The Great Hunt

The Great Hunt

4.2 15
by Wendy Higgins

View All Available Formats & Editions

Wendy Higgins, the author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Evil series, reimagines a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken


Wendy Higgins, the author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Evil series, reimagines a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This tale of romance and duty, first in a planned duology from Higgins (the Sweet Evil series), suffers from an excess of repetition, marring an otherwise elegant landscape of imagination and wonder. Princess Aerity lives in a home surrounded by love in the magic-phobic kingdom of Lochlanach, protected as the king’s eldest daughter. Yet that tranquility is shattered when a mysterious beast rages across the land, killing indiscriminately. In an effort to save his kingdom, her father convenes a great Hunt, with Aerity’s hand in marriage the prize for killing the beast, a sacrifice Higgins emphasizes repeatedly. Paxton is a simple man who enters the hunt with a hatred of royalty and a desire to rid the land of the beast. He has no interest in Aerity until her enigmatic charm and unexpected compassion catch him unawares. The Hunt is complicated by the sheer number of hunters competing and their discordant viewpoints on magic. The overt object-lesson nature of the story is reminiscent of Grimm’s tales, though the magic-related subplot offers added complexity. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jill Corcoran, Jill Corcoran Agency. (Mar.)
ALA Booklist
“A standout in the realm of fairy-tale retellings.”
Gena Showalter
“Breathtaking adventure, high-stakes fantasy, and romance to last the ages. The perfect start to a new series, and a treasure you don’t want to miss.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“As a romance…the book hits the sweet spots-the talented, lone wolf hero, the vulnerable but determined heroine, and the many, many obstacles their love must overcome”
Suzanne Young
“Beautifully written and deeply romantic.”
Alexandra Bracken
“The hunt for the next spelling fantasy read is over. The gorgeous blend of magic, high-stakes, and swoon-worthy romance had me flying through the pages, mesmerized.”
VOYA, June 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 2) - Rebecca Moore
This loose retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s Singing Bone begins in Lochlanach, a country that hangs magic users because of past incidents. Dark magic seems to have returned, however, in a deadly, seemingly undefeatable beast. At his wits’ end, the Lochlanach king offers the hand of his heir, Aerity, as a prize to the hunter who kills the beast. While Aerity hates the thought, she knows her duty and complies. As the hunters gather, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the rude Paxton Seabolt, who has much to hide in his background and is, against his will, also drawn to her. Aerity’s cousin, Wyneth, mourning her beast-killed fiancé, favors a Coldlands lord also vying for Aerity’s hand. As the hunt continues, more and more men are gruesomely ripped apart, and a cliff-hanger ending offers no resolution. This tale will doubtless find an eager audience among those in search of fantasy action and romance. However, Higgins’s land unfortunately feels pulled thin to accommodate both fairy-tale traditions—such as a king offering his daughter as a prize to a man—and the political correctness of women in pants who choose their own mates and wear leotards to exercise in hanging circus silks. Still, the bloody action scenes move quickly, the world-building is well thought out, and the magician persecution will ring many modern bells for readers. While there is nothing new here, lovers of star-crossed romance and lustful kisses and caresses that do not quite venture further will enjoy this tale, despite the sometimes awkward writing. Reviewer: Rebecca Moore; Ages 12 to 18.
