and take care of his daughter. This book took these stereotypes and broke them. Gaston was a handsome stranger but he was kind and considerate. He was a good man. Not the right man for Yeva but he had a good heart and never would’ve dreamt of forcing someone to marry him or using his looks to get what he wants. Yeva’s father was an intelligent man who truly loved his daughters. He made a bad business mistake but then did everything in his power to make amends and still be able to provide for his family. And finally Yeva had many parts to her personality. She loved to hunt and walk freely in the woods. She sincerely loved her family and wanted to please them. She was especially close to one sister and I loved seeing their friendship grow with their sisterly bond. Yeva felt like she would always be unsatisfied and thus kept searching for “more.” I really enjoyed these characters and getting to know them.
The plot of Hunted is a tiny bit messy. Of course there is the basic plot of girl is prisoner of a beast and falls in love with him. But intertwined with the beauty and the beast story were other legends and tales. The beast is both man and wolf who have been cursed together due to some unfortunate choices. Beast needs Yeva to hunt someone, a she, for him. All of this I was here for. It flowed together. But towards the end when Yeva was searching for “The Firebird” because it was her heart’s sole desire I got a little confused. She had vaguely mentioned the stories her dad told her in childhood but to say that the firebird was the most mysterious of all was a stretch. At no point did she seem to obsess over the Firebird until suddenly she was hunting it. It just seemed odd and disjointed to me. Also Yeva at the end Yeva talks about how she always wanted something different. Her desires changed. (This was part of the theme of the book) But I never thought her changing desires were an affect of her being unsatisfied with what she had. I just thought the book was taking us on a journey. It wasn’t like she obsessed over the things she wanted in an unhealthy way and then suddenly changed her mind. So I struggled to put her character together with this theme.
Another final thought about Hunted is that I never really felt Yeva fall in love with the beast. She was truly terrified of him and wanted to kill him while he kept her captive. Then he lets her leave and suddenly she is thinking pleasant and welcoming thoughts about him. It really made it seem like she had Stockholm syndrome. Her sisters were confounded about why she would go back to him and she responds ” I was created to save him.” 1) that’s not love. and 2) Women were not created to be the healer/savior/anything of men. When the beast finally transforms back into a human I could see the care and love between them. But because of the way their hate turned to love it wasn’t my favorite.
I would recommend this if you’re looking for a good Beauty and the Beast retelling that defies sterotypes and has some interesting characters. I would not recommend this if you’re looking for a cute sweet romance. Just my opinion.
Do you guys like Beauty and the Beast retellings? Are you interested in this book? Talk to me down in the comments. Have a wonderfully bookish day!