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Friday, April 15, 2016

The Great Hunt

Time for a refreshing, new era type of book! I've been looking forward to the release of this book since the moment I knew it was coming. It's also the second series I'll be reading by this author, so my expectations are really high! The author I'm talking about has written the Sweet Evil-trilogy and is now coming with a duology: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins.

The lands of Lochlanach are being threatened by a beast. Fishermen, sailors, ordinary people and even the king's best fighters are being shredded to pieces by this beast. Nobody knows from where it comes but many think it's a creation of the lashed. Powerful people with magic, people who aren't welcome in the lands of Eurona.
The king of Lochlanach decides this has to stop, his people are in danger. So he decides to open up a great hunt and everyone of Eurona can join. The great prize when you kill the beast? His oldest daughter, Aerity. Everyone gathers after the declaration is send to all lands and the Great Hunt has begun. Aerity doesn't feel very happy with marrying someone she doesn't love, but she does what she has to do as a future queen. And things do become brighter when her eyes fall on the hunter Paxton. He's mysterious and hides many things but when the two grow closer, their bond starts to grow. But will it be Paxton to save the lands of Lochlanach and to receive the ultimate prize?

This book was more different than I had thought. I have to be honest and say that I was a little disappointed in the book. It's not that I didn't enjoy it but, I expected more thrill, more mystery and more of other things too. BUT I did like reading the book and can't wait for the second book in this duology. Why? 

First off the characters. Our main character is Aerity, she's not the strongest woman in comparison to other female characters such as Penryn (Angelfall-tryilogy) but I did sure admire her. What I didn't like as much about her, but was very predictable, is that she's a really girly girl. She likes to dress up, she acts as a real princess. I haven't read books with really princessy princesses so this was something I had to grow accustomed to but that's okay. 

Yet it is a reason for why I often had mixed feelings with this character. Although I did admire her! She has to marry someone she doesn't love, as a princess and she does feel really bad about it. She doesn't say anything about that to her father because she feels like she should fulfill her duty as the future Queen. Now that was something where you saw the fierceness in her and that's a moment where I did think she was a strong character. Well, a strong future ruler. 

Other than that, Aerity is very stubborn and won't let people walk over her when they don't need to. She'll get angry and sad at times but at the same time her worry for others and her kindness to other kinds of people are really inspirational. Besides, who wouldn't be inspired by a girl with a name like Aerity? I'm absolutely keen on her name!

Another character I'd like to discuss is Lady Wyneth. She does come many times in this story and therefore is an important character in the book. She's the cousin of Aerity and they're like best friends. As a reader you're also very happy to see that they're not only family, the friendship is the most important between the two. And that's great to see because both of them will suffer so they'll help each other, support each other. So you don't need to panic because you think this'll only be a romantic mystery book, friendship is there!

As for Wyneth herself, we don't see her like she used to be. She's suffering from loss and is struggling with this. The beast has caused this loss and now the reader gets a taste of Wyneth's sad side. The story will give a very special turn to this character and the bright side will come back! 

Now Paxton. Paxton is irritating, frustrating and all you actually might expect from this character. He's the mysterious guy that's against the royals but will fight because he wants peace and safety for his people. He's also the only one who acts like this towards the royal family and therefore to Aerity. In the beginning I didn't enjoy his behavior at all and during the book there were moments where I thought, Paxton you're going to far! But also with this character, the plot gives a nice turn! Secrets will be revealed and the mysteries around Paxton will be solved! 

What I liked about Paxton so much was that he only acted tough. If you think this character has no weaknesses, then you're wrong! He has a younger brother and really cares for him. Paxton doesn't want him to be hurt or anything else and that was something refreshing with this character: tenderness! Other than that I'd say he's a rough one that Paxton Seabolt!

What I didn't expect of this book was that it'd be written in the narrative perspective! We know so much about all the characters that come around: how they feel, what they think, how the stand with another character. And that all because it's in this perspective. I'm not really a fan of this narrative perspective, and also in this book I often thought it'd be much nicer to read it in I-perspective. Other times I thought the narrative perspective was a good thing though. This is just something really personal and will be different with each and every person.

As for the plot, it was situated in a more medieval time which I haven't read before. Just the language (which is also somewhat Irish to my opinion), the behavior of some and even the clothes that are describes, does refer to the medieval which I was keen on. For me it's very important to make references to the time and environment that plot is situated in and Wendy Higgins did this very well! 

Secondly, as I already mentioned, this story has it all! Romance, friendship, mystery but also thrill because of the beast. Of course this beast plays an important role because without this one, things wouldn't have come to a great hunt and Aerity might've just married the guy she loves. 

The author makes a lot of time for the hunt, we see characters enroll in hunter's behavior and follow their instincts. Did I enjoy to see the hunt up close? Absolutely! Other books might just use the Great Beast to lead to some pathetic romance lovers story but this book makes you go on the hunt yourself. Thrill is therefore a very common theme in this book!

The beast does bring more mystery though because as a reader of The Great Hunt, you're constantly asking from where it came from and how it came here. Is there someone who made it? Is it a hybrid? Is it something paranormal with powers? Because, yes, powers are present! I think this also refers a little back to the medieval because then they also thought there were higher powers (witches and so on) and these powers will be offered to you on a silver plate! However I don't feel like it had a very, very important or big role in the plot. Sure, it was discussed but the beast, the hunt and the royal status of Aerity were most important. 

As for romance, I want to explain that a little further. It's not that every character is getting it on with every character. It's just the theme romance because Aerity will have to mary the one that wins the great hunt and defeated the beast. Which brings her in constant doubt to who it's going to be: a young one? An old one? Someone gray? Someone little? This brings some excitement with the reader because you're getting curious too. The author also gives you a choice, who's side are you on? Aerity: doing her duty for her future kingdom or Vixie (her sister) who's angry with her father for doing this to Aerity. 

And lastly I want to point out that the author, Wendy Higgins, also gave the readers of The Great Hunt an amazing cover and amazing maps of the lands! Eurona looks so beautiful and is so detailed. Also Lochlanach is going to be shown so you know where we're situated in the book and cities places. I always think it's an asset to the book to give maps, they're stunning to discover and useful during the plot! 

Altogether this book was worth the read! I might've expected some more of Wendy Higgins because of her other books but it really was a very wonderful read. The characters and plot are set in the medieval that is also present in the book. The beast will make you use your intuition and instincts together with the other hunters on the hunt. And your heart will long to the ending to know who'll kill it and who will mary the future Queen. And if it wasn't clear yet: YES, I do recommend this book! 

"Kill the beast. Win the girl."

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