Title: Ever the Hunted
Series: Clash of Kingdoms
Author: Erin Summerill
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: December 27th, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone, 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, the alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice, the only friend she’s ever known, and the boy she once loved who broke her heart. Thrust into a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and lies Britta uncovers what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
In terms of the world, it seems very typical kingdom fantasy. Britta is in the kingdom of Malam. Essentially, a couple decades earlier the kingdom declared a “purge” of Channelers–those with magical abilities. This has put them at odds with their neighboring kingdom Shaerdan, which accepts Channelers but also cuts Malam off from the sea. Basically things are tense and there’s about to be a war. Malam is ruled by a young king, he’s about only three years older than Britta. He isn’t very present in this book, but in the moments we do see him he’s very non-involved in the running of his kingdom. Enter the Lord who is kind of making all the executive decisions and a no nonsense commander.
I forgive this typical-ness of Summerill’s world because it’s a world I enjoy reading, but also because of the physical descriptions she gives us. A lot of time is spent tracking and hunting through the woods and mountains, and our protagonist is a practiced observer. This led to a lot of really rich and beautiful descriptions and detail. I could really see everything as I was reading.
The writing quality overall in this book was very good. I think the pacing especially worked, everything moved along, nothing really dragged. It was a quick read for me.
Additionally, I liked the magic in the world. Those who have magic are known as Channelers, from my understanding they usually have power over different elements. I say usually because there is a sect of Channelers called Spiriters who have the ability to control I believe energy and one’s spirit.
In terms of characters, like the setting nothing super original but still they’re the type of characters I enjoy reading so it didn’t really bother me.
Britta reminds me a lot of Katniss. I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of protagonists lately that are “strong female characters” who successfully fight and go to war even though they really have no background or training in it. They just have the skill because they’re a “strong female character.” In Ever the Hunted, Britta has been taught since a young age by her bounty hunter father how to track, shoot a bow, fight. Having that background and having flashbacks of her training or her father giving advice really give her credibility and believability.
Cohen was a fun and smart character. He’s really tender in his interactions with Britta, his feelings shining through even though he is often described as having a poker face. He’s really protective and loyal, which I admire but also sometimes I’m like get out of Britta’s way she can handle herself.
Supporting cast wise, Captain Omar and Tomas were pretty typical figures. I did really enjoy Leif though. I was worried Summerill would try to create a love triangle there, but I’m glad she didn’t.
Honestly, you know how this book is going to pan out. This is the first book in a series, it has to keep going obviously. That being said, the climax and conflict in this book set up a really good kind-of cliffhanger for the sequel that I’m personally looking forward seeing it pan out.