On the surface, fairy tales seem like frothy, predictable stories. But underneath that froth and predictable narrative, are lessons about life that can stay with us, even when we grow up and grow out of fairy tales.
Meagan Spooner’s novel, Hunted, is an adaptation of Beauty And The Beast. It starts out with the traditional telling of the story. The Beauty in this story is Yeva, the youngest daughter of a wealthy merchant. When her father’s business goes under, Yeva and her family must downsize. But this is where Ms. Spooner takes the story in a new direction. Yeva is a hunter, like her father. He is the only one who has come close to killing the mythical Beast that lives in the forest.
Then her father goes missing. Yeva has a choice: marry her wealthy suitor and return her family to the life of luxury they knew or find and kill the Beast that Yeva presumes has killed her father. Instead of taking the easy way out, Yeva hunts the Beast and unfortunately becomes his prisoner. While she is imprisoned in his castle, she will learn not only a few things about her captor, but about the fairy tales she was told as a child.
While every genre has its standard plot points, the author not only hits the plot points, but takes the reader in unexpected places. There is so much emotional depth to the characters and the narrative, in addition to the magic and the mythology, that I felt like I was reading Beauty And The Beast for the first time. I also appreciated that Yeva is a strong female character who is not just a bad ass, but is also complex, interesting and human.
I absolutely recommend it.