Book Review: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

by - 11:41:00 AM

Title: Ever the Hunted
Author: Erin Summerill 
Pages: 392
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: 27 December 2016

From Goodreads: "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."

Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review!

It took me a while to pick this one up for some reason, but I'm glad I finally did! This was a really fun book that felt like it would be a great first step into the world of YA fantasy for anyone who is hesitant to jump headfirst into the genre.

Britta spends her days in the woods with her dagger and bow, tracking criminals alongside the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam- her father. The woods are the only place she feels truly at home, so when her father is murdered, Britta seeks refuge in the Ever Woods, where she knows she'll be safe. But when she's caught poaching by the royal guard, she knows her life is at an end. That is, until she's offered a deal: her freedom for her father's killer. Unfortunately for Britta, it's not as simple as she thinks it will be. The alleged killer is her father's old apprentice, Cohen McKay. Cohen is the only friend Britta has ever known, and is also the boy who broke her heart. In a journey across warring kingdoms to find the real killer, Britta must embrace the power within her and will learn that the thing that has always made her different will be what makes her powerful.

The concept of this book was definitely very eye-catching. I thought it would be really exciting to follow a female main character that could hunt/track and fight on her journey to find her father's killer. It was, don't get me wrong, but the sexism is very real throughout this book. I don't think I could get through a single chapter without someone making a remark about Britta being weak, or a bad tracker, or a plethora of other things simply because she's a girl. I get it, the concept of a female that cam fight and take care of herself is probably foreign in a world like this, but I really don't think that every male she encountered needed to point it out. There were also several times where one of the guards traveling with Britta was a bit too violent and handsy with her. It made me incredibly uncomfortable to read scenes that involved that character, and besides furthering her hatred and desire to get away from the guards, I couldn't see a reason that those scenes had to be included. I suppose it helped Britta show her independence and strength more, maybe, but that's stretching it. The fact that there was a female that was able to take care of herself independent of any male influence was great, but the creepy guard and constant criticism just felt unnecessary. Outside of all of that, the journey Britta goes on to find her father's killer is really action-packed. You get the underlying plot of kingdoms at war but no one can really figure out why it's happening, the story of Britta discovering things about both herself and her father that she never knew, a blossoming romance between Britta and Cohen, and a bit of magic thrown in there for good measure. I actually enjoyed the political aspect of this story more than I thought I would. The border between countries being closed and Channelers (females that can do magic) having to flee due to a Purge Proclamation put in place was a pretty solid side story that unraveled as Britta discovered more along her journey. Also, the magic system was very well developed and didn't feel like it took over the main story at all. It was woven very well into the initial plot and grew alongside Britta, never feeling out of place but rather right at home.

Britta was fantastic. She was so strong and independent, as well as incredibly sassy. There were so many times I found myself laughing out loud at her responses to things that were said to her because they were just so quick and witty! I loved that she was more than capable of taking care of herself and pointed out several times that she didn't need to be taken care of by others. She could hunt and track, although the tracking didn't seem to be as big of a factor and felt more like an afterthought most of the time, and definitely had the ability to fight whenever she needed to protect herself. I did feel that the relationship between Britta and Cohen was a times. It drove me bonkers that she was basically playing a game of Pong when it came to Cohen. At first, she wants nothing to do with him because he broke her heart and left her, but then two seconds later she was gushing about how good he smelled and how she wanted to be close to him, and then she immediately goes back to hating him. I just found it hard to believe because she couldn't make up her mind and just settle on a decision. Also, the comment about him smelling good was something that came up way too often, and I found myself wanting to scream when it happened. You cannot convince me that a boy traveling in the woods, through different areas with varying weather patterns, for days on end with no breaks and no way to get clean smells good in any way! Sorry, but that was just too much for me. Cohen as a character, smelly as he probably was, frustrated me to no end. He also flip flopped when it came to showing his feelings for Britta, which drove me even more bonkers. On top of that, you eventually find out he knows more about Britta and her past than Britta does, but that he kept it hidden from her. I just didn't enjoy Cohen very much, unfortunately, and was actually quite happy at the endin and what it opened the door for. As for the side characters, they didn't exactly feel memorable. The guards were terrible, except for Lief, and I didn't really enjoy them. Although the captain redeems himself somewhat at the end, so that was nice. It just felt like the other characters kind of blended into the background throughout the story, with the exception of one. They were well-written, but none of them really stood out to me as a character I would like to see more of in the next book. If I had to pick a favorite, Britta would win hands down!

The writing of this book was definitely very vivid and beautiful. It was easy to picture the landscape of the different areas that Britta and Cohen traveled through, and it really made me want to learn more about the different places surrounding Malam. I thought the use of "Seeds" as a curse word was a bit weird, but it was definitely something that stood out when I think of thr writing of this book. Britta was well-written, as was Cohen, despite me not liking him as much. As for the side characters, they had their own voices, and were written decently, but I didn't find myself connecting with them at all. I really enjoyed the overall tone of the book, with the mystery of who killed Britta's father and the magic system standing out the most, and it made for an engaging read that left me interested in the direction that book two will go in.

Overall, this was a very solid story that would be great for readers who are looking for a way to ease into the YA fantasy genre. With a strong main character, a plot that keeps you interested, and writing that's enjoyable and easy to follow, Ever the Hunted is a strong beginning to a fantastic new young adult fantasy series!

You May Also Like