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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Book Review: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy Higgins
Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy Romance/Fractured Fairy Tale)
Date Published: March 8, 2016
Publisher: 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. 

The Great Hunt is the first book in the Eurona Duology by Wendy Higgins. I'm not familiar with The Singing Bone, so I'm not sure how this story compares to that fairy tale. This is one of my favorite authors, and I couldn't wait to finally read her newest book. This was a completely different read than the Sweet series, but I loved it just as much. Princess Aerity was easy to relate to, maybe not the whole princess part, but her personality, her interactions with her family, and her responses to Paxton really make her come alive as a character. Paxton feels a lot, but he doesn't let anyone know it, and he has to keep things hidden to survive. If people find out what he is, they'll judge him out of fear or ignorance or maybe both. I think he feels like he's always the outsider, even within his own family, though they seem to love him a lot. I really felt for his character, and found him to be very intriguing. Around Pax and Aerity, there are other mini stories going on. Aerity's cousin, Wyneth, has recenly lost her love and is struggling with new emotions and the guilt that comes with them. Aerity's sister, Vixie, is coming of age herself and is drawn to Pax's brother as a friend or maybe more? So, there is much going on within this story, and I haven't even mentioned the mysterious beast that's killing people at night. Though this isn't France, the mystery surrounding the beast reminded me a little bit of the Beast of Gévaudan. That just added to the intrigue for me, as the Beast of Gévaudan is something that has always sparked my curiosity.

Needless to say, I'm pretty hooked already. The wait for the next book is going to be agonizing.

Aerity had never felt more nervous in her life as he made his slow approach. She wasn’t accustomed to feeling this way, her body out of sorts, her thoughts scattered. She was glad to have the silks to cling to.

Paxton took his time. Aerity thought she should say something, perhaps a witty quip, but she was afraid she’d sound breathless. She didn’t want him to know how he affected her. He walked a circle around her, moving nearer, his eyes scrutinizing every element in that curious way of his. Aerity kept very still. No lad other than Harrison had dared to get this close. He stopped in front of her and looked skyward. His eyes trailed up the silks to the ceiling and he reached up, his fingers and palm wrapping around the smooth fabric, feeling his way down. When he got to her hand he let go, never touching her.

“I wonder,” he said quietly. His eyes roamed over her hair and face, her robe cinched at the waist. If he thought she looked silly he didn’t show it.

“You wonder what?” She was horrified to hear that she indeed sounded as breathless as she was. Curses.

Paxton’s hand drifted over the hair at her shoulder, his fingers gathering a mass of light red strands and winding them gently about his palm until her long tresses were a loose knot around his strong hand. She could feel the light tug at her scalp as his fist slightly tightened. Her chest fluttered at the sight of his thumb running back and forth over the taut hair there. She suddenly wished she could feel that caress.

Check out my reviews of the Sweet Series by Wendy Higgins! You definitely don't want to miss these books!

Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology The Great Hunt, and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue.
Wendy earned a bachelor's in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University. She is represented by Jill Corcoran of the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency.

To learn more about Wendy Higgins and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookPinterestTumblrInstagram, and Twitter.

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