ARC Review: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill was a wonderfully entertaining story and I am so eager for book 2! My spoiler-free thoughts below, and I highly recommend you preorder your copy before December 27th release date, so it doesn’t get lost in the holiday hoopla! I was so into this book, that I forced myself to take a break so I could savor the ending, seriously that good! I would like to thank Netgalley and HMH Children’s Book Group for the early advance copy, all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.
Category: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication: December 27th, 2016; HMH Books for Young Readers
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
Focus is a weapon as much as your bow.
Ever the Hunted is an extremely fast-paced adventure that I absolutely devoured! The fantasy was just right, gave me enough to build this world in my mind. It was a balanced set-up of world building, plot, and characters. The characters were engaging, had the most believable flaws, and perfect chemistry. Overall, I enjoyed everything! The blurb keeps the big details about this book hidden, so I too will not spoil any of the major plot points, but I want to talk to someone about them, so if you read this or when you do, hit me up for a conversation so we can get book nerdy together!
Britta’s story is complex; her whole life she is treated as an outcast by the entire town, the exceptions being her father and her best friend, Cohen. She was taught survival and hunting skills alongside Cohen as he apprenticed for her father. She has no one but them so when her father is killed, she has nothing left, since she hasn’t seen or heard from Cohen since they recovered from a terrible incident while on a hunt together. Britta is left starving, which leads to her getting caught for poaching on the King’s lands. The thing is that Britta is a brilliant hunter, and of course she only gets caught by the royal guard who are coming to take away her fathers property.
Instead of being hung for her crime, she is forced to use her tracking and hunting skills, to help catch her fathers murderer. Britta’s nightmares get worse when the king’s guard has evidence against Cohen, who has also perfected his skills under tutelage of her father. So ensues the drama and backbone of this story. Throw in the fact that Britta has been in love with Cohen, but feels like he abandoned her and now betrayed her father, helps Britta put aside those feelings and do whatever she can to track him down for the royal guard.
Then the journey begins, the neighboring countries are on the brink of war, and the guards themselves pose just as much danger to Britta as does the perilous search for a killer. The journey is amazing, never boring, filled with tracking skills, wonderful transitional scenery, and of course Britta is kickass with that bow & arrow. Not only is Britta on a journey to find her father’s killer, but also she ends up discovering a lot about the world and ultimately herself. Britta is a very strong character, and in the face of danger she accepts her fate but does what she thinks is best. The only time Britta is weak is when she’s with Cohen. He clouds her mind with inconsistencies and her feelings of guilt over their last devastating adventure and his subsequent abandonment. Both of these characters are well developed and their chemistry was pure perfection! We get plenty of plot twists and discoveries during the journey, some were to be expected and some twists were completely surprising.
As this is Erin Summerill’s debut, I must make note of her beautiful writing style. The scenery was detailed and flowery. The words flowed and were easily absorbed. Everything had a melodic tone that was just captivating. I was never bored, even during the mundane tasks of the journey, Summerill made it visually appealing every step of the way. The story is well-rounded and questions were answered, but we are left with plenty of story still to be told in the sequel. Very strong debut and I would recommend to any fan of YA fantasy!
Ever the Hunted has everything I want in a novel, action, adventure, magic, and romance. I honestly loved this reading experience, I didn’t have to think too hard, but I was still really engaged and entertained. It sweep me off my feet and I was thoroughly immersed in this book and didn’t want it to end! After quite a cliffhanger ending, I am impatiently waiting for book 2, I have no idea how I am supposed to wait a whole year!