Author: Meagan Spooner
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ Fantasy/ Beauty and the Beast Spin-off
“To the girl
who reads by flashlight
who sees dragons in the clouds
who feels most alive in worlds that never were
who knows magic is real
This is for you”
My favourite Disney film growing up was Beauty and the Beast so any spin-off story that surrounds this tale has been an interest straight away. I’ve read quite a few so far, but Hunted has a lovely little spin that I’ve not touched before. I first discovered this book when I found the quote above on a google search. I needed to know where it was from and found it was the dedication from Hunted. I bit the bullet and paid the full price for this story on my kindle, something I rarely do. I needed to read this book and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s a story about Yeva, also nicknamed ‘Beauty’, a young woman who lives with her two sisters and their father at the edge of town. Yeva dreams of the days they lived in the old lodge in the forest before their mum passed as she craves the outdoors again. The writer allows us a good insight of the type of person Yeva is straight away with her passion for hunting with her dad when she was younger compared to the mundane life she currently leads with ladies meetings with the Baronessa and the slow pace of town.
When her father loses the fortune, the family have no choice but to return to the old lodge where they grew up in the forest in despair, with their father returning to his old hunting skills in the forest. Yeva begs to go with him like she did when she was a child but he is convinced they won’t be in poverty for long and refuses to see her life change into something wild.
She’s heard all of the stories from her father about venturing too far into the woods and discovering monstrous creatures and wonders hidden deep within. He begins to ramble about the same stories as if they are true and Yeva goes concerned for his health and safety. When he doesn’t come back from his last hunt, Yeva has no choice but to search for him where she comes across the world she’s only heard of in stories when she is captured by the beast who killed her father.
The beast thinks she is his prisoner, but what he doesn’t realise is that Yeva is there for a single purpose; to kill the beast to avenge her father. He allows her to roam the castle and the surrounding forest, and taunts her by telling her that she could never kill him. Little does she know how true that is and how much magic encircles them.
‘”Beast,” she said, making her voice steady, letting it warm.
“You said that you didn’t hear music.” Yeva watched his face. “What did you hear?”
“For me,” the Beast replied, “it is like a heartbeat.”
Yeva fought a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth. “The heartbeat of the forest.”
The Beast gave himself a little shake, then tilted his head eastward. “That is enough for today. We will return now.”
As he turned to pass her, the Beast moved on top of the snow, his paws not even stirring the loose snow dusting the icy crust. Yeva’s boots crunched through, but he moved like wind, like spirit. He was showing her how he could travel through the forest without leaving a trace, and Yeva watched each step as if hypnotized.
“It is the same sound I heard,” the Beast said as he passed her, “when I first saw you.”
Throughout the story, you get clips of the beast’s perspective when he’s watching Yeva’s father hunt and his thoughts of Yeva, his beauty, when he captures her. You’ll begin to piece together his own tale and realise his desperation to end the curse put on him and witness the inner battle between beast and man in it’s true form.
‘We are uncertain how many years it has been, or how many centuries. To half of us the passage of time is tiny and measured, and with no measuring devices it is impossible to track. To the other it is infinite, immeasurable, a stream in which all things drown in the end. We are at odds because of this and so many things, and when the sun fades and the dark returns we mark it only as a change in the light.’
It’s a truly wonderful spin-off that you won’t be able to put down. You get to re-live the beasts own past and discover a world within a world. It’s magical, mysterious and full of spirit.
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?