I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
Published by HarperTeen on March 8th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, BAM, Book Depository, Publisher
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.
So whats the easiest way to describe The Great Hunt? Kill the dragon, get the girl.
The Great Hunt begins with a frightening beast terrorizing the kingdom of Lochlanach through death and mayhem. The king commissions a great hunt filled with the kingdom’s best hunters to kill the best and end of beast’s reign of terror. In exchange, a winner will marry his beautiful daughter and stand as next in line to the throne. Meanwhile, Princess Aerity struggles with the knowledge that instead of the marriage of love she has been expecting since she was a child, she must enter into a marriage contract of obligation. Unfortunately, in enters the devilishly handsome Paxton Seabolt who steals the Princess’ heart who only complicates the young royal’s obligation to her family and country.
Paxton Seabolt is a strong, mysterious boy with plenty of secrets to keep hidden, but when he hears the call for hunters to take down the beast threatening his family he cannot turn his back. He vows to kill the beast and doesn’t want to marry a princess or care about the proclamation. That is, until he meets Princess Aerity and realizes she’s more than what meets the eye.
Every time I read a Wendy Higgins book two things happen:
- I end the novel properly satisfied or excited to read the next book in the series.
- Awed by the new leaps an already skilled author has made in her writing craft
I swear, Higgins can write any book well without relying too heavily on a formulaic plot. She’s written novels about Irish faeries, demons, sins and now a story about a medieval princess in a tough situation.
The romance! What can I say? I rooted for Aerity and Paxton. I loved how stubborn Paxton was and how he strives to protect those he loved making him the stereotypical hero. Aerity was also the stereotypical strong, new age Princess, but largely these stereotypes helped to develop an enjoyable read. She gave up her chance to marry for love to save those she loved and honor her birth right with minimal complaining. I was a bit concerned once it became obvious Aerity was used to a very different life style, that a majority of the book would be wrought with complaints and self-pity. It wasn’t. I also loved that I thought I knew how this novel would end based on the stereotypical nature of the characters..don’t be fooled, you’re in for a typical Higgin’s ending!
It’s refreshing to see a romance that isn’t insta-love or based on attraction alone: Aerity and Paxton become friends before they seriously fall for one another!
True to Higgin’s usual style we are given a unique world of magic, intense world building and strong characters. I didn’t wallow in boredom while we worked through necessary but dull parts of the story. The Great Hunt is a one sitting read with plenty of fantasy elements and political struggle to keep you interested between Pax and Aerity’s romance scenes. We get to see things from secondary character’s POV which is incredibly helpful in gauging other people’s understandings of event s and adding some really fantastic side stories to the mix.
Unfortunately, I feel this book doesn’t have the ability to garner wide appeal from the masses. The Great Hunt is primarily a true-blue young adult romance with fantasy elements. The entire story is about Pax and Aerity falling in love and the struggle to kill the beast. There isn’t a whole lot of deeper meaning in the scenes or in interactions beyond what is revealed, but it’s a wonderful novel if you’re in the mood for some emotional reading.
I cannot wait for book two! So many things have happened and there are still plenty of mysteries and massive plot developments to wrap up.
My biggest complaint is that all the characters began to pair off mid book which was rather annoying. I found that none of the female characters were strong enough to be on her own for long, looking for love in the hunters rather than being confident. I understand this is a period piece where women exist to marry off..but if its following a modern twist on marriage for love, we can have independent women as well.
Otherwise, The Great Hunt was a beautiful and fun read that took very little effort to read. It was extremely enjoyable and light-hearted regardless of a vicious beast terrorizing the kingdom and some brutal death scenes. This is a great example of why I cultivated a love for young adult because it is simple, enjoyable and in some ways following a formula that is comfortable like old shoes.
The book will appeal to readers of true young adult novels, slow burn romance lovers and fantasy enthusiasts. I wouldn’t suggest this to readers who are looking for more than a sweet, first love sort of romance because this theme permeates every aspect of this novel. I definitely recommend this as a must read for any Higgins fan, though.