Hunted by Meagan Spooner
“She was so tired after all. Tired of fairy tales, and magic, and empty castles. Tired of wanting so intensely that she didn’t know what she wanted.”
GUYS MY HEART IS FULL!
I absolutely adore Beauty and the Beast. It was my absolute favorite Disney film growing up. With that being said, I am always so eager to read a retelling of it, but at the same time anxious in case it is ruined. Hunted does such a good job keeping the original story still intact while still having a spin that makes it its own story.
So we all know what happens between Beauty and the Beast, so I am going to point out the particular changes that I liked in this version:
World Building – Instead of a little town full of little people (in France). Hunted is actually set in Russia. It’s not explicitly said in the book, but the character names and the culture around it points to Russia. Belle references some fairytales throughout the book, and they are actual fairytales. These fairytales written by none other than Alexander Afanasyev, who was basically the Brothers Grimm of Russia. Here is a Wiki page that tells of Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf, which is the primary fairytale that drives the story. She’s wooing the Beast in this fairytale with more fairytales!
While the idea of the story is the same, we are put into a world that is real and Beauty sort of stumbles upon a magical world. The magical elements in the book tied in wonderfully and also felt original. Nowadays, you find a lot of the same regurgitated fantasy elements (stop trying so hard!), but the light details of magic really just helped the story of Beauty getting to know Beast as well as set up the premise for the ending.
Character Changes-I liked that new characters were introduced and gave Beauty a little more depth. Her family and her obligations play a huge role in her drive as a character. Her need for revenge and her will to come home to take care of her sisters. Instead of a girl who wants more adventure and grandeur we have a girl who battles with the desire to be free to step out of her female expectations (without shoving gender controversy down your throat) and to be the person her family needs (without making her full of herself that she thinks they depend solely on her).
I love that there is no Gaston villain as well. We aren’t stuck with a shallow man that is full of himself that just wants our protagonist for her looks. We are given the opportunity to understand why someone might want her besides a need for arm candy.
Anyway, I thought as a retelling that this was pretty solid. Stayed true the story, but was original in it’s own way.