March 3, 2016

Kill the Beast • The Great Hunt

The Great Hunt book cover
The Great Hunt leaps off the premise of a beast that terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, unbeatable and strange. The king, desperate to see an end to this threat, calls a Great Hunt, and invites all hunters to try and defeat the beast. The prize? The hand in marriage of his daughter, Aerity. The novel alternates point of view between Aerity (the Crown Princess with a mind of her own and a desire for freedom) and Paxton (a hunter desperate to kill the beast and keep his secrets). It eventually becomes clear that there is more to this tale than meets this eye, that this is not just a simple hunt for a beast but something bigger than that.

The Great Hunt sounded so promising, but unfortunately, it isn’t a story I thought particularly remarkable. Admittedly, I was initially intrigued when I first heard of it, as it was inspired by ‘The Singing Bone’ fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm. (And you guys know that I adore my fairy tales.) I will certainly cede that from an objective standpoint, the novel was good. The plot was primarily centered on the hunt, but left enough room to explore the characters and their motivations. The setting was concocted with enough detail to be able to form a mental image of the world they inhabited, and the cultures of the people who come to participate. Aerity and Paxton were interesting enough narrators, and I liked that they had different perspectives to offer the reader. 

And yet, and yet, and yet. I just didn’t ever experience that moment where I fully clicked with the tale. There was a sense of detachment from everything that happened, whether good or bad. The only time I even felt a flicker of connection was when a certain good thing happened, and even then, it was very minimal. Plus, apart from the main characters, everyone else felt a little two-dimensional or conveniently placed to further the story along (and the same goes for some things that happen) – and I could tell.

Still, I can’t say that I regret reading The Great Hunt. It was decently paced, and just interesting enough to hold my attention from start to finish. Though I’d never necessarily highlight this one as a favorite, it was definitely a solid fantasy read for 2016. (I may need to check out the sequel in order to satisfy my curiosity about one little thing…)

Aerity and the members of her family each have a special talent.
If you had to pick one of their abilities to have, which would it be?

I would, hands down, want to have Aerity's ability to perform on the aerial silks! I just think that it would feel like flying because of how high you could potentially be. It would be a total adrenaline rush to do that move where you're basically "falling" from up high and unraveling the silk as you go. Plus, I feel like it would really mean that my body was strong, and that I was physically capable of managing such feats. It would be such a skill (I really admire people who do it), and I'd love to be able to say I was one of those people!

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
Series: The Great Hunt #1
Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Source: ARC downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.


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