Rating: 3 Stars
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins is a book about beasts and burdens set in a fantasy world I would never want to live in. I went into this book with high hopes due to being a big fan of Higgins’ Sweet Evil trilogy. Maybe if I hadn’t been expecting so much I wouldn’t have been so disappointed with this book… or maybe I wouldn’t have liked it regardless. I think what I found so disappointing about this book was that it was loaded with tropes on top of being boring to boot and that made it not terrible but average. Sometimes for me average books are worse than terrible books.
When a great beast unlike anything they’ve seen before crawls out of the woodwork to terrorize the people of Locklanach the king sends his best men out to slay the beast. When his best men die or run away screaming he decides to retract his position on letting royals marry for love and instead promises his oldest daughter in marriage to any hunter that can slay the beast. Hunters come from all over, some commoners, some royalty, some women and stay in the castle, dying in droves every night while trying to slay the beast.
I know that summation is a bit glib but this whole book was a bit glib in my opinion. It was just one giant trope that left me feeling like I had fallen into a time loop or was having some strange fit of dejavu. The princess has no say in what happens to her but Higgins tries to make us believe she’s doing it of her own free will. The one hunter who wants nothing to do with the royals is the one the princess can’t stop thinking about and through her magic kindness he falls for her as well. The beast is part of a bigger plot and everything gets worse before it gets better. If all of this sounds like something you’ve heard before it’s because it is.
This book is told in a very awkward form of third person. We were in the heads of so many characters that I often had trouble figuring out who’s eyes I was seeing the story through. This left me feeling confused and never really liking any one character because there were so many of them I was trying to follow.
The characters in this book were shallow. The king and queen were shallow and hypocritical and even though I understand it was for the best of their kingdom it still rubbed me the wrong way. The princess’s cousin is annoying and whiny and a tad guilt ridden in an annoying way. Her younger sister is a pretty typical immature younger sibling. Princess Aerity and Paxton weren’t all bad but they didn’t deliver the two punches main love interests should deliver so it didn’t redeem the story in any way.
Then there’s the matter of the Lashed. People who possess powerful magic that shows as marks on their fingernails when they use it. Lashed are persecuted and not permitted to perform their magic at all in the kingdom. You know, except the Lashed the royals keep as a pet and a personal healer. That really rubbed me the wrong way and once again fell under the hypocrite category. I understood that a powerful Lashed had started a revolution once upon a time but persecuting whole races of people for the actions of a few is a good way to breed hatred, rebellion and war. Not to mention it’s just horrible but I digress.
Paxton has sympathy for Lashed and what do you know so does the princess he’s so determined to hate. So of course when he sees that she doesn’t want to be a bigoted tyrant like her parents he falls head over heels for her. This book had a serious case of insta-love that was never backed up with anything substantial. Out of all the hunters Princess Aerity just had to fall instantly in love with the brooding hunter who hated her guts? No can believe. Sorry.
So all in all I felt this book was disappointing. Despite my scathing comments this book was written fine, the characters were basic but fine, the story was boring but fine, the world was flat but fine, and there wasn’t a single twist I didn’t see coming a mile away that was fine. So in other words it was painfully average. I bought the second one as an ebook deal before reading this one because I had high hopes going in so I might read that but right now I’m having trouble mustering the will for it.
Until next time, stay passionate and excelsior!
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