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, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen Mackay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.
TRB Review – 5/5
This was one of the best debut YA novels that I’ve picked up in a very long time! Ever the Hunted is a fantastically constructed coming of age story spun with a little bit of romance and a lot of adventure – just how I like it!
Don’t worry, you won’t find any spoilers here. My first and only complaint about this book, which I am getting out of the way now so that I can discuss all of the amazing things about it, was the overuse of descriptiveness in some scenes. There were certain points where scenes just seemed unnecessary, or too in depth. I never thought I’d find myself saying that someone wrote too descriptively, but this is the exception. If you can see past this minor flaw, the book is an absolute wonderful work of art!
“Lightning cracks across the sky again, and in the burst of colorless light I notice how close we’re sitting. I lower my gaze from his, but it catches on his lips. Then noticing the slow movement his throat makes as he swallows, my focus eventually drops to my lap and the space between us.” Ever the Hunted, pg. 223
There is a seemingly tense romantic connection between the two main characters, Britta and Cohen. You learn early on about Britta’s feelings, but Summerill keeps the tension throughout the story very taut and interesting by not eluding to Cohen’s thoughts on the matter. There’s obviously conflict in emotion, and a clear sense of physical lust. This theme throughout is very strong, so if you are not a romantic this may not be for you. If nothing else it’s worth reading for the surprising twist at the end (did I say that?).
“Cohen’s eyes are flat and angry in a way I’ve never witnessed. Leif grunts when Cohen’s sword slices a clean line through the arm of his shirt. Blood darkens the bold blue material of Leif’s Shaerdanian commoner clothing, turning my guts inside out. Bludger.” Ever the Hunted, pg. 104
While the romance is strong, the character development is stronger. There’s quite a bit of mystery surrounding Cohen, as well as Britta’s past and her abilities, but her first person narration really allows you a peculiar look at the people and places around her. You learn quite a bit about Cohen just from his mannerisms, as well as what others are thinking by their facial expressions.The world that she’s created is nothing too fancy, but there’s very curious magic wound in and it’s vivid enough that you can imagine the varying lands and picture the people and shifting scenery.
I finished this book in less than 3 days, which is a record for me considering work and school and life all happening at the same time. I’m fairly certain the last time that I devoured a book so quickly was when I read the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini years ago, and since then I’ve been sadly disappointed – until now! This book helped pull me out of an awful reading slump and gave me renewed hope for emerging authors! Summerill did such a fantastic job building a fantasy world plagued with war, politics, romance and adventure. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book in this series!
I received a complimentary ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author:
After completing a B.A. in English, I had aspirations to knock out the next great American novel. Mom always taught me to dream big. Well writing proved tougher than I first thought. Tougher than chewing on a two-year-old gummi-worm that’s been hiding under a car seat. Plans changed. I didn’t write the next great American novel. No, I grabbed a Nikon and became a professional wedding photographer. During the day I posed brides and in the evenings I put scenes into action. Word by word. Manuscript by manuscript. I kept on writing.
The scenic detour of photography took me across the United States and even over to Australia and New Zealand, where I picked up world-building inspiration. After seven years, eight failed manuscripts, and a life-altering kidney donation experience, I finally had the vision to draft my debut young adult fantasy, EVER THE HUNTED.
When I’m not writing or shooting, I’m chasing my 4 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 4 chickens around the state of Utah. This is probably why I’m seriously addicted to Coke Zero and Hot Tamales.