Hunted – Megan Spooner (Review)

Title: Hunted
Author: Megan Spooner
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2017 (March 14)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retellings

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

I had wanted to read this for months….asked for it on Edelweiss: got denied. Tried to win it: lost every time. Waited in a long line on Overdrive: FINALLY GOT IT.

The cover is so gorgeous with the greens and golds and the color contrasts. 

 

I had heard mixed reviews…some people loved it and some people were meh about it. I was nervous as I have noticed this is the year of Retellings (Beauty and the Beast being one of the biggest ones lately) and Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter kind of killed BATB retellings for me. But I heard from friends with similar taste as mine that it rocked. 

So I took the plunge. 

Yeva, known as Beauty by her doting father, spends her days at the Baronessa’s house, pretending to be enthralled by the latest gossip or idle conversation. Her sisters are loving, and one is betrothed, though Yeva cannot imagine ever being tied down. She always seems to be yearning, wanting more from life. When bad news comes, Yeva is horrified: her father has invested their fortune in a risky venture, and now they are penniless. 

So the three pack up and move out to the hunting cabin in the woods. Before they leave, Yeva gets a proposal from Solmir, a handsome man but also the man her sister Asenka loves. She cannot marry him, though it would change their fortune immensely. Yeva is a bird that cannot be caged, but she thinks about what Solmir’s proposal might mean as they move to the wilderness and allow their father to resume his hunting for profit. He’s gone longer and longer…deeper and deeper into the woods, searching for prized mythical beasts that can bring the family profit.

While he’s gone, Yeva starts to hunt…pushing herself to become a good huntress and know the woods.


As their father comes back less and less often from the woods, Yeva’s hunting helps keep the food in supply. She enjoys the sounds of nature around her. One night, Yeva’s father comes home with madness in his eyes: he is hunting a beast whose head would fetch some major coin. But he looks deranged and insists on leaving almost right after returning. Yeva has a bad feeling. She begs her father to take her with him but he pushes her out of the way and goes back out into the stormy snow, intent on getting this beast. 

Yeva decides she must go find her father after his faithful dog returns to the house alone. Before she leaves, though, Solmir comes and proposes to Yeva again, hoping she will allow her and her sisters to come back with him to the city. Yeva promises to marry him as long as he watches her sisters while she goes after her father…and that Solmir assists her with finding help for her mad father. Solmir agrees and goes back to the cabin, and Yeva goes to find her father. 


She goes off to find her father, but when she finally comes to where she finds possessions belonging to her father, she finds he is dead, strewn about the snowy woods. She knows the Beast he was hunting must have killed him, but before she can get far, the Beast finds Yeva and takes her prisoner.


This Beast wants something…but Yeva is kept chained underground and in the dark. 

We know the Beast needs someone specific…we get to see some of his internal dialogue throughout the story. But what does he want with Yeva…and will she make it out of the Beast’s clutches alive…and will she ever see her sisters or Solmir again? Will Solmir keep his promise and take care of them while she is stuck and locked away? 

But a mysterious voice calls out to her in the dark….maybe not all is lost…

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes. I really liked this retelling, it was fresh and new. It was definitely longer than I bought and a bit more detailed in the writing style, but the plot is interesting and it could make a great comparison to the traditional tale. There are definitely differences between the original and Hunted. While I can find moral lessons in the story, I really can’t find any material for discussion. It would be fun in a fairy tale unit…there is a strong message in the end that resonates long after the book is done. 

So while I can see it used for a specific unit, I can’t find really many other uses for it besides outside reading. So this one is hard to rate for classroom use. I think I will give it ★★★☆☆, or in my Classroom Rating Scale:


This essentially means you could use it, but there are so many other books that might be a better fit. Leave this one to strictly fairy tale/folklore units or outside reading. 

Age Range

Surprisingly. Hunted is on Lexile.com. It has a Lexile score of 1000L, which doesn’t surprise me. The sentence length and complexity is higher than many YA books. This one takes a patient reader for sure. Honestly, when I first started reading it, I thought I was in for another McKinley Rose Daughter situation, but after awhile you get used to the language and the pacing. It is recommended for 12-17, so I see no problem letting a 6th-7th grade reader give it a chance. However, I will emphasize that it’s not one I would give to reluctant readers; I would stick to ambitious readers only. It’s a long story. Nothing inappropriate, but it’s definitely a little heavier in its reading level.

End Result:

I liked this one. I’ve read so many retellings, but this one is different enough to keep it apart. You’re constantly trying to figure out the puzzle while trying to understand Yeva as well. She’s unlike many characters: she makes smart choices and then impulsive ones. She’s ambitious but unsettled. She wants to see the world but also wants comfort and family. She is restless. Like many of us in real life. And that quality I found endearing.

I also loved the Beast…he is fighting against his humanity because he cannot bear to feel. I won’t go into too much detail, but I was quite satisfied with the story overall. Though it’s not going to be an “all-time” favorite, it’s one that I will remember and it will stay with me.

