Title/Author: The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy Higgins
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, March 8th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!
Goodreads summary: 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 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.
So I haven't read anything by Wendy Higgins before, even though 3 of the 4 Sweet Trilogy books (which is weird cause there are 4 books) are on my shelf. I should get on that, because I really enjoyed The Great Hunt!
At the start I was a teensy bit concerned that this would be a case of insta-love and the romance being more important than the rest of the plot, but I'm glad to say that my worries were for nothing, because I fully supported this part of the story and the character themselves realise there's something more important than this romance.
Princess Aerity has always known that she's going to inherit the kingdom and there are certain responsibilities that come with this and with being the eldest sibling. And she doesn't fight this, she has a very mature sense of her duty and though obviously she isn't always happy about it, she really tries to do what's best for her kingdom. And I really admire this, a lot of times you see a character be whiny about the things that are expected of them and sometimes about things that have a lot less impact on your life than having to marry a the random person who slays the beast instead of someone you love like you've been told all your life. While it's obviously devastating, she takes it in stride and tries to make the best of it and I loved how she realised how far the risks and sacrifices of the hunters went and that she genuinely tried to get to know a bit about them.
There's a great deal of mystery about this beast that is terrorizing the land and one of the things about it was something that I figured out pretty early on, but one other twist that I'm not even going to hint at took me by surprise, but it made SO much sense looking back at some of the things that had happened earlier. I'm really curious to learn more about the magic system, but this fear and hatred of the Lashed is a bit horrifying. I mean, wow, I get that there's been a madman who was Lashed, but you can't just go around banning or killing anyone who happens to have the same powers! Imagine all the good they can do with it!
But let's talk about the ship for a bit. There's this instant attraction, but over time as they get to know each other, it grows into a little something more and I liked it. I also liked that there's staring at attractive and sometimes half naked men, because well, I'd also be staring if there were some physcially fit hunters running around flexing muscles and the like, so this seemed very healthy to me. But I really liked my ship together, and they knew that there was a big chance that he wouldn't be the one to slay the beast and she's have to marry someone else, but they just couldn't help it and I was like YES KISS!
With how Wendy Higgins left things, I really NEED the next book because holy wow, there are some things that definitely need to be fixed and there's a build up to even more trouble from a crazy woman and I just need closure. Very much.
My rating: 4 stars