My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Beauty and Beast is one fairy tale that always attracts my attention irrespective of the number of adaptations and retellings I have read. I have said this before, if there’s any list with beauty and the beast retellings, I would have probably read a good share of them and I have another 2 books waiting for me based on this tale that is as old as time.
Hunted by Meagan Spooner is by far one of the most intriguing adaptions of Beauty and the Beast. The story with elements of fantasy and magic interwoven is an engrossing tale of love and redemption. Yeva and her sisters were comfortable and well-off when life takes a cruel turn. As their father’s fortune crumbles, the sisters are forced to sell all that is valuable and retreat to the woods to their father’s hunting cabin. Yeva has learned hunting from the most skilled hunter in their world, her father, and it is the woods that give her peace and happiness. Unsettled and restless, Yeva, or Beauty as she is lovingly called by her father, sets out to be the hunter and provider for her sisters Lena and Asenka as her father has been vanishing for days altogether into the deep forest.
As Yeva takes it upon herself to search for her missing father, she is lured into the enchanted forest and captured by the beast. Alternating chapters with the thoughts of the beast was utterly captivating as Yeva vows revenge against anyone who has harmed her father. The story was so enthralling like the fairy tales being narrated by Yeva and I simply loved the character sketch. She displays incredible strength and a never-die attitude to keep herself going inside the beast’s lair.
Meagan Spooner writes beautifully as the magical woods created is enchanting and dazzling and transports the reader to the snowy and icy coldness that gives one a frost-bite. Surprisingly, no stolen kisses or desires are being explored between the beast and Yeva, it is purely the desire of WANT. The beast requires something that only a hunter like Yeva can provide and Yeva recognizes the loneliness and restlessness that call out to her soul. I loved how the author has used the basic plot of Beauty and Beast and carved out a refreshing tale with an underlying theme of excessive want and not being content with the things that are available to us. It is stark and honest without much flowery swoon and kisses.
Of course, the icing on the cake is Doe-eyes, the cute and loyal dog who follows Yeva to any length of the world.
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?
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