Author: Meagan Spooner
Genre: YA, fantasy
Narrators: Saaskia Maarleveld & Will Damron
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones – and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and 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. The Beast.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical 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?
This was the first audiobook I have listened to in entirety. And can I just say, what a way to get into audiobooks?
Hunted is a Beauty And The Beast retelling that takes the tale as we know it, and adds a layer of a little bit of darkness to it. This is far from the Disney version of the story, though the elements of it are still there.
Yeva, or Beauty, is a headstrong young woman who has inherited her father’s love for the wilderness and hunting. When her father loses his fortune and has to move the family to his hunting cabin in the woods, Yeva and her older sisters decide to make the best of things. But when their father starts growing obsessed with a Beast in the woods, things get dark.
I absolutely adored the relationship between Yeva and her sisters. Lena and Asenka do not have huge parts in the story, but it is her love for them that keeps Yeva going at times, and their love for her is also obvious, and honestly, sisterly relationships are some of my favourite things. It would have been very easy to make the sisters antagonists to Yeva, but instead, the author chose to make them each other’s support. Same with Solmir, who could have easily been the Gaston character. In fact, I thought he would turn into Gaston! And when he didn’t, I predicted some of his arc, but I still loved the way it unfolded.
The Beast chapters, I think, could have fallen very flat for me, despite all my love for Meagan Spooner’s writing, but the narration of it all added a certain gravitas and tension to the story that made it all the more exciting for me.
There was something about the ending that I felt a little let down by – I don’t want to spoil it – but over all, this was a solid retelling, and once again, I adore the magic Meagan Spooner weaved with her words.