Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Edelweiss and Publisher for review
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.My thoughts:
This book pretty much captured my attention from page one. I loved Britta Flannery, our heroine, from the start and she is no delicate flower. She has been taught from a young age to track, hunt, shoot, and defend herself but her father dies and her childhood crush and tracking equal is accused. Their adventure to find out who really killed her father and why is the crux of this book.
And while I would say this one is on par with other YA fantasy I have met this year (I've been enjoying this genre), it did have some familiar tropes, particularly with the romance. There is a constant back and forth... did s/he mean that? does s/he like me? kind of immature relationship problems. In Britta's case she also constantly misinterprets actions of loved ones in the past whom she supposedly had total trust. I actually don't mind these tropes as much in YA than in adult (since theyARE young) but it does take away Britta's badassery a bit and she feels spoiled when she doesn't get her way or feels slighted. Really other than this, which I do expect somewhat in YA, I was captivated.
I have to say I wasn't thrilled with the end as it suggests another trope we know too well may rear it's ugly head, but it hasn't happened yet and it still may take me by surprise. Even that does not take away my enjoyment of Britta and her intelligence and independence that make fantasy so much fun. I highly recommend it to those that enjoy YA fantasy, magic, and a strong heroine. Cohen is also a good hero and rounds out the couple well. I give this one 4 stars.