Ever the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms #1)
By Erin Summerill
Narrated by Helen Johns
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Duration: 11.5 hrs
Genre: YA Fantasy
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 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 magicto 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 force to be reckoned with.
Ever the Hunted was reminiscent of several YA fantasies with elements of forbidden magic and feuding kingdoms. But yet it still commands attention with a unique deliverance of plot and solid cast of characters.
Following 17 yr old Britta after the death of her father, we learn her once dearest friend and father’s apprentice Cohen has been charged with his murder. With insurmountable evidence offered to support this claim, she finds herself agreeing to track down the only person she has left in her life. Unbeknownst to her, what will ensue is a journey that will reveal many larger secrets and uncover powers she never knew she held. Will she find the truth behind her father’s death? Will she embrace her newfound abilities?
Character development is a steady process within Ever the Hunted. Britta is young and strong but lacking in certain securities as she has lost her father and soon her land. Alone and struggling, there is an air of hopelessness surrounding her that slowly evolves into a will and desire to overcome and seek truth. With this growth, our main protagonist cleverly blossoms into an admirable force that feels viable. Summerill’s consistent approach to character growth lends a welcomed amount of relatability and credibility to the somewhat limited ensemble. Ever the Hunted is unique alone in just how limited the cast is. Aside from the main protagonist Britta, we are offered only a small handful of supporting characters, of which merely 3 make a regular appearance. But there is something to be had in the simplicity, as it creates a more personal and close connection between the reader and the stars of the story.
The plot is basic and straight forward at first glance. Gathered around the mystery of her father’s death are well-known aspects of the fantasy genre; hidden magic and warring kingdoms. But that is wherein Ever the Hunted’s deception lies. As the story unfolds, each revelation leads the reader deeper into a discovery of family secrets that continually grow and surprise, turning the ordinary into something more extraordinary. Discussing the story in further depth would be detrimental to the reader’s experience, so it would be best to sum this tale up as one that relies heavily on an unhurried but not unappreciated exposure to hidden truths. The reader is allowed to absorb the events taking place at a leisurely pace that is inviting and comfortable.
Summerill’s writing is atmospheric and tempting. Her picturesque approach encourages exploration while avoiding an over abundance of flowery details and fluff. Her direct approach to character thoughts and interactions is honest and creates an effortless read that feels complete and yet begs for more.
Narration for this audiobook greatly contributes to its success. Helen Johns supplies a smooth tone to the story that sets the atmosphere and pacing with ease. I felt she lent an appropriate voice to Britta and carried the story in a clear and concise manner that was easy to appreciate (especially as someone who struggles with hearing).
Long story short, I found a lot of beauty within this small title even though it might be labeled cliché or too familiar. I quickly developed a fondness for the author’s ability to weave a tale that relied on characters and setting while refusing to over-complicate matters. The simplistic magic system and cleaner story telling will make this ideal for younger YA readers and anyone seeking an easy yet rewarding read. This would be an ideal choice for fans of The Queen of Renthia series by Sarah Beth Durst. I will be enthusiastically adding the sequel to my mountainous pile.
*I would like to thank audiobookjukebox.com and Dreamscape Media for this copy. The review above is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.
Learn more about the author at erinsummerill.com.