So I give Hunted ★★★★☆. Or in my TeacherofYA rating system…


Which means y’all should read this one! I was pleasantly surprised! And it’s nice to be pleasantly surprised! It was also nice to finally read this book after all this time wanting to read it. I wouldn’t mind owning s copy of this one for the classroom library: fairy tales, even retellings,  are classic and make for good literature. Almost everyone has read the story or seen the Disney Classic (or recent live action movie), so the story is familiar. But it’s always cool to see what people do with the familiar to make it fresh/new/different for a new generation or audience. 

*BTW, just finished Flame in the Mist and wanted to write that review now, but I needed to get a couple older reviews written first. My review of Flame will be up soon, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 

Hope you guys are doing well! Whatcha readin? 

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62 thoughts on “Hunted – Megan Spooner (Review)

  1. I’ve been interested in this one for quite some time. I didn’t win any giveaway either haha
    But it seems so good!! The cover completely caught my attention. Glad you liked it 😀

    Like

    1. It is enjoyable! I had heard some people say it wasn’t that good! So I’m surprised bc I was really sucked into it.
      Thank goodness for Overdrive or I would never get to read some of these books! (Stupid Edelweiss, always denying me…well, not lately, but back then!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review for this book Stephanie. I’m currently reading Hunted at the moment and I’m just under halfway through. It’s enjoyable so far but I think I’m just about reaching the part where the story will start to pick up a bit now all the build up has happened. I’m excited to see what happens next.
    I’m glad to see you enjoyed this one as well. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great Review! I’m glad you loved it! This was really a great read! I loved the unique mix of two fairytales. I had struggled at the beginning but as the story progressed I got totally sucked into the story. Oh, I can’t wait to hear thoughts on the flame in the mist! It’s one of my highly anticipating reads of this year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you liked this one too!
      Oh Flame is going to be so fun to write that I almost want to do it now! I will have that one and one for Black Dawn for April, but didn’t get them written in time before the month ends. Oh well. It’s all the same year! Lol
      I want to own a copy of Flame now!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’d like it!! You like a lot of retellings and I’m a lot harsher on retellings than most people. This one actually made me a little misty eyed!
      And I’ll tell you right now: it starts slow. So if you have patience or can read it while reading a faster paced book (I read it while reading HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban), then it will help break it up a bit.
      I hope you like it if you do decide to pick it up!

      Like

    1. Awww, thank you! Yeah, it’s a good one! It reminds me of one of my faves, Memoirs of a Geisha. It’s REALLY good. (Can you tell already what rating it’s going to get, lol?)
      But this one was nice too. The only one that is probably not going to get a spectacular rating is Black Dawn…honestly I can barely remember that book at all! It’s a shame. 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. thelightheartedbibliophile

    I love a well-written retelling! If you are normally critical of them, then it must have been pretty good. I must be living under a rock however because I hadn’t even heard of this one. Great review! Definitely adding to my TBR.
    Just started my own blog and have really enjoyed reading your content so far! Excited to follow along!

    Like

    1. I’m glad you liked it and welcome! I look forward to hearing from you and reading your blog as well!
      I enjoyed the book…if you read it, if be happy to hear your thoughts!
      Don’t be a stranger…welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I was too!
      I only was able to get it from the library, on Overdrive! So don’t give up. I was denied on all the platforms for this one. But I still wanted to read it. I hope you do give the library a try for it. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You just made me want to read this one even more, Stephanie! I’ve heard a few mixed things about it too but definitely more positive things than mixed. That and I’m a sucker for a great Beauty and the Beast retelling. This is another one that is on my long list for this year so hopefully I manage to get around to it. Great review as always!! 😊♥
    Also, I can’t wait for your review for Flame in the Mist. I’m really excited for that one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you like it!
      I’m excited to write that one…I may have to write it tonight! Though I do want to do a tag since it’s been awhile…but I need to get it done. It’s for Penguin First to Read so it’s important. It’s just too bad I don’t get to keep the book. Sad face. 🙁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never knew you didn’t get to keep the book with Penguin First to Read. I wonder why… I’ve never used it before because I can’t figure it out. 😂 I see that you posted you Flame in the Mist review though and will definitely be checking it out as soon as I finish catching up on comments. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah, the book EXPIRES! Which is so lame: isn’t the point of a read and Review the fact that you get a copy of the book? Might as well wait and go to the library then!
      I only use it when I am really wanting to read something, and I really wanted to read Flame. I’m glad I did and now I know I want to own it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right? See, it was like that for NetGalley years ago when I had my first blog. Now though if you have them downloaded they’ll stay on your eReader, at least for me. It should definitely be like that for all review books no matter the platform.
        I’ll probably end up using it one of these days if a book I really want to read pops up on there (and I can figure out how it works). 😂

