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review 2018-10-11 15:01
A Grimm Tale
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

 

I was going to read a retelling of Sleepy Hollow, but this one caught my eye.  Shiny!

 

A nice change to the retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

The original was never one of my favorite fairy tales - too syrupy, although part of that might be influence of Disney. In my opinion they made them fun, but basically gutted them.

This one was much better.

 

 

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review 2018-09-21 13:32
Yeva and the Beast
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

Wow what a great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The flow was a bit of a problem throughout. However, Spooner did such as great job with character development that it didn’t bother me. I also loved that the curse in This story was really about want and desire. I thought that Yeva and the Beast were very good opposites of each other, one light and one dark.

 

Hunted  begins with the story of the young daughter of a merchant (Yeva also known as Beauty) and her two sisters. The family is fairly well to do and the one sister is engaged to be married and Yeva has caught the eye of a man who is to be the Baron’s heir. However the girls’ father loses their fortune and they have to go and live in the woods. The father becomes a little bit mad in the woods and then eventually goes missing. Yeva goes out to find him and finds his dead body. She ends up captured by the Beast.

 

Spooner alternates between third person with Yeva and others and first person when we have the Beast telling us his thoughts on Beauty. Yeva doesn’t Initially understand about the Beast because he keeps her blindfolded. But when she looks upon his face she sees him as a monster and accuses him of murdering her father. The Beast does not tell her that he’s not the murderer instead he starts training her to hunt something. Every day for months Yeva is taken out into the forest and taught to shoot her father’s bow and arrow.

 

I really like the Beast and Yeva. They were written very well. Spooner also did a very good job with her sisters, the father, the two sisters love interests, and everybody else. She also did a very good job of mixing in fairy tale elements as well. I also thought it was pretty cool that Yeva tells the Beast tales and it echoed Arabian Nights a little bit. 

 

I did think the flow was a bit off. The first bit before they move to the woods dragged too. However, the book eventually evens out.

 

Very interesting ending and I thought a great retelling of Beauty and the Beast with enough unique elements of its own.

 

 

 

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text 2018-09-19 18:57
Reading progress update: I've read 34%.
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

Pretty cool retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Some differences too though. Yeva (our Beauty) has two sisters and a father. Yeva's father loses all of their money and she and her two sisters are forced to move to the outskirts of the town. Eventually Yeva goes looking for her father due to him going missing. She is captured by the Beast. Not much to say about him right now. We are getting his perspective before the chapters go into the third person with Yeva. Right now he is demanding that Yeva tell her about her father. 

 

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text 2018-09-18 21:21
Reading progress update: I've read 6%.
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

I am already at 6 percent and I just opened this book. Ebook percentages are weird. 


Nice ominous start though:

 

"We always know before the change comes. When a storm approaches, we feel it in the thickness of the air, the tension in the earth awaiting the blanket of snow. We feel the moment the wind changes direction. We sense a shift of power when it is coming. Tonight there is hunger in the air. The forest waits for something. We pace, our steps stirring the early snows. Our frustration vents in growls and grunts. Each of us could read the change to come, neither hindered by the other. We could track it, or we could run with it. But we are trapped, and we can do neither. We always know before the change comes—but we never know what the change will bring."

 

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review 2018-07-22 08:03
Hunted by Meagan Spooner audiobook
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

I originally received a copy of this book for review from Edelweiss, but I have listened to the audiobook for the purposes of this review.

 

Marketed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is only my favourite fairytale, no big deal, starring a girl in a cloak on the cover and with a title like that? I am SO in.

And as fairytale retellings go, it was really decent. We had a really long set up detailing our Beauty’s backstory and she didn’t even meet the Beast til at least 20% through, possibly longer. The third arm of this quasi-love triangle (Yeva is so NOT in love with him) is Solmir, a really nice, rich guy who genuinely wants a wife he can hunt with, and Yeva’s two sisters adore her, even if they are pretty useless at surviving on their own.

 

I felt like the book took a couple of things from the Disney adaptations, like Yeva’s father going crazy (everyone thinks Maurice is crazy in the Disney versions), and the castle being stuck in permanent winter, but it also introduced a couple of twists: Yeva’s goal is to kill the Beast, the Beast doesn’t know he needs to fall in love to break the curse, Yeva’s family lost everything and had to move away from their town (I kinda sorta think this might be part of the original story?) and there were a couple of other Russian-inspired things twisted into this like a story of Ivan and the Wolf (NOT Peter and the Wolf, that’s completely different).

 

I liked this retelling because of its twist on the original tale, and because of the general Slavik inspiration and mish-mash of cultures and traditions that made it something a little bit different to the more European-styled medieval fantasies I’m generally more used to. (similar to Moana, this retelling is not taking just one culture or people as its base, but rather selecting bits and pieces to suit.)

 

I did have some issues with it though, so here we go:

 

Look, I don’t know much about snow. It snows in my city maybe every 10 years or so, and we mostly get it every year on the top of a local mountain you can pretty easily access if you really want to, but I did live in England for 2 years, one of which had 4 months straight of snowfall, so I know it gets bloody cold when it’s snowing, and especially at night time… and yet Yeva camps outside, in nothing but regular wintertime wool and leather Medieval-style peasant-clothes, and is totally fine! I don’t even know if she had a blanket or a tent. I needed a bit more information than telling me in one sentence she made camp then moved on the next day. How did she not get frostbite or freeze to death?

 

It was set in real-world Russia, or at least somewhere Slavik, because some of the characters mention Kiev, the Mongols, and Constantinople. Yet about halfway through this novel Yeva can suddenly see all of these magical things with no real explanation. It’s not explained (I don’t think, I was listening to the audiobook but I did drift a few times) if it’s ONLY the Beast’s forest which is magic, but even if it is, it doesn’t explain all of the other fairy tales that it faintly suggests are based in the real world. Yeva’s village, for example, has no magic in it whatsoever, even when Yeva returns suddenly able to see magic. So I don’t know if it’s meant to be this almost Narnia portal-like fantasy where she steps into a magical world no one else can access, or more Harry Potter like where there is magic everywhere but muggles aren’t magic so they can’t see it (or it’s hidden from them).

 

Yeva is very clearly a special snowflake who is so perfect because she’s so beautiful AND self-sufficient, she hunts food for her sisters who are more traditionally domesticated than her, AND she’s really good at it, AND she doesn’t care about her looks (literally, I don’t think it’s ever mentioned how she feels about being beautiful or nicknamed Beauty), and she refuses a perfectly good marriage proposal from a handsome, kind suitor who will literally let her do anything she wants, for no real good reason except that she wants ‘more’. It’s not even a real sense of entitlement, it’s just a general longing, confirmed at the end of the book when it is revealed she’s just a restless soul. But my point is, her modern-day feminism is kind of thrown in your face. She doesn’t cook very well, but that doesn’t matter because that’s women’s work and she can do the important hunting part while her sisters can’t.

 

Overall it was a decent retelling, with enough original content to make it interesting, and just a couple of things I found a little frustrating.

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