Series: The Great Hunt
Published by HarperTeen on March 8th 2016
Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Young Adult
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Kill the beast. Win the girl.
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.
Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.
It took me almost a month to read this book, not because it was long but because every time I tried to pick it up, I had to force myself to keep reading. The thing is, I think it’s only because this book is just not for me. If I weren’t so primed for adventure books maybe, or if I could appreciate more romance in my stories. In any case, I really do think readers who enjoyed Higgins’s previous books will also enjoy this one.
Right from the beginning we see the strange beast attack people in the kingdom of Lochlanach. I really enjoyed the world built in this book: there are people called Lashed ones, who are reviled and can use magic. Unfortunately, using their abilities is against the law so they have to hide it, which is also detrimental to their health and leads them to a shorter lifespan. The story is told from alternating third person limited POV’s, which means that we get to see what goes on in the heads of several of the characters.
Let me tell you straight up, not much happens. In the 50% mark, I took a break because it just got so BORING. We have a great beast killing all the villagers, and hunters get called to defeat it with the prize of the princess Aerity’s hand in marriage. However, the little moments that they do confront the beast have no impact. It felt like the characters kept circling the beast, or the central topic in the book, but to me it was like they were circling a bunch of nothing. I could never feel the DANGER of the beast throughout the entire book. The blurb made it seem like a dark, morbid and grim atmosphere but all I pictured were pretty princesses doing their thing.
The majority of the book was spent languishing around the castle and going outside occasionally for the hunt. I’m a huge fan of journeys and adventures, so seeing the characters act like sheeps grazing on the field made me pretty frustrated. No matter how intriguing the world was, the plot was just too mundane, too lackluster, and too insipid for me to enjoy.
So why exactly does this book have so many pages? Oho, that’s a fun one to answer. Instead of a dark fantasy wrought with danger and tension that is advertised in the blurb, we get a bunch of superficial romantic entanglements. In the beginning, everyone makes such a big deal about getting an arranged marriage. I appreciate Aerity in accepting it for the duty of the people, but it was like a whole chapter of arguing. Can I just say: FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS much? While people are getting killed, the royals are still thinking about what THEY want. Figures.
I do think that romance readers will enjoy the ones that happen here. I really thought I would too (it’s pretty much a forbidden romance for almost all the couples) but I just think the execution was exasperating. (Not to mention the insta-attraction that really had no basis.)
It wasn’t proper to be seen outside her chambers in nightclothes, and it was even more uncivilized to be seen barefoot. Aerity didn’t care, driven by some frantic fear for a complete stranger.
I can deal with insta-attraction, but this just seemed too over-the-top, even for me.
She wondered how it would feel to touch him, this lad she hardly knew who intrigued her so.
All this after two to three times of meeting, and with the guy being quite rude towards her.
Paxton, the hunter, is the type of love interest who likes the girl but tries to get her to stay away from him “for her own good.” He didn’t have much redeeming qualities to me. Also, he has a pretty sad past that was probably added to make an excuse for his abominable behavior. And at that point I stopped caring.
Although I didn’t really like Aerity, I didn’t dislike her either. She was just too dull for me to really gather any feelings. The blurb describes her as “a princess willing to risk all to save her people.” By “all,” you mean her potential husband, right? Although I did enjoy what she did in the climax of the book (which was around one to two chapters). That was when there was actually action, and when I finally started to like reading it. It happened around the 92% mark and lasted for about twelve pages. The wrap up at the end to prepare for the second book had me rolling my eyes and happy to have finished it.
The last thing I have to say is that while I did not enjoy it, I believe many other readers will. If you do not mind a fantasy lacking in action and a focus on the dramatastic lives of princesses and hunters and soldiers, I’d recommend this. If you, however, are like me and are seeking adventure and characters that give you major feels, skip this.
Rating: 1 out of 5
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[…] The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins – Increase the drama, decrease the action and it’s the perfect book for readers! For me, the silly romantic entanglements and banal world and hysterical characters made it a pretty sucky read. 1 star […]
Aw noooooo. I just saw Nick's review of the book and she really enjoyed it. Sorry it kinda sucked for you. The plot does sound like a snooze fest though and I can't really handle books where nothing happens, unless the characters are the best characters I've ever read. I shall pass on this one!
