TITLE: Ever the Hunted
AUTHOR: Erin Summerill
SERIES: Clash of Kingdoms #1
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
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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.
I liked Ever the Hunted, but it wasn’t the best or most memorable fantasy that I’ve ever read. It does deserve some brownie points for pulling me out of my reading slump, though. I think it’s just missing some charm and wow factor to take it from good to great.
I did enjoy reading Ever the Hunted, but I can’t deny how unoriginal it felt. Its ability to weave magic and mystery into the plot elevates it from your typical generic high fantasy novel, but that can only to so much to hide its similarities to other stories. I shouldn’t be thinking of other books when I’m reading another one. And those similarities are true not only for the plot but for the main character, Britta, as well.
That lack of charm I talked about earlier may be Britta’s fault. I don’t really know how to describe her. Ever the Hunted tells the story from her perspective, so we get some direct insight into what she’s thinking, and it’s more or less why I believe this is only a 3.5 star read. I felt ambivalent about her. At least, when I wasn’t mentally yelling at her to use her brain. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great character, but I found her unremarkable. To me, she just came off as a cheap version of some of my favorite characters from other books. View Spoiler »Britta felt like a poor man’s combo of Katsa from Graceling and Lisa from Vampire Academy. « Hide Spoiler
And to top things off, I feel like a lot of the problems Britta runs into are solved too conveniently, whether by magic or a handy friend, with little work done on her end. The novel sets itself up for a murder mystery, but if Britta were a detective, I’d fire her. The plot twists are pretty good, though.
But my biggest problem with Ever the Hunted is the romance (or lack thereof). It’s pretty cliche. And not even the sweet cliche, but the not-well-written cliche. It’s not so much the cliche itself that bothers me; it’s the lack of development between the characters that makes the cliche annoying. Okay, I get they have a past, thank you for showing me that through flashbacks, but I didn’t get to see any real-time development, which is something that plagues the whole book, not just the characters. View Spoiler »It’s like okay, so you didn’t kill my dad, I love you again! *Facepalm* « Hide Spoiler
Ever the Hunted is an intriguing high fantasy that uses magic and mystery to keep it separated from other books in its genre. Unfortunately, that cannot make up for its similarities to other novels and weak development of character relationships. I’d recommend it to fans of Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.