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Search tags: Meagan-Spooner
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review 2019-06-21 21:03
Unearthed
Unearthed (Unearthed #1) - Meagan Spooner,Amie Kaufman

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

I struggled a little to get into this book, and I admit that I skimmed over a few parts, but in the end, while clearly not-mind blowing, it was entertaining enough.

The dynamics between Mia and Jules is, overall, one that worked well throughout the novel. They have their moments of snarky banter, they peel their layers gradually to each other (sometimes because external circumstances don’t really give them a chance, and sometimes voluntarily), and they get to really look at each other, past their completely different backgrounds. While Jules was introduced at first as perhaps completely lacking common sense—seen through Mia’s eyes, of course he would come across as some unprepared, pampered rich kid who had no clue what he set his feet into, he is actually more savvy than that; and, conversely, he soon learns to see past the ‘filthy scavver’, and see the actual human being behind the mask. Both are also less ‘gender-coded’ than one would expect, which I appreciated, and make use of skills such as linguistics and mathematics to get out of various pinches, which is always cool in my eyes.

The plot itself was OKish. I would’ve liked more details about the state Earth was in and the bigger plot—in terms of the science in the science fiction part, it wasn’t developed at all, and the portal bit felt like a hasty shortcut and let’s be done with it. The puzzles and exploring and spelunking in alien temples were interesting, yet I felt a little distanced from it all, as they demanded a fair share of description to become something easy to picture. The beginning and the ending were more exciting in that regard; the middle dragged. Probably would’ve dragged less without the romance. (Yes, there is a romantic relationship, of course. It’s a young adult story, so having a bit of romance is as much a surprise here as finding a Tube station in the heart of London. I don’t have much to say about it. My personal sense of priority is much more geared towards “more escaping the dangerous situations, less snogging and finding the other person hot”, and even as a teenager, romance left me cold. I’m not a good target audience for this.)

The story picked up again in the last third, and the reveal at the end was something I half-expected and somewhat hoped for, so that’s that. I’m not sure if I’ll be interested enough to read book 2, but maybe if it’s available at the library?

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review 2018-12-13 18:37
Oh It Was Terrible
Unearthed - Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner

1.5 stars. Audiobook. Narration 2.5 stars- Quick thought: A bad remake of Indiana Jones and The temple of Doom.
Long, long and mostly boring inner dialog that made me tune out. This was a book where I just wanted the characters to stop talking, yeh not good. The female MC was so irritating, she had this uncanny ability to do stupid stuff and then talk herself into thinking it was brilliant. She's a cliche in all ways, a street rat trying to save her sister from slavery, a school drop out who is actually a mathematical genius, perfect because the male MC isn't at all and they need it to save their lives. It's not that she's smart that bugged me it was how it suddenly came up and then became her crown, and her old persona was forgotten. The male MC was the son of a famous notorious man who is on a mission to prove his daddy right. He's English, and unprepared for this planet. yes they are on another planet. So we have a street wise scavenger and rich college grad, to save them all. There is an uncomfortable bit of romance going on that does not fit in the story at all.
The adventure is them trying to solve an ancient mystery left by an alien race filled with booby traps. Oh and yes they are also being chased by evil villains armed with guns. Very Indiana Jones with out the fun entertaining parts. They are able to solve puzzles and escape traps, amazing right ? Then when danger is nearest they rest/sleep and get caught. So they out smart, dumb down and out smart back and forth till finally at the end we see what the real deal is. The doom that only these two misfit kids could figure out and just when you think things might resolve, they get caught again.
Stupid

 

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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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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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