Review: The Great Hunt

Author: Wendy Higgins
Genre: YA Fantasy | Fairytale Retelling
Page Length: 416 Pages
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
“Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”

She could only stare back, frozen.

When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

Wendy Higgins and I have a sweet old relationship that spans years. Okay, I was just being dramatic there, but really, she is one of the first authors I read when I started reading YA in 2012. Sweet Evil will always be one of those books - despite how my reading tastes have matured and changed now - which I never cease to love. So when I heard about her new book, which had the premise and storyline of an old native folktale I read when I was 8 in my language, which I loved the death, I knew that I had to read The Great Hunt.

Princess Aerity's life consisted of just her cousins, her acrobatic practices and the good old royal highlights until a great beast started to ruin the happiness of her kingdom. Finding it difficult to get rid of this terror, Aerity's father is pushed to his wit's end when he offers his daughter's hand to the man who kills the beast. Hundreds of hunters and potential suitors show up, but Aerity only has eyes for Paxton, the only hunter who wants nothing to do with the princess or the royalty, and more than that, harbors a deep secret, which is highly likely to be the death of him and The Great Hunt is the story of their hopeless love story, royal politics, secrets, vengeance, the plea for justice and misplaced feelings amidst the dangerous hunt for a terrifying beast.

"Something had to be done. The entire kingdom of Lochlanach was exhausted. Frazzled. On the verge of self destruction. If the beast wasn't caught and killed soon, fear would overtake the lands."

The world building behind The Great Hunt was quite interesting. The concept behind Lashed, the people with magical abilities to give life, heal and take lives, who are shunned by all the kingdoms gave the book a stable mystery. It has always amused me how in high fantasy, sometimes the most powerful become the oppressed and the outcasts, and it was sad to see how the Lashed in the book had to keep so much power and magic inside them, hidden.

I really enjoyed the characters. Aerity was not only a good princess, she was a great potential queen. She was smart, and was ready to forget her emotions and give up her happiness for the safety of her kingdom. Paxton was bitter, brooding, tough, and has a hatred for anything royal, but the vulnerable and scared soul inside broke my heart. His love for his brother was remarkable, and a choice he makes by the end of the book, totally gained my respect for him.

The side characters did their part quite well. Aerity's cousin Wyneth, who was stuck in a battle of emotions, her sister Vixie, who was adorable yet strong, Paxton's brother Tiern, who was so cute and charming. the villain, who was intriguing in the glimpses we saw of her and a certain character who for some reason, I can't trust, despite the way he was portrayed throughout the story.

I expected a lot from the romance, because come on, it's Wendy Higgins we're talking about, and he did justice to the expectations. There was so much tension between Aerity and Paxton, and I shipped them so hard, crossing my fingers that they will indeed sail in the sequel.

"Paxton's free hand rounded her waist and pulled her body firmly against his. His mouth took over, his lips moving against hers in a heated rush of ownership that caused her entire body to react."

"What if I said I do want you to kill the beast Paxton Seabolt? What if I want it to be you?"

What the book lacks? Well, there's two things to talk about here. One, the beast. Well, long story short, it wasn't scary enough. Whenever it appeared, I had so sense of fear or nervousness within me. The next is the action and the atmosphere. The thing is, the book promises a dark hunt, full of thrills and a whole lot of magic. But it was.......not enough for me. I still can't put my finger on what exactly I felt like was missing in the book, but all I can say, is that I hoped there was more action and thrill in the hunt and in the story.

 Overall, the book will appeal to fairytale retelling lovers, and the ones who like a lot of romance in their high fantasy. If you loved Sweet Evil, then bonus points for you! :) I myself enjoyed the book quite a lot, and am eagerly waiting for the sequel, burning to know what happens next.

Mishma is a 17 year old teenager from Sri Lanka who's always loved books and talking about them. She often comes off as a loud, outgoing, funny, hyperactive and happy go lucky girl! Her addictions include books, Twitter and Buzzfeed and she has an unapologetic love for classic old movies with uncensored violence and villains with a vulnerable side.

You can find her at her own blogTwitterInstagram. She loves making friends, so stop by to say a hi!

13 comments:

  1. Great review! This one sounds great. I still need to read her other novels as well! :)

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  2. I loved this book. Can't wait for the sequel!

    Awesome review!

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  3. Ooh nice! I looove a good fairy tale retelling so I immediately picked this one up! Just need to read it now! LOL! I think I might try to read the fairy tale it's a retelling of as well beforehand! Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one for the most part! Great review!

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  4. Ooh this sounds really good! Will definitely be on the lookout for it! :)

    Great review!

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  5. Ooh I loved Sweet Evil and Sweet Peril and am super excited to read this one! I should probably read Sweet Reckoning first though haha - I've been putting it off for so long.

    Cari @ myaddictionbooks.blogspot.com

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  6. I love fairytale retellings, high fantasy, and romance so The Great Hunt was added to my TBR pile the second I heard about it. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I hope I'll like it as much as you did! Hopefully, the sequel will have more action for you.

    Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger

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  7. Ha! I agree, the beast wasn't scary enough, though it was pretty intriguing the first time it was introduced. I loved the romance of this book especially! However, that ending. -_- This was my first Higgins book and I'm really glad I liked it as well.

    Lovely review, Mishma!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  8. I'm reading this one right now and I'm not enjoying it quite as much as you... I've also never read anything else by this author, so I had no idea what I was getting into! I'm glad you loved it though!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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  9. I'm glad you liked this book! I unfortunately did not. I agree, the beast didn't seem scary enough and personally, I thought the characters were underdeveloped. Lovely review though!

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  10. I have this book so it is just a matter of time before I am going to start reading this one. I am looking forward to it so much! I love the sound of good world building because that is generally what hooks me into a book quite a bit. And then it seems like the romance was just what you wanted it to be as well :3

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  11. Yeah! SO glad to hear you liked this as much as I did Mishma! Aerity was such a great protagonist, and I really admired her selflessness. And her romance with Paxton was amazing. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

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  12. Yeah, the lack of the beast really brought this one down for me but I did enjoy some of the other elements. I've heard nothing but great things about Sweet Evil so I think I will still give that one a try :)

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  13. This looks really interesting -- I've never read anything by Wendy Higgins, and I'm thinking the fresh voice in my library would be incredibly welcome! Thanks for sharing :)

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