In Hunted Yeva wants nothing more than to go back to her father’s hunting lodge and live her life roaming free in the forest. When her father loses his entire fortune she gets her wish, but then Yeva’s father gets lost in the woods and Yeva follows him to hunt down the Beast he was tracking before his disappearance.
This book is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and it is absolutely beautiful. I loved that Spooner set the tale in Russia and mixed it with imagery from Russian folk tales.
Beauty and the Beast usually isn’t my favourite fairy tale, especially with the way a lot of modern adaptations are done, but Hunted is well crafted and complex and adds a lot more humanity to the Beast than other adaptations I’ve seen. I think it was a great choice to switch to the point of view of the Beast regularly to show his humanity and his struggles throughout the tale.
Hunted also sticks close to the original tale without completely abandoning some of the additions we know from modern versions like the animated Disney movie. Thus we still get a character in a Gaston-like role (in some ways at least) that’s deliciously different (and much more likeable).
Yeva is such a great character as well. She’s badass but sweet and never loses sight of her revenge even while realising that maybe the Beast is not entirely the monster she believes him to be. At the same time Spooner addresses that the Beast is Yeva’s captor and what it means for the story.
All in all Hunted is a stunning and beautiful retelling that manages to put a new twist to the original tale without losing too much of the original. The only thing I think it did not do well is the amount of diversity in the story. Because there is no diversity. It’s a pity that apparently that didn’t fit into the book, because if it wasn’t for the missing diversity it would be pretty perfect.
Rating: ★★★★1/2☆ (4 1/2 Stars)
Publication Date: 14 March 2017
Page Count: 374
Genre: Young Adult fantasy, Retelling
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?