Hunted by Meagan Spooner

I have not yet read Meagan Spooner’s “Skylark” series, but I have read her “Starbound” series with Amie Kaufman and loved it. I’m always up for a fairy-tale retelling, especially a Beauty and the Beast retelling. And with the live-action movie about to release, B&B mania is on!

Hunted front cover (HarperTeen)

Hunted front cover (HarperTeen)

THE PLOT: Yeva is the daughter of a merchant in a Russian village. When her father loses everything, he moves Yeva and her sisters back to his hunting lodge in the forest. Then he loses his mind hunting a fantastic Beast of some sort and Yeva sets out to find him. Unfortunately she finds that her father has been killed by the Beast, who then captures Yeva.

The Beast is under a curse and needs a skilled hunter to break it. He thought Yeva’s father might be that person, but realizes it might be Yeva herself. The Beast thinks that if Yeva believes he killed her father, she’ll be motivated to hone her hunting skills by her desire for revenge against the Beast.

An unlikely friendship grows up between them, but Yeva still can’t forgive the Beast for her father’s death. She may find, though, that killing the Beast just leads to another level of the puzzle.

MY TWO CENTS: This is a fairly complete retelling of the original Beauty and the Beast tale with some additions and twists. The similarities: Yeva’s father’s ruin ultimately leads to her relationship with the Beast. Yeva has two sisters, although they are not presented as selfish compared to Yeva’s goodness. When Yeva leaves the Beast, she is delayed in her return by her family, and ultimately is spurred to return when she dreams of him.

There are differences, too. The story, set in Russia, is very grounded in Russian fairy tales. The tale of the wolf, and then the firebird, add dimension to the story.

The story is told primarily third person from Yeva’s POV. Every chapter starts with a short first-person intro from the Beast, but everything else is Yeva.

Really, all the characters are very likable: Yeva, her family, her pets, her sister’s suitor, and her own suitor. None have evil intentions or act out of selfishness (some almost muddle things up out of unselfishness!) The Beast is interesting…is he good? evil? both?

COVER NOTES: You don’t see Yeva’s face; instead, the emphasis is on her as the hunter. The green and gold are very eye-catching. The arrow in the title is a nice touch. I’d pick this up at the bookstore.

BOTTOM LINE: I enjoyed this fairy tale retelling, which will also appeal to fans of Katniss.

TEACUP RATING: Four out of five teacups.

ON SALE DATE: Available March 14, 2017, in hardcover and eformats.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 

These Broken Stars (Starbound series #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars Front Cover (Hyperion)

These Broken Stars Front Cover (Disney-Hyperion)

I had to really think about this book before writing my review. It’s a sci-fi YA, not supernatural or straight dystopian. YAY! It’s got a stunningly gorgeous cover. (Seriously, I hope the cover of the next book can remotely compare.) It gets a wee bit draggy during the “survival” part, but that’s really small potatoes compared to all the awesome this book has to offer.

THE PLOT: The setup is very Titanic-esque, only on the spaceship Icarus (also aptly named!) instead of an ocean liner. Lilac is the only child of the man who, pretty much, owns the entire galaxy. Tarver is a young country-bumpkin solder who’s only in first class because of some heroic deeds. There is instant attraction, which Lilac quickly squelches. (See, her powerful father has a problem with any man who might want his daughter, so even though it doesn’t seem like it, she’s protecting Tarver.) But all Tarver knows is that she’s a spoiled rich girl who thinks he’s beneath her.

Then the Icarus crashes, and the only reason Lilac and Tarver survive is through chance and Lilac’s hidden skills. What follows is a story of two mismatched companions struggling to survive on a completely abandoned planet. (Or is it?) Lilac believes that her father will move heaven and earth (figuratively speaking) to rescue her, but as time goes on, Tarver is more and more sure that they’re stuck for good. Something on the planet seems to be causing Lilac to lose her mind. In the meantime, our characters fall deeply in true love…the kind that lasts, not the “OMG he’s so hot” kind. Then something happens that’s so shocking, so mind-blowing, that the reader is astounded.

MY TWO CENTS: I didn’t even realize just HOW emotionally invested I’d gotten in this book and these characters until the shock that comes 2/3 through the book. I loved the characters. Lilac has an amazing strength at her core; not only does she survive, but for a while she does it in a silk dress and heels. She’s got seriously hidden depths and is pretty smart, too. Tarver is a gentleman soldier, your very first pick for who to be stranded on a deserted planet with. Keep in mind, I did feel that the “survival” part was getting a little slow, but it’s all build and strengthening their relationship. It’s worth it, I promise.

BOTTOM LINE: I love this book. It’s beautifully written with a love story you can believe in. The story is a springboard for the rest of the “Starbound” series. From what I understand, the next book, This Shattered World, will focus on a different couple in the same world…this time, a female soldier and a rebel. For those counting down, This Shattered World will release on 11/11/14.

I really do have to do one more shout-out on the cover design for this book. Covers are supposed to catch your eye and draw you in, and boy, this one does. The beautiful jewel tones, the dramatic reach, the dress that is TRUE TO THE STORY!!!! These artists got it all right. Love it. LOVE IT. This is a book you want on your shelf.

TEACUP RATING: Five out of five teacups full of starry yet romantic tea. A book to love and savor for years to come. (You’ll probably want an immediate re-read.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

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