Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Rating: 1 Star
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?
Do you hear that mournful wailing? That is me. This is not okay. I AM NOT OKAY.
Hunted was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. Because 1) Beauty and the Beast 2) Beauty and the Beast 3) Beauty and the Beast. It is my favorite fairy tale and I have never EVER been disappointed by a retelling. So you can imagine I’d be excited for this. I even preordered the hardcover which was a sacrifice as I don’t like the cover very much (it’s mysterious, and it’s not ugly, but…no.) and I am a poor little person who has a million books she would love to own but doesn’t. But I had such high hopes for it and I decided it was worth the risk. Well. This will be returned VERY SOON.
My issues with the book grew gradually. Right away I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I don’t know anything about Yeva except she has red hair an loves to…kill things? Um, okay. (She’s a hunter but still. It was awkward and she talked about killing things A LOT. Like in a really mean way, too…) She says she loves her father/sisters but WE ARE NEVER SHOWN THAT. I honestly don’t believe she actually does. She also “cares” for Solmir, a.k.a Gaston, but again, I only vaguely know that because I was told. I was honestly shocked when she said that because there was NO reason for me to believe it.
And the other characters (especially the Beast, oh my…) were just as flat. I actually cannot even remember one of the sister’s names and I literally finished reading this five minutes ago. FIVE MINUTES. And then there is our lovely Beast.
He speaks very dramatically and strangely. “We did this.” “We felt agony and darkness.” “We caused the poor hopeful Lenna to quake and question her will to live as her soul was drowned in the dark rushing waters of the vast blackness of this book.” Yep. I also know nothing about him except that he is dark and dramatic, violent, and extremely creepy. Basically, the worst loveinterest I HAVE EVER SEEN. (More on that later.)
As flat as the characters were, the world was flatter. I don’t know when/where/what or ANYTHING about this world. It was supposed to have Russian elements but I really wasn’t feeling it. I did like the snowyness of this world, but that just goes to show I know nothing about the world except that it snowed a lot. Maybe I would have gotten more from it if I’d payed more attention to what I was reading…but at a certain point I was sooo booored I couldn’t care anymore.
This book was SO SLOW. I actually like slow books, so I think that aspect of the book wouldn’t have been a problem for me had we been shown what happened instead of told. We’re told about weeks that pass, but not given enough information to care about the events in that week. And a year passed in 200 pages, and the odd pacing/telling-not-showing made that somehow feel very rushed and very slow at the same time. So I don’t even know.
But guess what? All those things weren’t even the book’s biggest problems. For me, the biggest problem was the CREEPY, CREEPY ROMANCE.
One thing I love about the Disney Beauty and the Beast and most of the retellings I’ve read is the lack of Stockholm Syndrome. In the movie, for example, we’re shown that Beauty can escape whenever she wants. She can walk out her bedroom door, down the stairs, and right out the front door. As long as she can get past the wolves, she’s good to go! So she CHOOSES to stay, and SLOWLY they fall in love, while she is left at least some freedom. That is NOT the case in this book. Instead, Yeva is chained in a dungeon and blindfolded. She is forced to hunt for the beast while he threatens to kill her and her family if she tries to escape. And then I’m expected to feel comfortable when she starts to have feelings for the Beast? Yeah, no. I don’t think so. There is a creepy, disturbing feeling that permeates the entire “romance.” Um, how about NO. I don’t call this romance. I call it an abusive relationship built on Stockholm Syndrome. And it made the book (and me) feel so, so icky.
So basically I read this creepy book, and not only am I extremely disappointed, I am extremely disturbed and grossed out.
On the surface, Hunted appears to be perfectly appropriate; there is no swearing, and nothing more than some kissing. BUT BUT BUT the romance is HORRIDLY portrayed, and there is BDSM. SO…something to keep in mind.