Wendy Higgins, the author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Evil series, reimagines a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.
When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.
Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is 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 secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.
This tale of romance and duty, first in a planned duology from Higgins (the Sweet Evil series), suffers from an excess of repetition, marring an otherwise elegant landscape of imagination and wonder. Princess Aerity lives in a home surrounded by love in the magic-phobic kingdom of Lochlanach, protected as the king's eldest daughter. Yet that tranquility is shattered when a mysterious beast rages across the land, killing indiscriminately. In an effort to save his kingdom, her father convenes a great Hunt, with Aerity's hand in marriage the prize for killing the beast, a sacrifice Higgins emphasizes repeatedly. Paxton is a simple man who enters the hunt with a hatred of royalty and a desire to rid the land of the beast. He has no interest in Aerity until her enigmatic charm and unexpected compassion catch him unawares. The Hunt is complicated by the sheer number of hunters competing and their discordant viewpoints on magic. The overt object-lesson nature of the story is reminiscent of Grimm's tales, though the magic-related subplot offers added complexity. Ages 13 up.