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.
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.
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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I love retellings, especially fairy tale retellings. I have a whole shelf on Goodreads dedicated to retellings and parodies. However, this one was kind of a let down. With big names like Neil Gaiman, Nancy Farmer, and Gregory Maguire, I thought I was in for an amazing trip into fairy tale retelling-dom.
Unfortunately, most of the stories fell flat for me. Many of the authors took most of the magic out of the stories, creating a version of the story set in modern or quasi-modern times. This essentially took everything I love about fairy tales out of the actual fairy tale. I love reading about far off places in times long past with elements of strange magic. So these modern, realistic tales kind of took all the fun out of reading fairy tales.
I did like a few of the pieces. Nancy Farmer's "Falada: The Goose Girl's Horse" was my favorite. I liked the changes she made to the original story. I also thought Michael Cadnum's "Mrs. Big" and Garth Nix's "Hansel's Eyes" had unique and interesting retellings. And Neil Gaiman's "Instructions" was a cute way of tying together a bunch of stories.
But many of the stories just felt a little boring to me. Not enough fairies in said fairy tales.
Not sure if it's because it was written 18 years ago or if the authors just tried simplifying their stories too much for their target audience, but I did not like this book as much as I thought I would. It was still decent with some interesting ideas in it so I still gave it 3 stars. Unique mash-up of sci-fi, fantasy, and realism.