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Yeah, for me it’s gotta be something I really want to read anymore. If Flame had been on NG, I would have just asked for it there…but it only had a Wish For It icon, and those have worked for me in the past…just not when i really wanted something, lol.
      I do have a friend who tells me when the new books are up there. Then I check NG first! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ‘Wish For It’ button has never worked for me! That’s all that was on there for The Wood, that one fantasy standalone I’m really excited for, and my wish has still not been granted. I’ve pretty much given up hope lol. I emailed the publishers but the lady who emailed me back told me they go through Fierce Reads and that I had to fill out a form. Haven’t heard back on that either. Requesting books just gets confusing sometimes. 😂🙈

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Omg I have filled out those forms so many times! I have had two wishes granted and I didn’t remember the second one at all: Toward a Secret Sky and Unfolding (don’t remember asking for it, but whatev). So I’m not sure how the Wish Button works, but it hasn’t worked on big ones for me.
      The Wood, you say? What’s that about? Sounds like it must be one you really want to read!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I swear I think they rarely check them because I’ve never heard back on a single one that I’ve filled out lol.
        It’s this fantasy standalone being released in August that has time portals and sounds a bit creepy. I’m terrible at describing it but it’s by Chelsea Bobulski. I can’t wait for it! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It read this recently and really enjoyed it. Glad you liked it too! I liked the way the author changed the original tale and shook it up a bit 🙂 There are so many retellings out there now it’s refreshing to see something different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Isn’t this like the year of retellings? They’re EVERYWHERE!
      So they need to be different to stand out! That’s how I feel about it. And this one was different enough to stand out and be memorable. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Christy Luis

    Great review! It’s so interesting that you mention the length! I’m listening to it right now, so it’s moving along fine for me, but even via audio I can tell it’s really a a slow-burn. I keep feeling surprised about how much time is passing in the narrative, too. Anyway, I’m hoping I like the ending 😀 And can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Flame in the Mist!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy Luis

        Oh brother, you always do great reviews! And you’re so up to date on new releases- much better than I am 😅 Looking forward to it 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shannon!!
      I love it when you stop by! It’s such a treat and you make me feel awesome about my reviews. ☺️
      Yes, I thought it was a little long-winded at times, but the overall idea was quite unique for a Retelling! 😊

      Like

  8. I find retellings can be pretty hit or miss well, I guess that’s true of all types of books), but I really like them, so I’m hoping to get to this one sometime. It too me awhile to catch on that it’s even a Beauty and the Beast retelilng because I just didn’t get that vibe from the cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think someone told me it was before I read it…the cover def doesn’t convey that!
      I thought it was a good one among so many repetitive ones…the way the Beast was portrayed, the curse, even the MC. I liked it and it hasn’t left me, which is a good sign after all this time since I’ve read it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My one problem with Beauty and the Beast retellings is that there tends to be no suspense. (Which I supposed is true of retellings in general, but I think it’s worse here.) Because the author has to do this whole dramatic thing about the part where Beauty leaves and “Will she or will she not go back to declare her love for the Beast?” and there’s no drama or suspense in it. You know she will.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. That IS a good point…we know what happens as a general outline. There is a retelling that’s very different but wasn’t for me by McKinley called Rose Daughter and it had a very different outcome.
      I think most of us like retellings for the predictability…we know there’s a HEA in there most of the time. I think The Lunar Chronicles were some of the most creative retellings I’ve read to date.

      Like

  9. I’m so glad to hear you liked this one! I added it to my TBR just recently because I LOVE Beauty & The Beast and that cover…well, everything in this book appealed to me ahah 🙂 Hope to enjoy it as well. Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I DO hope you like it! I know it’s received mixed reviews, but I’m a big retellings reader, and I truly enjoyed it myself. A little slow at the get, but it builds until you can’t put it down imo!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely review Stephanie! Fairytale retellings are so in right now and I’m loving it! B&TB is my favorite Disney movie, so I definitely want to give a retelling a go. After reading this post I can see this is a solid choice, but that Rose Daughter is definitely out now lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Yes, I would skip that one if I were you. It was just so long-winded and flowery and it took forever to get anywhere. Half the time I had to reread a sentence bc I forgot what she was describing. It’s too bad too bc I had high hopes for it after reading her MG book Beauty as a child.
      This one is worth a read if you’re a B&TB fan. I loved the different take but it was still our familiar tale of “love despite our faults” story. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I just bought this one about a week ago and I’m in LOVE with the cover. The color scheme is just so striking. Also, I love fairytale retellings and oddly enough, the only one I’ve read is ACOTAR (and that one is more a retelling of Tam Lin/Persephone and Hades than it is Beauty and the Beast). I’m really looking forward to this one, even though I’ve heard some mixed reviews about it, too. But if you liked it, I’m certain I will, too! 😀

    Like

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the reviews! I am always honored when someone finds my blog of any interest! (Especially since I still always feel like I’m starting out: I am always happily surprised to have people comment and read it).

      Liked by 1 person

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