March 6, 2017 by Zoë
Yeva has always loved the freedom the woods provide, but when her family suddenly falls upon hard times and is forced to move into her father’s small hunting cabin, she finds their circumstances less than ideal. Hunted by Meagan Spooner follows Yeva as she works to help provide for her family, until one day her father does not return. Yeva then makes the decision to search for him, but she finds a Beast instead.
There’s something about “Beauty and the Beast” retellings that gets me every time. Okay, not every time. There are bad “Beauty and the Beast” retellings out there. Luckily, this isn’t one of them. This retelling gave Yeva enough agency and drive to make her character interesting and new. She has her reasons to stay in the Beast’s castle, at least for a time, and they aren’t because she’s a hostage. I bought into most of her decisions and reasoning and thoroughly appreciated her as a character.
Meagan Spooner also does a commendable job keeping the other characters likable when, in the original story, they could very easily go in the other direction. While the some of the characters weren’t fully fleshed out, I still appreciated Yeva’s interactions with them and felt like they were worked into the story well. I also bought the romance between Yeva and the Beast and I bought both of their motivations.
This retelling is still very familiar, but fleshes out aspects of the story and makes everything a little more real. It also incorporates some Slavic folkore, in particular bits of stories about the Firebird, which I found to be a fun, new twist.
The ending got a little abstract for my tastes, in what was otherwise a realistic (though obviously fantasy-filled) narrative. When Yeva goes back to find the Beast, everything suddenly turned into a fairy tale, with a dreamlike quality to it. Obviously this is a fairy tale, but I did feel a little disappointed that the element of reality wasn’t maintained through that section of the story.
I really liked this! I read it very fast and enjoyed it immensely. Definitely a classic fairy tale retelling as far as I’m concerned.
“A wolf and a man. A woman and a dragon. Hunter and hunted. Nothing in this world has only one nature.”
I received an electronic copy of this book through Edelweiss for this review.