Book Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Updated: Jul 1
“A wolf and a man. A woman and a dragon. Hunter and hunted. Nothing in this world has only one nature.”
Hunted by Meagan Spooner is an enchanting retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It brings a beautiful perspective to the fairy tale. Especially the relationships between the Beast and Beauty, together with others in their current lives and their past.
Yeva is more at home in the forest than partaking in tea parties with other ladies. She has no desire to marry someone she doesn’t love. Still, when her father loses his business, Yeva considers marrying to keep her family safe. Her father moves them to his old cottage in the woods, which Yeva loves, but he won’t take her hunting with her. She has grown up listening to her father’s fairy tales and stories of creatures in the woods. When he goes missing, she hunts down the beast who was chasing him, finding a ruined castle, and a cursed landscape holding creatures she had only imagined. Will she find the one creature she has always longed to see? Will she and the beast destroy each other?
“Perhaps our plan is not lost. We watch her from our hidden place, breathing her smell and listening to the silence of her steps. She moves like an animal in a woman’s body. She moves like beauty.”
This book had me at hello. I enjoyed Meagan Spooner’s lyrical writing in Sherwood. It was the same, if not more so in Hunted. These two books are similar as they both have heroines who have skill in archery. They are both independent and strong. Yeva was the traditional non-conforming to social expectations girl, but she greatly loved her family and would do anything to see them safe. She loved animals and would spend every day walking through the forest if she was able. I was impressed by her intelligence, especially while hunting throughout the book. Her dog was ever at her side, giving her companionship and as a reminder of why she was there.
Despite it being a retelling, I found that it was so hard to stop reading. There were enough originality and suspense that I still craved to find out what happened next.
“We curse everything, for we are cursed, and we have no arms to shelter her and no lips to press to her hair and above all no words to tell her that we know loss and we know pain and if they were monsters we could fight we would have slain them in her name long ago like the heroes of old.”
This is a perfect book to read in winter—a Russian type village, all the snow, ice and forest. The settings were lovely, although I could have done with more sensory detail in places. But, I really did relate to the morning sun making Yeva want to sneeze.
There were many things which reminded me about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast—the focus on the love of books; the warmth of romance; the beauty that the castle once held. The character growth was well-paced and enjoyable to read. There were many unexpected surprises—of all natures. The Beast and Beauty have such a rough and complicated time working both each other and themselves out. There was even a light mention of Stockholm Syndrome and how the story is not an example—as Yeva feels/explains to her friend. The Beast is cursed physically. And I loved the way she saw his small indications of humanity which grew over time. And Yeva is a strong character who could hurt the Beast if she wished—or, as she gained more freedom, actually leave the castle if she wanted.
I also liked that the Beast referred to himself as “us”. He was truly two beings in one body. It was clear there was a power struggle.
“’You may have me captive…You may control when I can leave and what I eat and how long I’m allowed to live. But you don’t own me…And don’t call me girl, like I have no name.’
The Beast’s tail flicked aside, twitching with anger. ‘You call me Beast.’
‘That is what you are. Have you given me reason to call you anything else?’
The Beast hesitated…’ I will call you Beauty then…For that is what you are.’”
I enjoyed how Yeva and the Beast bonded over storytelling. And that the stories which were told, weren’t any old stories, but significant to the book.
Meagan is a wonderful storyteller, and I was hooked until the end. There were times where I genuinely feared for the characters. The conclusion was one big knot—it was perfect. I wish I could read it again for the first time.
I have other books co-written by Meagan Spooner on my shelf. I can’t wait to read them…and about her next fierce female.
“Fairy tales are about lessons. Those who are virtuous and true are rewarded, while those who are wicked and greedy are punished.”
“Animals don’t hate. That is the rightful domain of humanity.”
Read: February 2020