VOYA, June 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 2) - Anna Lindberg
The Great Hunt is a wonderful book with an intricate plot, full of mystery and romance. The fairy-tale world of Lady Wyneth Wavecrest and Princess Aerity Lochson is definitely hard to resist, and readers will look forward to delving into the sequel. For a book sure to please fans of Grimm’s fairy tales, turn to The Great Hunt. Reviewer: Anna Lindberg, Teen Reviewer; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
When a vicious beast threatens the land, the royal family must make sacrifices to defeat the menace and save the people. Something is rotten in the kingdom of Lachlanach. Tension simmers between commoners and the Lashed, who are barred by law from performing their magic. Birth rates around the kingdom are down. And, worst of all, a savage beast is making the rounds every night, killing all the men it encounters. In desperation, the king invites hunters from all neighboring lands to enter a contest—whoever slays the beast wins the hand of his eldest daughter, Princess Aerity, in marriage. But this hopeful solution grows complicated when Aerity grows fond of a specific hunter. The beast, too, is a surprise, as it turns out to be a different sort of creature than first assumed. Higgins has written a familiar yet compelling damsels-in-distress novel. A group of talented female hunters who are able to attract the respect of the men and the admiration of the women adds a welcome twist. The princess and her female relatives manage to exhibit a flare for coming through in emergencies, though they are perfectly willing to let the men do the heavy lifting when danger gets too close. As this book is the first in a duology, it fittingly ends with a cliffhanger. An enjoyable-enough fantasy with a healthy sprinkling of romance. (Fantasy. 13-17)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The peaceful land of Lochlanach is being terrorized by an unstoppable bloodthirsty beast. When the king's army is unsuccessful in ridding the land of this monster, the king is forced to seek help from the other four kingdoms of Eurona. Rumors of the beast's unnatural strength and impenetrable hide have people running for their lives. King Lochson sees no alternative but to offer his most prized possession as a worthy reward for slaying the beast—his eldest daughter's hand in marriage. As fighters from all over the kingdoms arrive, Princess Aerity accepts her fate and is willing to sacrifice her happiness for her people and her kingdom. However, a young warrior named Paxton Seabolt catches the princess's attention. An extremely skilled hunter, Paxton and his younger brother join the hunt not for glory but for the monetary reward to support their family. While his honor and integrity are apparent, he is cold and distant, trusting no one. Paxton harbors a secret that forces him to push everyone away, including Aerity. Higgins weaves a powerful tale that includes magic, mystery, suspense, sacrifice, and love. The action-packed plot is driven by the diverse and complex characters, whose perspectives allow readers to understand what is truly at stake. Inspired by the Grimm Brothers' tale "The Singing Bone," this captivating and intriguing read leaves fans on the edge as something dark and sinister is looming on the horizon. VERDICT Highly recommended for fantasy fans.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Wendy Higgins is the New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Evil, Sweet Peril, and Sweet Reckoning, the first three books in the series, as well as Flirting with Maybe. She was born in Alaska and lived on five different military bases across the US. She attended George Mason University for her undergraduate degree in creative writing and Radford University for a masters in curriculum and instruction before becoming a high school English teacher. Wendy now lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband and children, writing full time.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Great Hunt 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read Wendy’s Sweet Evil series and was happy to devour some more of her words. As a fan of Disney’s Brave with an Outlander obsession, this book immediately caught my attention. A strong princess of the Highlands with archery skills and a love of acrobatics is exactly the kind of character I would dream of being. When a horrendous beast starts killing off the inhabitants of the kingdom of Lochlanach, the king declares a hunt to bring down the beast and return the kingdom to safety. As you can imagine, people require an incentive for risking their lives. In exchange for killing the beast, the king offers the hand of his eldest daughter, Princess Aerity. Hunters come from near and far for the princess and to search for the monster of course. However, it is one of the local hunters that catches Princess Aerity’s attention, whether he wants it or not. The handsome and brooding lad keeps the strong willed princess on her toes. In a land where magic is forbidden, strange things start happening and it isn’t long before everyone starts to realize that the beast lurking in the night may not be the only enemy. This tale of magic, secrets, and far away places definitely stirred my appetite for fantasy and I can’t wait to read the sequel! *I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
AZwldcatz9 More than 1 year ago
Wendy Higgins has brought another winning novel to young adult readers. Like the Sweet series (Sweet Evil, Sweet Peril, Sweet Reckoning, Sweet Temptation), The Great Hunt is a fantastic young adult paranormal romance that draws readers in and does not let them go. The land of Lochlanach in the Kingdom of Eurona is faced with a fearsome beast. With the beast going on a killing spree throughout the land, the king is faced with a tough decision. Princess Aerity had always had the promise and hope of marrying for love like her parents had done. This changes when the beast attacks. To save her kingdom, she sacrifices the chance at love, vowing to marry the man who kills the beast. Paxton Seabolt was a common young man who enjoyed the hunt. Watching the beast strike fear and death into his homeland, he and his younger brother, Teirn, join the Great Hunt. Paxton has a secret to keep, but at what costs? Higgins does a phenomenal job creating characters that readers can connect with. Aerity and Paxton are similar to Anna and Kai from the Sweet series in their fierce love and determination, but the story they tell is unique in its own way. One of Higgins' strengths is building multiple facets to each story. The cliché prince/princess falls for the commoner always makes me chuckle and swoon a little all at once. It is the twists and turns that make this story stand out. While I strongly dislike cliffhangers, Higgins caught my attention and set the story up for another book very well. The cliffhanger left a wealth of opportunities in the future, but they could take the cliché path where despite a loveless engagement, Aerity and Paxton will get their happy ending together. Or it could go the other way where Aerity finds happiness in her engagement and Paxton can find what he is looking for on his quest. One of the best part of Higgins' writing is that she always drops hints of foreshadow and opportunities, making me want to immediately read the book again to find little clues I missed before. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the Eurona Duology by Wendy Higgins!
