By Meagan Spooner
Summary: 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?
Source: I borrowed a digital copy through Kindle Library Lending
Hunted was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I was eager to read it. It was different from the tale we all know and love, but also very similar and familiar. The book was gorgeous and well told and was a great retelling of a classic story. But I think I just can’t do retellings of Beauty and the Beast because I did not enjoy the story as much as I thought I would. And to be honest, I think that’s mostly my fault and not the book’s fault.
Hunted took the original tale and made it more about the forest, hunting, and animal natures. It also included Russian folklore with the magic of the forest, which was an aspect I enjoyed.
If you love fairy tale retellings, adore Beauty and the Beast, and want more of it, Hunted definitely delivered a great story. I can see why people were raving about it. It was a standalone, it involved the magic of the forest, and the slow development of romance between Yeva and the Beast who captured her. It was a more isolated, quiet, and cruel version of the Disney tale with less dancing around the castle.
The reason I didn’t enjoy it was my own issue with how I feel about retellings in general. I love when retellings take a story and do something else with it that isn’t quite expected. I do love when love interests are like the Beast, with violent, animalistic, and maybe even with cruel tendencies. I love villains turned love interest or when you cock your head at a character and I wonder if they are really as bad as they seem. That is what I love about Beauty and the Beast. But I know how that story ends. I know how it comes together, and I expect it. And that is why 99% of Beauty and the Beast retellings don’t work for me. It always feels the same.
I always think I want a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I don’t actually. I crave a character who is perhaps the bad guy and maybe ends up not being so bad, but that small similarity can be done in many different ways and not even be a retelling of the fairytale. So I don’t actually want a retelling of this story and I need to STOP picking them up because I don’t like any of them.
It feels weird to not like a book because it’s too predictable when it’s a retelling because of course it’s predictable. Which is why I say that it’s more my fault for not liking the book. If you genuinely want a Beauty and the Beast retelling, Hunted was a very good story. It’s a great read, well written, interesting, and provided a bit of it’s own twist on other fairy tales and aspects of magic. I definitely recommend it and have rated it higher than it really was for me because three stars is just not fair when it’s my own fault I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.