Title: The Great Hunt
Author: Wendy Higgins
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication date: March 8, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
“Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”
She could only stare back, frozen.
When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. 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 knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until 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 the marrying type. 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—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.
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, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.
The premise of The Great Hunt seemed a little old fashioned to me—kill the beast, win the girl. Very chivalrous in a YA era of warrior women. And while the main characters play somewhat stereotypical gender roles (nothing really wrong with that either), women aren’t week in Hunt. There are women warriors, and courageous women, sacrificial women, and authoritative women. So, if the concept of the book gave you pause about women’s roles in the book, don’t be dissuaded by its description! Aerity must make difficult, mature decisions as a future ruler and while she’s not technically a fighter, she’s no less brave, and quick, and smart.
Wendy Higgins creates an interesting fantasy world, which is much larger than what we see in Lochlanach. The book is part of a duology (eat it trilogy!) and we’ll get more of a lay of the land in the next book. I wasn't very invested in the relationships, but I didn't mind the characters. I'm curious where Higgins will take the social justice issue, and resolve the romantic tension.
Would I let my teen read this book?
In general, Hunt was entertaining. The romance was a little unbelievable and the story predictable. But if you enjoy fantasy with a little magic weaved in this is a clean option and wraps up in only two books.
Age recommendation: 14
Language – none
Drugs & Alcohol – none
Sex – A few passionate kisses, but not graphic
Violence – Innards are spread and people are impaled during the hunt against the beast; some hand-to-hand combat
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.