Guys, I’m sorry. I want to love this – I know so many of you either already love it or will love it. But I just… didn’t.
I know, I know, I am the worst. But seriously, how many Beauty and the Beast retellings do we need? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t write a Beauty and the Beast retelling… IF (and only IF) you have something new and original to say… But I guess I’m also saying that if you are going to write one PLEASE for the love of all that is holy give me something that surprises me. Heck, even the new Live Action Beauty and the Beast film had a few new surprises that frankly delighted me and took the movie to a new level. Le Fou’s character development? That changed EVERYTHING.
But Hunted really doesn’t deliver on the promise of an awesome Russian-folklore-imbued twist. Sure, there is some Russian folklore thrown in, but at its core this is just a plan and simple Beauty and the Beast retelling, in all its straightforward glory. There is not a single thing I didn’t know was going to happen before I started reading. Sure, it’s wearing a heavy Russian coat, but at its base this is exactly what you’d expect from a B&B retelling. So, if you love the original story and all you want is to be able to read it again and again, with a few name changes and the mention of the fabled Firebird, then you will probably devour this book. It’s well-written, the characters are interesting enough, and the prose is, at times, quite breathtaking.
But if, like me, you’re kind of sick of reading the same story over and over again, you might be ever-so-slightly disappointed. There are pages upon pages of hunting scenes, described in vivid detail. That alone had me bored to tears. Yes, the descriptions are dazzling sometimes, but still, enough is enough. I get it. She’s a hunter. She hunts. It’s been done before (yeah, Feyre, I’m looking at you). *yawns* I wanted to love this story – I love Russian folklore (I adored Gregory Maguire’s The Egg and the Spoon, Marcus Sedgwick’s Blood Red, Snow White, and even the plucky graphic novel, Baba Yaga’s Assistant, just to name a few). I really do love Beauty and the Beast. But I just about had to drag my way through this story, and in the end, I just couldn’t stand how predictable it all was.
I would definitely give Meagan Spooner another chance in the future, because I do think she’s a talented writer with a way with words, but Hunted just was not for me. I know I’m in the minority, and I’m sorry, but I just can’t in good conscious pretend I loved it when I felt lukewarm towards it at best.
Rating: 3/5 stars