Lately, it seems like every time I pick up a super hyped up fantasy novel, I find myself either being bored, not relating to the characters at all, or thinking that the plot is just a rehashing of another dozen or so fantasy novels that I’ve already read. This book has all of the above, peppered with a bunch of romance that is gag worthy and really doesn’t add all that much to the story except to appeal to fans of romance AND fantasy.
This book is noted as being perfect for fans of books by Sara J. Maas, Graceling, and Truthwitch, and while I haven’t read any of those, I have all of Sara J Maas’ Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as Graceling and Truthwitch. I haven’t been reading as much fantasy lately, and while I do so love the genre, I find myself iffy when it comes to picking up a fantasy book because I just have had so many problems with the ones I’ve been reading lately. It kind of reminds me of the dystopian genre – some of the first books that were written in the genre were amazing, but as time went on, they seemed to get a bit stale over time, repeating almost identical storylines after a while.
That’s what I feel about Ever the Hunted. I feel like I’ve read this exact same book multiple times already – it felt like a mashup of other fantasy novels – completely generic with a ridiculous romance thrown in. I tried to love this, because so many others did and it was such a hyped up title, but in reality, I couldn’t wait to be done with it.
The heroine in the book is named Britta. Britta has had a difficult time – her father was murdered recently, and because she wasn’t considered an heir, due to the fact that her mother was from another kingdom and their marriage wasn’t considered a legitimate marriage, Britta is about to lose the cottage that she grew up with her father, and she will have no where to go. Since no one in the kingdom will help her, Britta knows that her time is running out. Nearly starving because she cannot get food, she poaches on royal land in order to feed herself, and when she is caught, she is thrown in the dungeon with the promise of being hanged. However, she is given a choice: hunt down her old friend Cohen, who know works for the royal guard, and who has been accused of killing Britta’s father, and in return she may keep her land and cottage, or she will be hanged for her crime of poaching.
Britta agrees to help find Cohen, although she is in utter disbelief that he would have killed her father. Her father and Cohen were close, so she doesn’t understand why. Treated poorly by the guards, except for one, whom she develops a friendship with, Britta looks for Cohen, and when she finally finds him, she learns the truth – Cohen is being framed for the murder of Britta’s father. Desperate to find the real killer, Britta and Cohen team up to work together to clear his name and find justice for her father.
Along the way, Britta learns some new things about herself – including the truth about her parents.
See, this sounds like such an interesting book, and maybe it could have been, had it not lasted almost 400 pages and spent the majority of it talking about how deeply in love Britta was with Cohen. It wasn’t the sweet kind of romance that made you go “awe” while reading, either – it just seemed like the kind of romance that served no purpose. Seriously, it was annoying. I didn’t want to hear about how amazing Britta thought Cohen smelled in every single chapter. We get it. You want to have his babies. But honestly, I think you have more important things going on right now. Just little things, you know…like clearing your name so you aren’t publicly hanged.
Once I managed to get past that (okay, I still haven’t, but I’m pretending), the entire plot of the story just felt kind of generic. It reminded me of the plots of several fantasy novels thrown together to create this one. The pacing of this book was painfully slow…seriously, if this book was only 200 pages instead of the 400, it might have been worth the read.
I wanted to love this book – from that stunning cover to the synopsis that sounded like it was going to be a perfect read for the end of 2016, I wanted to feel the kinds of feelings that the majority of others felt for this book, but I just couldn’t. There just seemed to be a lack of decent world building, which I have come to really appreciate in a fantasy novel, and the writing was a little off…it felt like the author was using the same word a few times in one paragraph, seeming bit repetitive and unimaginative.
As for Britta’s character? I can’t say it enough: Special Snowflake Syndrome. Ugh, she continuously talked about her looks and how she doesn’t know why this happened to her, and how she’s super special now because of the gift she has. I…I just couldn’t take it. Britta’s character reminded me of the kind of girl who I just couldn’t help but hate. Everything was about her, all the time. And when it wasn’t about her, it was her talking about how she wanted to be with Cohen and how much she loved him. She wasn’t a strong, independent heroine at all. No, she was irritating and full of your typical “Look at me, I’m special!” attitude.
All in all, to me, this book lacked any real depth that could have made it a fantastic fantasy novel. I’m not sure if I plan on picking up the next book in the series or not, honestly. At this point, I’m not all that certain I care about what is going to happen next, and from the way this book ended, it kind of seemed like it was a bit of setup for a love triangle in the next installment, making me want to avoid it altogether.
As it is, it took me over two weeks to finish this – I thought that once I managed to fall in love with the story (which, even after 100+ pages, never happened), I would fly through the rest, but I considered not finishing it multiple times. I did, but barely – I had to read other books during the time I was reading this one just so it didn’t seem like a chore to finish it.
Just because I had issues with the book, however, does not mean that you might not like it, especially if you love fantasy with some (or, well, all) romance thrown in. It just wasn’t for me, unfortunately. This book might be perfect for a younger audience or those who just need romance in every book they read.