CbAvidReader More than 1 year ago
So I just finished reading this book, which I feel like I have been waiting to get my hands on for forever, and I am smashed. Completely and utterly emotionally smashed. I know that you wouldn’t think that this would affect me so much, but I am angry for what is happening, completely heartbroken for several of the characters, proud of the main female, disgusted by one of the characters, and I could keep going, but I won’t. I was going to write a summary of the book, but you already get that from Wendy Higgins, so there’s really no need. Besides, most of what I wanted to write would give too much of the story away, and I have reviews like that. However, I will say that the way that the story played out was amazing, and the timeline seemed perfect. It never felt rushed to me, nor did the way that the feelings of the characters seem like it was out of proportion with the book. The only thing that kills me is that it is going to take time for the next book to come out. I literally killed this book today, so now I am going to have to find others to keep me occupied while I wait for the next of this series to come out. PLEASE don’t take too long Wendy!! I know you have a timeline with the publishers, but I’m dying already lol.
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
Action. Adventure. Romance. And Swoon. THE GREAT HUNT has it all! I have never read the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” so I went into this story blind. I loved every minute of it! Fast paced, beautiful writing, witty characters and an engrossing story that pulled me in from the first page, and didn't let go until the very end. The alternating POVs made for a more complete, richer story. Aerity and Paxton are the main characters but there is more than one "ship" to root for. And plenty of kissing. This is the first in a duology and while the end left me satisfied, I still craved more. I cannot wait to see where the story goes next! Fans of fantasy, adventure, and fairy-tale re-tellings will enjoy this one. FYI: The line for both Paxton and Lord Alvi starts behind me. ;)
Anonymous 8 months ago
I would have given a higher rating but the ending was abrupt and without closure. I'll look and see if the other half is available as a sequel but if not do not buy this book.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Weezled 9 months ago
I took an entire page of notes on The Great Hunt. That’s what I do, you see. After I finish a book, I write down all of my praise and complaints in a battered spiral notebook next to my computer. It’s so I don’t forget to mention that one thing that ticked me off, or the quote that made me giddy. An entire page of notes should make for a pretty interesting review, right? Sadly, no. I am sitting here staring at that page and all I can think is, “Wow… this book was dull.” For starters, The Great Hunt is marketed as a dark fantasy retelling full of sacrifice, tension, and hunky hunters. It delivered the promised “rugged hunters,” but fell short on the rest. This novel is a fluffy romance that occasionally cuts to scenes where the “sexy” heroes battle a dreaded beast, all for the love of Princess Aerity. Don’t be fooled by the beast, most of this book takes place safely on the castle grounds. The scenes that do feature the monster are tame and lack the scare factor I expected. The author failed to inspire any kind of fear in the reader. I wanted to be on the edge of my seat, terrified for the hunters, but I just wasn’t. So, I accepted that The Great Hunt is a romance novel, which isn’t always a bad thing. I enjoy a cute and fluffy romance from time to time, when it feels real. Unfortunately, the romance between Aerity and Paxton felt forced from moment one. He gives her the once over, leering at her chest long enough to make the people around them uncomfortable, but instead of being offended by his brazen stare, Aerity swoons over his rough and thuggish appearance. It felt like insta-love, at least on her part. Paxton spends the rest of the book trying to ward of her advances “for her own good.” The more he pushes her away, the more she wants him, until he eventually caves and lets her past his bad boy exterior. It really fell flat for me. It could be that I didn’t feel the characters were well developed enough outside of their inexplicable attraction to each other, but I just didn’t find the relationship interesting. There wasn’t much to this book aside from the unsatisfying romance. The fantasy-lite world does feature a group of magic users, called Lashed, who are strictly forbidden from using their magic on pain of death. That story line interested me, but was overshadowed by the romance. She does drop in a few interesting tidbits in from time to time, but I was still left feeling like they were just a plot device. In the end, I found the book to be a fast and easy read that feels a bit like the Disney movie “Brave” if you subtracted almost all of the awesome girl power, leaving you with a bear and some guys trying to win a princess.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I wish it were longer!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Great read! Another reviewer mentioned it was somewhat similar to Disney's Brave, and I would have to agree. This book had adventure, loyalty, love, and hope all wrapped up into one. I can't wait for book 2 to come out soon!
