Author: Wendy Higgins
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kill the beast. Win the girl.
A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. 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 understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when 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 keen on marriage. 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 and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.
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, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks to the publisher!
The Great Hunt wastes no time immersing the reader within its story. The first chapter opens up with death of Breckon Gillfin, Lady Wyneth’s betrothed. Breckon has been killed by a great beast that many have thought to be mythical, until now. Many deaths quickly follow Breckon’s and King Charles soon issues a proclamation stating that the hunter to kill the beast, will win his daughter’s, Princess Aerity, hand in marriage.
Princess Aerity is quite the likeable character. While Aerity may be more shy and reserved than most female protagonist in today’s young adult literature, she has a quiet strength about her. Although she dislikes her father’s proclamation, she agrees to it because it may be the only thing that will save the Lochlanach kingdom.
Aerity repeatedly puts other first before herself. Her relationship with her younger sister, Vixie, was sweet and enduring. While most older sisters would be annoyed or irritated when their younger wished to tag along, Aerity would welcome Vixie’s company. She also is skilled in acrobats, which I thought was a unique addition to her back story.
Aerity almost immediately has her eyes set on one of the hunter’s that appear for hunt, Paxton Seabolt. He is different than most. He is the only man to join the hunt that does not wish to win Aerity’s hand in marriage. He only joins the hunt because he truly wishes the beast dead. What Paxton does not expect is that the Princess is nothing like he imagined. She is kind, quiet, and smart. However, he still wishes nothing to do with her.
There is even a bit magic in this story. A group of people, called The Lashed Ones, possess magic. Ever since an evil Lashed attempted to take over the kingdom, The Lashed Ones have been social outcasts and are treated less than humans.
The Great Hunt is told from a third person point of view. While most point of views are from Aerity and Paxton, we get brief narrations from other characters within the story. This story focuses less on world-building and more on action. The main story is focused on killing the beast with a small subplot that will become the main plot in the second installment. The character descriptions are very colorful, with lots and lots of red hair. I thoroughly enjoyed the use of the region’s diction with its “ayes” and such.
The Great Hunt was such a quick read for me. I loved the fantasy aspect of the story, which only gets better the more you read and the romance was slow burning and heart breaking. It is the best and worst kind of romance an author can torture its readers with. I can’t believe I have to wait an entire year for the second installment. I will be reading the next book the second I get approved for a review copy!
5 out of 5 stars
Meet The Author
Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NY Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology, The Great Hunt, and her independently published Irish Fantasy See Me.
After earning a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until achieving her dream job as a full-time writer.
Wendy lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband, daughter, son, and little doggie Rue.