This beauty of a book appeared on my doorstep as part of the monthly Uppercase Box subscription. Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill has been on my to-read list and I was excited to get started.
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.
This story is not what I expected. In a good way, I think. To be perfectly honest, I was on a reading binge when I read this book, like, I read multiple books from the same genre in the span of 2-3 days. With that said, the details blur together but I’m going to do my best to explain why I liked Ever the Hunted.
I was struck by the discriminatory world of magic v. non-magic that the author created. I enjoyed the tension right of the bat for the female protagonist Britta. (I freaking loved her name and it immediately reminded me of Faerie Queene’s Britomart. Both women went on an adventure looking for their love. I’m not sure if it was intentional but it made my literary heart pitter patter.) The nature of Britta’s birth, as a descendent of one who practiced magic and as a Bounty Hunter’s “illegitimate” daughter, made the romance between her and bounty hunter apprentice Cohen have this forbidden quality. The fact that Cohen was wanted for her father’s murder was another layer of hurt, betrayal and distrust, and I liked the way the story progressed as Britta slowly unraveled the emotional trappings to how she really felt and the truth of the matter. The history between Britta and Cohen made their romance believable, and I was definitely on board with their relationship.
The magic component was probably my favorite part of the story and I’m hoping it expands as the series continues. As much as I liked this story, there wasn’t anything overtly special about it. It wasn’t until the end that I felt the plotlines were weaving into a more complex and intriguing web, specifically when the life-saving magic appears to create a connection that I’m secretly hoping turns into a love triangle in book two. Who knows, though, I might be reaching.
The mystery of who killed her father is slowly unveiled throughout the story but I felt the ending was too quickly – and neatly – wrapped up. It depended too much on a person’s honor. Where was their honor when they wanted to put her out on the street and steal her inheritance earlier in the story?
Bottom line, I liked it. I was entertained. I swooned as Britta and Cohen fought their feelings for each other and I was intrigued by the magic. This first book gave the impression that there is far more to the story and I’m hoping book two is bigger, more vibrant and better than its predecessor.
STARS: 4 out of 5