Last week I needed a trip into a fantasy world and I had this ARC sitting on my Kindle and thought “Hmm….maybe this will meet my needs.” Ummm….BIGGEST. UNDERSTATEMENT. EVER! The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins was AMAZING and if you enjoy high fantasy and the Brothers Grimm, I highly recommend this one. It’s out Tuesday, so preorder your copy ASAP!
I received this book via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
Series: Eurona Duology #1
Published by HarperTEEN on 2016-03-08
Length: 432 pages
Reviewing eARC from Edelweiss
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.
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins is a loose retelling of the Brothers Grimm story by the same name. The country of Lochlanach (say that three times fast) is being terrorized by a beast. It comes out at night, slaughtering people in the country side. After it kills on royal land, the king sends out a proclamation for hunters. The prize for killing the beast is his eldest daughter’s hand in marriage, essentially the hunter would become heir to the throne. This brings in men from all over the world and leaves Aerity, the princess, with no escape.
So I liked Aerity. She’s 17 and still very much sheltered from life outside of the palace. Everything she knows she’s learned from her tutor, in books, or from spying on the maids. When the beast begins terrorizing the countryside, she grows up quickly, accepts her duty as princess, and learns that sometimes what the heart wants it can’t get. She’s good at hiding her emotions and projecting the regality that is required of her. My heart broke a bit at this. She’s devastated that she won’t marry for love as her parents did, but instead will marry an unknown hunter and this makes her scared.
Paxton Seabolt *swoon* I’m not really sure why he’s so swoon-worthy. I can’t explain it. He’s bitter, hates the royals, and wants nothing to do with the princess. He’s downright rude to her, but the few glimpses the author gives from his POV, as the reader you see he’s tortured. Haunted by his past and a future he can’t control, Paxton lashes out at everyone. Better they hate him than like him, right? Except Aerity sees through him. She sees his hurt and that his actions don’t always match what he says.
The plot of the book centers around this monster that is really terrifying. It attacks at random with no pattern to where it will hit next and kills everything that comes across its path. When the king issues the proclamation for hunters, over 100 arrive from all over. It makes for an interesting read as Aerity takes them all in, noting the differences in their cultures and dialects. Honestly it was great for the world-building aspect. There’s also the insta-love (gag me!). As much as I loved Paxton, he isn’t who I shipped for Aerity and honestly I’m not spoiling anything as it occurs from the first moment they see each other. Yep SEE each other, not speak or anything like that, just see each other and they are instantly in love….erhm lust.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It’s a high fantasy at it’s best and while it isn’t a cliffhanger ending, the author does leave you wanting more. I loved the details and little hints the author gives throughout the story that there is more to the beast than meets the eye. And Aerity, while a bit naive, was fun to see grow during the book. If you enjoy high fantasy and the Brothers Grimm, I highly recommend you grab a copy of the book and read it for yourself.