|AUTHOR: Wendy Higgins
SERIES: The Great Hunt, book 1
PUBLICATION DATE: March 8, 2016
GENRE: fantasy, romance
SETTING: kingdom of Lochlanach (Scotland, maybe?)
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS
SUMMARY: Something is killing people in Lochlanach, and King Charles is at his wit’s end. With people dying violently every night and a seemingly unstoppable beast, King Charles issues a decree: anyone who can kill the beast will receive his oldest daughter, Aerity’s, hand in marriage.
REVIEW: Boy, did this book surprise me! It starts out with a bang–an action-packed opening scene of a vicious beast tearing into two lovers on a picturesque dock. When I read that scene, I figured I’d be reading this book long into the night.
But the story quickly grew boring. Beyond that slam-dunk opening scene, not much really happens for quite awhile. We go into Aerity’s story and how she is offered up as a literal trophy wife to the first brute who can slay the beast. Aerity isn’t all that interesting for for most of the book. She prances around in frilly dresses, plays the ever-dutiful daughter, and hangs upside-down from silks in front of the hunters. Psh.
I did not like the way King Charles is supposed to be a sympathetic character while at the same time being a complete hypocrite about the whole “marrying for love” thing. I think it would have been better if he were a tyrant instead of a benevolent king. Or even if he were just married to his job and didn’t mind throwing his teenage daughter under the bus. But no, he “felt bad” about it while continuing to force her to meet with the hunters each day and reminding her of her royal duty.
There’s also all this flirting and ogling of hot bods and lusty physical chemistry with nothing emotional to back it up. Oh, the chest-lust!
To be honest, I seriously considered abandoning this book. The only reason I didn’t is because I genuinely wanted to know who would slay the beast. I also liked the idea of forbidden magic, and Paxton’s story was intriguing early-on. The budding romance between Vixie and Tiern was also very cute (hoping to see more of that in the sequel). Overall, the story itself was good, despite all the little annoyances.
So I hung in there, reading little snippets at a time because I just was not into the story anymore. About halfway through, the story started getting good. Really good. There’s all this conflict and action and different story arcs that start to come together. Paxton starts to flesh out as a character and romantic interest, and Aerity FINALLY does something other than be kind, dutiful, and pretty. By the last 100 pages, I was so hooked that I stayed up late into the night to finish it. Even though I was running a fever and my head hurt like crazy. I had to know how it would all end. I ended up loving it and plan to read the next one–what a turn around!
THE BOTTOM LINE: A great start, a mediocre middle, and a fantastic last half! Highly recommended for fantasy fans!
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I plan to get this.
- Overall: 4/5
- Creativity: 3/5
- Characters: 3/5
- Engrossing: 4/5–mostly for second half
- Writing: 4/5
- Appeal to teens: 4/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5–a bit soft in the middle!
- Language: mild
- Sexuality: mild-medium; chest-lust (both genders) and general body worship; kissing; mild touching
- Violence: high; blood and gore; fighting
- Drugs/Alcohol: mild; poisoning