Title: The Great Hunt
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: March 8, 2016
When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.
Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is 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 secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.
****Since this is an older book, having been published in 2016, I’m not going to hide my spoilers. I’ll give a general reaction to the book first, and then I’m going to jump right into to talking about the book.
I know this book is YA, but with the way it started, I expected more stolen romantic moments, and was a little disappointed there wasn’t. I wanted little moments between Aerity and Paxton, and there were moments when they were alone together, and I just wanted to scream “KISS HER ALREADY DAMMIT”.
With that being said, I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on Audible and loved it. I thought the magic system was so interesting, and the characters varied widely, and no two felt the same.
To me, this book felt fresh and new, and unlike a lot of the fantasy I’ve read before. I’ve read some fantasy YA that feels like it’s been copied and pasted from other fantasy, so I was glad that this didn’t feel that way. I’m so glad that I finally decided to pick this book up and read it, because I fell in love with the world and the characters.
****Review with spoilers!
I’m going to start with the things I really didn’t like or care for in the book. First is Paxton’s hatred for the royal family. Ultimately by the end of the book you know his deep dark secrete of being a Lashed, so you understand his anger…to a degree. Even after finding that out, I still felt like his distain and hatred for the royals was pretty unfounded, and pretty unfair. It was like no matter what people did to prove him different he wouldn’t believe them. It was like in his mind, the royal family is inherently bad and nothing can change that about them…even if Aerity accepts him for who he is, he still can’t seem to fully accept that she isn’t the monster he’s made her out to be.
Paxton reminded me of a constant pessimist, glass half empty kind of a person. It was almost like he adamantly refused to see any light in the situation. He was just there to kill the monster, and that was that. He kept pushing down his attraction for Aerity, and it was annoying. Like I said earlier, I just wanted them to freaking kiss.
That leads me into my next point. Aerity and Paxton, and their automatic attraction for each other. It felt a little insta-love-y, which I’m not against, especially in fantasy, but there wasn’t really a reason given. I can see from Aerity’s point of view, that Pax – who wants nothing to do with her – becomes a challenge or puzzle for her to try and solve. But for Paxton, it felt like he was just blown away by her beauty, and because “I’m mister mad at the world, so I can’t like her because she is everything I hate about the world”. As much as I loved the tension and chemistry between the two of them, Paxton definitely annoyed me.
ROSARIA. I hated her. Not because she was the ‘bad guy’ but because her reasoning for killing people was SO stupid. Two wrongs make a right. WRONG. Wronging those who have wronged you doesn’t make a situation better, it makes it worse, and you end up in a downward revenge spiral. When she started monologuing about why she has been killing all those people, my eyes rolled to the back of my head. Her revenge felt so half baked, and meh. I wasn’t impressed with her at all, and don’t really get (other than the story needed a villain) why she was necessary.
Now, I know that was a lot of negative, but I really did enjoy this book. I became lost in the world and the characters and often found myself having to pry myself away from the book. I couldn’t predict how it was going to end, except I knew Aerity would play some kick ass part. Going into the novel, I assumed Aerity would be going on the hunt with Paxton.
The first words I said to my friend, who had already read this book, was, “Paxton is a little bitch for going to join Rosaria” – No, that’s not a spoiler for book 2, because it’s legitimately in the synopsis. But like COME ON PAXTON. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT IS A GOOD IDEA? AERITY IS WILLING TO HELP CHANGE THE WORLD, AND YOU GO JOIN THE WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN KILLING HER PEOPLE. Smooth.
I love Tiern.
Love him so much. I was heartbroken at the end of the book, but of course it ends well.
Now that Aerity has her betrothed, (ugh), I totally want Tiern with Vixie. She’s the fire to his goofy, and I love them together. Though, Tiern should have stayed on the island with Vixie, and NOT HAVE LEFT HER ALONE INJURED AND FACING ROSARIA. He might not have stayed dead if he had done that.
I just realized I hardly mention Aerity. I thought she was a really interesting character. I found her to be selfless even when she wanted to be selfish. I liked how it was more her skills and talents that impressed the men, rather than just her title and her beauty. I really liked how she was just as capable as the men, but wasn’t invulnerable, and still needed rescuing. I think most of the characters are like that, and it felt so realistic.
I loved this book, and can’t wait to dive into book 2!