Hunted by Meagan Spooner- 3 stars
All the traditional elements of the original fairy-tale are there. It is nothing like Marissa Meyer's retellings though. If you are expecting a completely new story that surprises you at times this is not it. I personally much prefer Marissa Meyer's style of fairy-tale retelling (or in this particular case even ACOTAR- a court of thorns and roses- also a Beauty and the Beast adaptation). I like the surprise element those authors added to their story, it helps (me at least) to engage and immerse myself in the book. In Hunted everything is predictable, and I greatly struggle with fantasy books that are too predictable. That is not a bad thing necessarily, jut not my favorite type of fairy-tale retelling I suppose...
The story is about Beauty (or Yeva), her two sisters and their father. When Beauty's father looses his fortune, they are forced to move back to their lodge in the outskirts of town. Beauty is secretively pleased with that change. She misses being in the forest hunting with her father, something they used to do a lot when she was still a child.
Being back however is not easy. Their father starts to act strange and one day disappears. Beauty goes after him, tracking his steps, she finds the Beast instead!
So, as you can see, very close to the original. Her siblings are kind and selfless here, and they play a special role both in the beginning and in the end of the book, but for the most part it is very much like the classic: Beauty goes after her father, Beauty is kept in the Beast's castle, there is a curse, he eventually lets her go, she returns...
It is a tad darker than the original story. The author hints quite strongly that there is a case of Stockholm syndrome going on towards the end too. And ... well ... why did you do that?! Fairy-tales are not meant to make sense all the time, they are not meant to be real. All the talk of Stockholm syndrome made it real, which in turn makes their relationship creepy. Who wants to read about the girl that goes back to her abuser? it just made the whole ending feel wrong rather than magical.
Anyway... look guys, it was beautiful in many ways! I loved Beauty's bravery; I loved that Solmir (aka Gaston) was a pleasant and loving character, I loved her relationship with her sisters... It was just not enough for me to love the book as a whole too.
It was good, but it is not going on favorites list!