ARC Review: The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy Higgins10:00
Series: Eurona Duology #1
Author: Wendy Higgins
Published March 9th 2017 by HarperTeen
“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.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
When I heard that Harper360 were publishing this book, I was intrigued. I had heard really good things about it by American bloggers, and immediately thought this would be a book for me, and I was right.
In The Great Hunt, Princess Aerity is the Crown Princess of her kingdom. Unfortunately, said kingdom has been suffering from attacks recently, and no one, not even the best hunters have been able to capture, subdue, or slaughter the 'great beast'. There are a few different kingdoms within Eurona, but Lochlanach, Aerity's kingdom, is the only one bearing the brunt of the attacks. When every other option fails, and less and less men are willing to try and stop the beast, the king must make a difficult decision. His decision, to offer his daughter's hand in marriage to whoever it is to still the beast, and become a member of the royal family. Though Aerity is understandably vexed by her father's decision, she knows its for the good of her kingdom, so agrees to play along. Anyway, some of the hunters are really nice, and Aerity finds herself drawn to one in particular, by the name of Paxton Seabolt - who, unfortunately, doesn't really like the royal family.
This book was so good! It reminded me so much of the fairy tales I read when I was younger, and though I never read the one this is based on, it has the right elements you'd find in a Grimm story. On top of the whole beast story line, there's also the added element of the Lashed Ones, people who have magic, but because of fear and prejudice, they aren't allowed to use the magic. If they do, they'll be caught by the physical signs shown in their fingernails, and be punished for it. I loved how both these story lines played out alongside one another.
The way the book was written helped readers to enjoy it more, as it was in multiple PoVs, in third person, though the main PoVs were Aerity's and Paxton's, who were definitely my favourite characters. That's not to say that some of the others weren't good too, rather there was a really wide range of cast, all with their own stories and backgrounds. Because of all this, the story progressed naturally, and we learnt things at the right times, rather than simply being told them.
I'm really happy I have a copy of the finale to this duology waiting for me, because I loved how this book ended, and can't wait to see how Higgins concludes the series. Definitely a book for fans of fantasy and retellings!