My Rating: 4 (maybe 4.5) / 5
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.64
Ever the Hunted was the Perusetopia book for January 2017, which was the main thing that pushed me to pick it up. However, I am so glad I did. I bought this book without knowing hardly a thing about it and absolutely fell in love with it. This is the first in a new duology (potentially more?) about two kingdoms ready to wage war against one another; one that embraces magic and another that condemns it. Britta, the protagonist, is basically trapped between both worlds. Her father is the king’s bounty hunter for Malam, the non-magic kingdom, and her mother, who died when she was young, is from Shaerdan, the magical kingdom. The story begins when Britta is caught poaching on the king’s land, a crime punishable by death. She is told her life will be spared if she can track down her father’s killer. The only problem? The man suspected of the crime is none other than her childhood best friend and her father’s apprentice. This is a quick read fans of YA fantasy, or even those looking to dip their toes in the genre, are sure to enjoy.
This book is a fast-paced thrill ride from start to finish. This story opens up with Britta in the woods, illegally poaching. Within the first 20 pages Britta has already been arrested for her crime, and the action really never stops after that. One thing I loved about this book was how short the chapters were. I find when chapters are short I tend to read a book faster because it feels like there is always time for just one more chapter. In this case the chapters are short AND almost always end on a cliffhanger. This kept me turning pages late into the night. Another thing that made this an exciting read were all the twists and turns. There are some serious OMG moments throughout this book. More than once I had to either set down my book or reread a passage to process what had been revealed. Not because it was ever confusing but because I was genuinely shocked at some of the things that happened. The last 50 pages of this book are “hold onto your pants, oh my goodness I can’t stop reading” good.
There is a swoon-worthy romance. If you are in the market for a new book boyfriend I have found your man. Meet Cohen, Britta’s childhood best friend and love interest. I absolutely loved Cohen. He’s brave, protective of Britta, with just enough arrogance to still be charming. But more than Cohen, I love his romance with Britta. Watching their feelings develop and unfold through the story, I really believed in their love story. There is also zero chance of insta-love since they have known each other practically their whole lives. “Britt, I love you. Then and now.” The more you learn about their past together, it is so obvious they have both always loved each other. The whole childhood sweathearts trope always makes me melt. I will warn you though, the story is very romance heavy. Not in a trashy dime-a-dozen romance novel way, but it is present throughout the entire story and does play a major part in the plot.
The story is full of unique, interesting characters. This novel is very much a character driven novel. Britta and Cohen are wonderful, and their dialogue is really part of what makes this such an enjoyable read. But we are also introduced to a handful of minor characters, each that help drive the plot forward, and each memorable in their own way. I can’t give away too much about the characters without spoiling the book, but I was very impressed with the way Summerill brought each of these side characters to life. Too often the minor/side characters are only there as a plot device or to bring out one of the protagonist’s character traits. In Ever the Hunted each side character is fleshed out and given their own personality. Summerill has said she only plans on doing one more book with Britta and Cohen, but she may write more books in this world. I would love to see some books diving deeper into some of the minor characters’ stories.
I needed more world building. I loved how character and plot driven this story was. Sometimes the first book in a series can get bogged down in background information and world building. However, I felt like this book took the opposite approach. Very little was explained about the magic system, so I still have a lot of questions about the magic and how it all works. I have a feeling this was done for dramatic effect (those crazy reveals I mentioned earlier) and I’m assuming we will see more about the magic system in the next book. Kind of on the same point, the setting of this story felt really cool. They are traveling through woods and mountains, into enchanted towns. But the details about the setting were kept to a minimum. I would have liked just a bit more description so I could have
visualized their travels better.
Overall, I really loved this book. It was fast paced and a lot of fun. I will definitely be recommending this to fans of fantasy, or anyone looking for a fun and easy read. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat till the last page.