A New Review From Our Local Book Reviewer
The Great Hunt
Author: Wendy Higgins
Page Count: 406
Keywords: Fantasy, Magic, Monsters, War, Hunt, Love
Genre: Young Adult
Younger Readers: Typical young adult romance and language.
I have read Wendy Higgins’ Sweet Evil and found it to be a fun, sexy read that went by quickly. With this in mind, I was excited to hear that she had a new fantasy novel coming out and even more so when I heard that it would be a duology. Shorter series and in my favorite genre? Double win. This book certainly did not disappoint my expectations.
I really LOVED this book. The world building was well done and the characters were loveable. Development existed throughout and the action was well paced.
Aerity was a cool character. She is a princess that everyone thinks will be vain and arrogant. However, she is compassionate and caring. Her life in the castle is certainly sheltered and she is oblivious to aspects of life that would be considered common knowledge for most, but it only makes her more endearing. Her skills with acrobatics were a fun twist to the normal warrior, princess type I am used to reading. Her sister Vixie and cousin Wyneth were great secondary characters that balanced Aerity’s personality well and added depth to the story.
If you are looking for book hunks to swoon over, there is a variety to choose from. Personally, I liked the mysterious Paxton and all the twists that his storyline took. He is a prime example of the bad boy with a heart of gold that is a staple in the YA genre. I love him though. His younger brother, Tiern, is boyish and sweet. Lief is the stereotypical hot Viking, all muscles and blonde hair. Another bad boy type. Harrison is the honorable young man, always watching out for everyone else. The good guy every girl wants to meet. Then there are plenty of other hunters mentioned throughout. So, whatever your type is (in the real world or in books) this one has you covered.
Then there is what Higgins did with the beast. I do not want to give too much away, but in the beginning of the book it is nothing more than a creature to be hated. It is not a main character but it still experiences development. By the end of the book I was almost in tears reading about the creature, visualizing it more as a puppy than a homicidal monster. I love when a book has me think one thing at the beginning and by the end my thoughts have done a complete 180.
Romantic tension? Check. Hunks to drool over? Check. Unexpected twists? Check. Likeable protagonist? Check. Moral grey areas? Check. Fantastic twist on the concept of magic? Check.
If you like Wendy Higgins, or fantasy, or just good books in general then I would check this one out. It is fun and fast paced with enjoyable fantasy elements that will not drag down the weary reader but still entertain the fantasy lover.
Now comes the long wait for book two. *cries*
Note on the Damsel in Distress Archetype:
One of the number one complaints I noticed in negative reviews for this book was that Aerity was too much a damsel in distress and that she should have been more “badass” like Katniss from the Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent. Aerity is a very cool character but she certainly is not like these two dystopian heroines. Her physical strengths are put to use in acrobatic tricks and she does do archery. However, she does not do the traditional strong heroine activities set up in these other two series mentioned.
However, it is important to mention that in the real world not everyone is identical. Not everyone is physically capable of completing the same tasks or has the same training. Aerity is a princess set to take the throne after her father’s passing and her family’s main concern is that she survives. Putting herself in dangerous, life-threatening situations for the purpose of combat training would not have been likely.
Look at her sacrificing her right to choose who she marries. Some may consider this trivial, but a part of her freedom is being taken away so that she may protect her people. That is heroic even if it is not in the way we are used to seeing it in YA fiction.
Sometimes the damsel in distress archetype can be overdone and inappropriate. However, in this story I believe it is fitting with the plot and setting. Agree? Agree to disagree?