EmilieSG 12 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great mix between fantasy and adventure, and had wonderful characters. The hero and heroine would appeal to readers, and the world building was very good. The conflicts in the plot were well-thought-out, and kept me guessing the whole time. I did figure out one slightly major plot-point early on, but it did not take away from my enjoyment of the book, or make the problems that resulted seem any less meaningful for the characters. The characterization was very good, and I enjoyed the fact that the reader was able to see from several different characters' points of view. The hero was relatable and his inner conflicts seemed believable. The heroine was quite strong in her own right, and just one of many strong female characters. Up until the very end I was not sure how everything would turn out, and the author did a good job of building suspense and keeping the reader guessing. I was definitely left wanting more. I am waiting eagerly for the next installment.
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
A Must Read A destiny that is undecided. One princess and hundreds of rugged hunters. Fear starts to stir revolt when a strange beast begins to terrorize the kingdom of Lochlanach. A proclamation is sent to the five lands of Eurona in an act of desperation. To the one that kills the creature they will win the ultimate prize: the hand of King Lochson’s daughter in marriage. Princess Aerity knows that it is her duty to kingdom to marry a stranger even if she can’t bear the idea. At least she couldn’t until she catches sight of Paxton Seabolt, a local brooding hunter. Aerity and Paxton both feel the spark between them but Aerity feels there may be more to Paxton’s mysteriousness. That it is foreboding and maybe even dangerous. This is the retelling of the Brothers Grimm story The Singing Bone. The story is wonderfully written and will have readers hoping things will work out between Aerity and Paxton. It is part of a duology and as such it does end with a cliffhanger. It will also have readers hoping the next book comes out very quickly so they can see just how things turn out. The reader gets pulled into the story and aren’t released until the end and even then they are still with the story as they wait to find out just how everything eventually turns out. This one is definitely worth reading even if it means having to wait for the next part of the story.
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Francesca and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog I loved the concept of this book. THE GREAT HUNT is an actual hunt for a beast that’s been terrorizing a kingdom. The King has organized it to protect his people and get rid of the Beast once and for all. And he’s giving his daughter as the prize. Whoever wins, will get to marry her. What I’m not too crazy about is the execution. This is my first time reading Wendy Higgins and, although the writing is good, I think the plot in general didn’t manage to captivate my attention. Certainly enough to finish reading, but not much past that. I’m not sure I’m invested enough to continue the series. I wish some of the magical aspects of the series would’ve been explored more in this book instead of just hinted at. And I could’ve done with less detail on the hunt itself. After a while, it went from cool and original to boring and dragging. There is a romance here, and that takes center stage quite a bit in this story. But a lot of their interactions felt too focused on an insta-love feeling. Overall, this is a fairytale style story with a bit of paranormal in the end and had it been more balanced I probably would’ve enjoyed it more. At this time, even though this was an enjoyable enough read, I don’t think I see myself continuing.
