Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on December 27, 2016
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I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In Ever the Hunted, the kingdom of Malam is almost at war with its neighbor, Shaerdan. For seventeen-year-old Britta Flannery, this means that she’s an outcast. Her father is a bounty hunter for King Aodren of Malam, who met and married Britta’s mother in Shaerdan. Then the King closed the borders and tensions between the two countries escalated. To those in Malam, Britta is a bastard child. When Britta’s father is murdered, Britta is left in a precarious situation. Unable to inherit her father’s land and home, she’s all but destitute. When she’s caught poaching in the Ever Woods, Lord Jamis, the King’s regent, gives Britta an ultimatum.
Cohen, who Britta hasn’t seen in over a year, is accused of murdering her father. And Lord Jamis wants her to find him.
Britta sets out on a journey that takes her to unexpected places and causes her to reconsider what she knows as truth. She is more powerful than she realizes, and she alone can stop the war between Malam and Shaerdan.
I’m torn about Ever the Hunted. I tore through the story quickly. The magic was fascinating. I adored the supporting characters. I also liked Britta and Cohen. I was totally engaged with the story throughout. So what’s the problem? Good question.
I felt it focused too much on the romantic plot points and not enough on building the kind of rich world you would expect in a fantasy novel like this. It had a blurb from Sarah J. Maas, so I had high expectations in that regard. It feels like a YA contemporary romance disguised as a fantasy novel. The political conflict certainly suffered because of this. Too much was glossed over to be the kind of epic fantasy that it wants to be. Britta is also the kind of character I love to hate. She’s talented in an unconventional way, and she has this annoying habit of thinking that she’s unattractive when it’s pretty clear she isn’t. They’re over-played tropes.
The novel itself was formulaic. Nothing was a surprise, except for the end, which did surprise me a little. I’m still not sure what to think of it other than it sets up the next book pretty well.
You see? Torn. Loved the characters and some of the world building. Other things needed work.
Ever the Hunted is a formulaic story with good characters and a predictable plot. I’ll read the next book.
© 2016, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.