Publisher: HMH Books
Date of Publication: December 27th, 2016
Dates Read: January 27th to March 8th, 2017
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.
Note: I received an ebook copy of this book from HMH Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Real rating: 2.5 stars.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for so long, so when I got accepted to read it on NetGalley I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, school and work and life in general got busy, so I was only able to finish it 3 months after its release – sorry. Better late than never, though, right?
Anyway, back to the review!
I want to start by saying that the description of this book is kind of misleading. A lot of the issues described are tackled early on, leaving the reader in uncharted territory for a good portion of the book. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, per se, but I think it’s something readers should keep in mind.
One of the things I liked about Ever the Hunted was the descriptions – they were vibrant and vivid, making me feel like I was actually in Britta’s body, seeing the world through her eyes. I also really liked the magical elements of this book! How it was obtained (trying not to be spoiler-y here) was kind of neat and different, at least to me. I almost wish we had seen each type of magic being practiced, just to see them all used to their full extent.
I don’t know how to describe it without spoiling it, but I like what Summerill did between the “big reveal” and the actual ending. Having that happen was a good choice, even if it meant that something bad had to happen to one of my faves…
Look, the writing was generally great, and I was excited by the idea of this story. It was entertaining enough, but unfortunately I found quite a few problems with the execution.
First of all, I’m sorry to say that I did not find myself liking Britta very much. She was super whiney and annoying. I also feel like her priorities were kind of skewed – for a girl who was supposed to be finding her father’s murderer, she spent an awful long time groaning about her childhood best friend not being in love with her. Oh, and she’s supposed to be this ~amazing~ tracker and hunter, but she tends to miss a lot of details pertaining to tracking. I just never warmed up to her throughout the entire book. I also feel like there wasn’t any character development besides the… well, you know, and that’s not the kind of character development I’m talking about.
Another character I never warmed up to: Cohen. I didn’t like him the moment we were introduced to him, and I didn’t like him at the end. He just seemed like a cardboard cutout, a replica of the average love interest – muscular, hot, snarky, overprotective of the main character. Normally these characteristics wouldn’t bother me if they weren’t the only words I could think of using to describe him – and if they didn’t describe so many other love interests. He also says something near the end that kind of irks me, but anyway. Again, little development of his character throughout the story.
Basically, I liked Enat and Leif more than I liked the main characters.
Next, and the biggest problem I had: way too much focus on the romance. Listen, if you know me, you know I love a good love story. And most of the time I enjoy adventure books with romantic subplots. But the romantic aspect was overpowering in this story; it was supposed to be about Britta avenging her father’s death and finding his murderer, yet most of the pages were spent on Britta’s attraction to (obsession with?) Cohen. His ~wonderful~ scent (don’t get me started on how bad he’d actually smell after days without a bath) and bulging muscles were mentioned waaaaaay too often for my liking. And THE ANGST… the angst was probably the worst bit of this, to be honest. Does he like her? Does he not? Is he going to kiss her? It seemed endless when it was pretty clear how he felt about her, and it really got on my nerves. I wanted to move on from the angst in the beginning, but, to my displeasure, it continued.
I’m also kind of confused about why Malam and Shaerdan hated each other, and I just wish there had been more time spent on the history of these kingdoms, and clear explanations for why they were going to war.
OH, and I 100% knew who the murderer was about 15% of the way through. I was not surprised at all by the big reveal at the end. On top of that, I really don’t understand the cliffhanger.
Overall: While I enjoyed some aspects of this story, too much time was spent on cliches and romance, not enough on developing characters and setting.