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?
The Beauty and the Beast remake came out this week (haven’t seen it yet, but I’m hoping to next week) so of course a YA retelling of the fairytale had to come out around the same time.
To be fair to Spooner though, there’s a lot of YA B&B retellings. I think there’s just something about the fairytale that begs itself to be retold. Perhaps, it’s the whole fact that author’s keep trying to explain why this fairytale about Stockholm syndrome is romantic even though it really shouldn’t be. Regardless, it’s a perennial favorite of YA authors everywhere and Spooner’s retelling adds nicely to the collection of retellings out there but it’s not perfect.
The biggest problem is the first third of this book. Oh, God, it is slow. So freaking slow. I almost DNF’d it. That’s how slow it is, but I kept pressing on. I don’t know what compelled me to, but I’m glad I did. Once the book gets started its good.
Not great, but good and I did enjoy it. Spooner has an interesting twist on the story. One I’m glad that is addressed because the whole “more” aspect of the movie always did annoy me.
Here, though it’s a fundamental part of the story affecting Beast and Beauty and I’m glad it had a point in the story, besides being just a way Beauty views herself as an outsider.
I also liked the atmosphere that Spooner created. I really felt like the world was unique, and I later learnt was inspired by some Russian fairytales which I was unfamiliar with. It worked really well.
As far as Beauty’s relationship with the Beast in this one I was sort of meh about. Sure, it’s the familiar love story but the chemistry never reached the levels that some other YA retellings-I’m thinking of Cruel Beauty and ACOTR and even Uprooted. Honestly, I really didn’t feel the romantic tension between the two characters for most of the book and instead thought how unhealthy the relationship was.
Never a good thing, but still there are far worse YA couples out there. And for what it is worth the twists that Spooner added to the story almost remedied the awkwardness of the ship and the bad beginning.
So overall, while there were some neat things about Hunted it is hardly the best YA adaptation of Beauty and the Beast out there. Still, if you are a Beauty and the Beast fan and/or want to look at a retelling with an interesting twist, you might want to give this one a try.
Overall Rating: A solid B.