Title: The Great Hunt (The Great Hunt #1)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Wendy Higgins, the author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Evil series, reimagines a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.
When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.
Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is 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 secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.
Here I come sighing and dragging my feet. I've been having some terrible reading luck here lately (I haven't even bothered reviewing some so far), and The Great Hunt was pretty meh for me, too.
I love fairy tale retellings or anything similar to a fairy tale, to be honest, so The Great Hunt should have worked for me. My heart and attention span was there for the taking. It started well enough. I liked the royal children, I liked the fact that everyone was ginger (I'm partial as I am one myself), and who doesn't like a smoldering, brooding hero? Then it's like nothing really happened.
Sure, the beast killed people. Characters in the story were killed left and right. For some reason, I never got too attached to any. The main characters, who were given the most characterization, still felt two dimensional. Princess Aerity seemed nice enough, but I was more interested in her cousin, Lady Wyneth. Paxton was brooding to the point that I consider it moping, and that wasn't much fun to read either. I get why he felt the way he did, but he was a bit of an asshole.
The magic and the treatment of its wielders in the world of The Great Hunt was the most interesting thing about the book. They are called the Lashed, and I thought it was for something way different than it turned out to be. Anyone who practices magic is marked by it, and they are the focus of a lot of discrimination. They are forced to register, they can't practice it, there are certain jobs that they cannot hold, etc. All of that is important to the story, but there's not nearly enough of it for my taste.
There was a lot I wanted from The Great Hunt, but I didn't get it. I want to be fair and not judge a book based on how I think it should be, but that is really hard. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe I'm just burned out on fairy tale-inspired fantasies. I'll be reading reviews of the sequel to The Great Hunt before picking it up.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.