Title: The Great Hunt (Book #1 in Eurona Triology) by Wendy Higgins
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Fantasy YA
Synopsis: “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.
I had really, really high expectations for this book, so naturally, I put off reading it till I could give it my full time and attention. I’m a huge Wendy Higgins fan. In fact, she was the first book signing I ever went to and she was just so lovely and kind. Her Sweet series is one of my favorite and possibly the first book I formally reviewed on here. That’s why it’s so hard for me to wrap my head around “The Great Hunt.” It’s not that I didn’t like it, as you’ll see below, it definitely has high points for me, but it just didn’t have that same essence that I felt in the Sweet trilogy, so it fell a little flat for me. Below, is the breakdown.
What I liked: Very few people can write relationships as effectively as Higgins can. In every book of hers that I have read, the relationships between the characters is what draws me in and keeps me interested. In this case, I wanted more Paxton and Aerity. Not only did I love reading about them together, but the way they thought about each other was captivating. Paxton=major hottie but I got the sense that Aerity wanted what she couldn’t have while also falling in love with the whole ‘bad boy, good soul.’ We’ve all been there girl! This relationship has a slow, slow burn. The character’s really only have one semi-steamy interaction, but as someone who loves the build up more than the actual relationship, I was down.
What I didn’t like: Parts of this read more like a New Adult novel rather than a Young Adult High Fantasy, and I’m not even talking sexy, fun times stuff. Something about this just didn’t particularly gel High Fantasy for me. One, Aerity’s family was to lovey dovey. No one marries for anything other than love, yea, okay. Then there’s this whole “My mom is a Queen but used to be in the circus thing.” Again, surrre. Frankly, I just felt like there was a lot of unnecessary stuff and it was especially bad because it wasn’t genre specific. I think this would have worked better had it been set in modern-times with maybe a supernatural twist/ element.
Overall, it was okay. Good relationships but felt off for a High Fantasy. 3/5