I put this one down at around 50% as well, exactly for the same reason. Where was the plot? And yes, the insta-attraction. Ugh. I agree that the main characters were pretty dull as well. Overall not a super great read.
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I'm so glad I wasn't the only one!! For real though, there was nothing going on for almost all of the book (except a few chapters). It's definitely one I would not recommend.
Aww. 🙁 I'm sorry this was so disappointing for you Aila. I personally loved it, but I can definitely see why you weren't much of a fan of it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though and, as always, fabulous review! <3
I'M ACTUALLY REALLY HAPPY YOU LOVED IT 😀 I'm definitely checking out your review, hehe. I know it got loadssss of mixed reviews, so mine was just one side – it just really wasn't my cup of tea. But I'm superr glad it was yours! <3
Ooh I think I remember starting this around the same time you did and you told me it was really boring. I finished it and it was the same for me. Nothing really happened!! And I felt no interest in the romance 😐 It makes me so sad because Wendy Higgins is a favorite author of mine!!! </3
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Aww that totally sucks Karina! :\ Hopefully the next book will be better. I for one won't be watching out for it, hehe.
IKR? I just couldn't get in with the romance, and the characters in general. My total apathy for the world and its characters was at an all-time high by the time the book finished.
Oh man, I've read many positive reviews about this one so I'm glad to hear your point of view which I trust Aila! It really sounds like insta-love and I can't stand love interests who are jerks to begin with. I mean the Princess must be so sheltered in order to fall in love so quickly. It sounds like the beast stuff is just a minor distraction to the life of the royals, which doesn't sound like what the story seemed from the blurb. Thanks for the review Aila!
Omg Jeann you basically summed it all up. The romance was no bueno, and the beast mentioned in the blurb was DEFINITELY not that big of a deal as it is advertised. I'm definitely avoiding the sequel in the future. It seems like many other people enjoyed it, at least!
Oh damn, Aila, I hope you find a better book soon!
This honestly doesn't sound like my cup of tea either – definitely first world problems stuff going on!
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OMG I just couldn't get over the whole "boo hoo my life is ruined because I'm getting an arranged marriage!" spiel. I was like "what even is going on??? What happened to the beast??" while everyone was falling in love with everyone else, LOL.
Luckily, this was the only 1 star read for a while hehe.
Well, I have this and set it aside a couple of times. So …. I see your problem. This is the first Higgins book I've tried, so maybe I should try something else by her.
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Omigosh Christy, I'm so glad I'm not alone then! You totally feel me xD
I heard her other series (Sweet Evil I think it's called?) is phenomenal! So maybe I should check that one out too, hehe.
Sorry this wasn't for you – I usually find if it is taking me forever to read a book, that's not a good sign…
Jen @ YA Romantics
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For real though, Jen! I'm so surprised I stuck with this the whole time I did.
I'm not as excited for this one anymore, since the reviews are pouring in. I do still plan to read it, but I'm kind of scared now.
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Aw man! Maybe read it with lower expectations so hopefully you'll enjoy it more? Because I also know of many other readers who gave it 5 stars! So don't be scared going into it. 🙂 Maybe just a little wary hehe.
I actually have seen others not liking this as much as I'd hoped. It really kind of killed my excitement for this one. 🙁
Aww yeah, it seems like this one got mixed ratings overall. :'( But I also know a lot of people who gave it 5 stars!
I'm sorry this wasn't a great read for you, Aila. I have it coming up in my books to read and I'm not really sure anymore. I'll give it a try, but if I can't get into it within 20% I'll DNF. I'm sad it was boring for you and that there was barely any action.
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Thanks Nick. I really hope you enjoy this one more than I did! But if it isn't up to par once it reaches 20%, then that seems like a good time to check out lol. I'm honestly quite surprised I kept up with the whole thing!
I'm sorry you didn't like this one! I think maybe, though, I could, so I'm definitely going to give it a chance. I adore the sound of the storyline, and I'm up for anything fantasy-related. 🙂 So far for this book I've seen a whole range of different reviews–so yeah, it definitely seems like the sort of book people either like or they don't!
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Yes I HOPE YOU LIKE THIS ONE WAYYY MORE THAN I DID. 😀 I must know how you think of it once you finish!