Silk-Serif More than 1 year ago
The romance! What can I say? I rooted for Aerity and Paxton. I loved how stubborn Paxton was and how he strives to protect those he loved making him the stereotypical hero. Aerity was also the stereotypical strong, new age Princess, but largely these stereotypes helped to develop an enjoyable read. She gave up her chance to marry for love to save those she loved and honor her birth right with minimal complaining. I was a bit concerned once it became obvious Aerity was used to a very different life style, that a majority of the book would be wrought with complaints and self-pity. It wasn't. I also loved that I thought I knew how this novel would end based on the stereotypical nature of the characters..don't be fooled, you're in for a typical Higgin's ending! It’s refreshing to see a romance that isn’t insta-love or based on attraction alone: Aerity and Paxton become friends before they seriously fall for one another! True to Higgin’s usual style we are given a unique world of magic, intense world building and strong characters. I didn’t wallow in boredom while we worked through necessary but dull parts of the story. The Great Hunt is a one sitting read with plenty of fantasy elements and political struggle to keep you interested between Pax and Aerity's romance scenes. We get to see things from secondary character’s POV which is incredibly helpful in gauging other people’s understandings of event s and adding some really fantastic side stories to the mix. Unfortunately, I feel this book doesn’t have the ability to garner wide appeal from the masses. The Great Hunt is primarily a true-blue young adult romance with fantasy elements. The entire story is about Pax and Aerity falling in love and the struggle to kill the beast. There isn’t a whole lot of deeper meaning in the scenes or in interactions beyond what is revealed, but it’s a wonderful novel if you’re in the mood for some emotional reading. I cannot wait for book two! So many things have happened and there are still plenty of mysteries and massive plot developments to wrap up. My biggest complaint is that all the characters began to pair off mid book which was rather annoying. I found that none of the female characters were strong enough to be on her own for long, looking for love in the hunters rather than being confident. I understand this is a period piece where women exist to marry off..but if its following a modern twist on marriage for love, we can have independent women as well. Otherwise, The Great Hunt was a beautiful and fun read that took very little effort to read. It was extremely enjoyable and light-hearted regardless of a vicious beast terrorizing the kingdom and some brutal death scenes. This is a great example of why I cultivated a love for young adult because it is simple, enjoyable and in some ways following a formula that is comfortable like old shoes. The book will appeal to readers of true young adult novels, slow burn romance lovers and fantasy enthusiasts. I wouldn’t suggest this to readers who are looking for more than a sweet, first love sort of romance because this theme permeates every aspect of this novel. I definitely recommend this as a must read for any Higgins fan, though.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins Book One of Eurona Duology Publisher: HarperTeen Publication Date: March 8, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): Kill the beast. Win the girl. A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage. Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment. Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear. Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people. What I Liked: This is my first Wendy Higgins book, so I can't compare this one to her Sweet series, or her self-published novel. I can say that I was pretty pleased with this book, despite its crushing ending. (Sorry! It gutted me though.) What is holding me together (and making me not rate this book down) is the fact that this is book one of two, and I'm almost 90% confident in Higgins not to steer me wrong in terms of certain... things. I'm taking a leap of faith, I suppose. Lochlanach is under attack, by a strange and dangerous beast that has been attacking at night, ripping soldiers and villagers to shreds. The king is desperate; with his oldest daughter's reluctant permission, he issues a proclamation that whichever hunter kills the beast will have his daughter's hand in marriage. Aerity always wanted to marry for love, but she knows the safety of her kingdom is more important. But she can't help falling for Paxton Seabolt, a mysterious, grumpy, brooding hunter who is bent on killing the beast to protect his family and Lochlanach (i.e. not for her). Paxton isn't all that he seems, but then, neither is the beast, or what is really going on in Lochlanach. I've never read "The Singing Bone", but I have a huge copy of the works of the Grimm Brothers so I will definitely be reading it when I get the chance! I love fairy tale retellings, and I'm sure Higgins did a beautiful job of twisting the tale into her own story. I thought the world-building was well-written! I love how this book starts - in a horrifying, eye-opening way. A true hook, in my opinion. I also really like how important family is, in this book! The king has three kids (Aerity, Vixie, Donny), and his two younger sisters have an army of kids as well. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars I was really excited by the premise of this and couldn't wait to get started. I loved Aerity. She might have been a little sheltered due to being a royal, but she's fiercely loyal to her family and her kingdom. I really enjoyed reading her strength and grace while she was put in such an odd situation. Paxton and his brother Tiern were interesting. They couldn't be more different from each other and the brotherly banter was fun. There are a lot of other great characters {especially Aerity's sister Vixie} as well. The plot is intriguing. Sometimes it got a little repetitive, but for the most part, I was captivated from the beginning. The ending is not completely cliffhangery, yet I was definitely a bit angry at how things ended up for now. I'm happy that this is just a duology because I don't know if I could wait for a third book to get a final ending. **Huge thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**