By: Wendy Higgins
Published: March 8, 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss ARC from publisher
(Goodreads / Amazon)
Kill the beast. Win the girl.MY REVIEW:
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.
This was not a retelling I was at all familiar with so I decided to give it a try. I have found that the last several retellings I've attempted to read did not end well for me. It's become obvious to me that if I'm very familiar with the story then I don't enjoy the book.
I immediately got a good feeling going in to this when chapter one pulled me right in! The romance between the King's niece, Lady Wyneth and her betrothed, the fear as they come face to face with a creature that's supposedly only a tale, and the horror of losing what you love most. Boom! I was immediately intrigued for more!
So the cover is one piece I don't quite understand. The main female does come from a line of red heads. Both her younger siblings (a sister and a brother) got the fiery red hair from their mother. But Aerity got more of her fathers hair color, so hers is strawberry blonde. It would have made way more sense to have a female with strawberry blonde hair on the cover.
The story is about a kingdom that becomes plagued with a beast who is killing people. Attempts to kill it become futile because the king's soldiers are unsuccessful. Offering a high price of coin to anyone who kills it no longer tempts men because no one can get close enough to kill it and those that do get close enough are either killed or severely wounded. All hope seems nearly lost when the king goes against everything he believes and offers the hand of his oldest daughter in marriage to the one who can kill the beast. Royalty or commoner, someone from their kingdom or another. Hundreds of men show up and the great hunt begins.
Princess Aerity knows she must do what is best for her kingdom and giving up the chance at love to save her people seems to be the only answer. She throws herself 100% in and meets each man and thanks them for their help. She gets to know some of them, and as such she falls quickly for one hunter, Paxton Seabolt. He, however, does not appear to be interested in her at all. He's rude, abrasive, and crass and does not treat her as a princess should be treated. But still she's intrigued by him, even though she knows allowing her heart to get attached to one, knowing she will have to marry whoever kills the beast, is very dangerous.
I very much enjoyed this YA fantasy. The story ends in somewhat of a cliffhanger, of which I am eager to see what happens in the final book of the series.
"You don't live with the looks," his mother had always told him. "You live with the personality, so try and be pleasant. And choose a girl with a loving heart."
"But I cannot stop you if you choose to go. I can only tell you with all honesty that I wish you would stay."
"If we act out of fear and hatred, then our enemy has won. Will you let your hearts be so easily betrayed by darkness?"
Language Rating: 1 (light)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4 stars