Monday, October 24, 2016

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

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.

Rating: 1/5 stars

At least the odor works to mask Cohen inebriating scent. The man’s been travelling for days. Weeks. How can he smell so good?


This was truly a disappointment. Ever The Hunted was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016, to say I didn’t like it would be the least. However, before I begin I just want to clarify something. I know that there were a lot of people who, like me, had high hopes for this book so please, don’t let my rating discourage you from reading it!
This is simply my opinion, and I’ll try to explain below the reasons for said rating (without giving much of the plot away) but again, just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean you guys won’t!

Now… buckle the fuck up, kids. Cause this is a rant, and it’s a messy one.

One of my biggest problems with Ever the Hunted was its lack of originality. This book is absolutely nothing we haven’t read before in a thousand other YA novels. For fuck’s sake, I could already predict how the story would turn out after twenty pages! It’s trope-y as fuck, but since I can’t go into a lot of detail because the book hasn’t been published yet, here’s a preview of the things that led me to this rating:

-Predictable plot.

-Dumb-as-bricks main character (seriously, her stupidity was my number 1 problem with the story)


-The romantic angst. Oh God! the angst…!

-The unnecessary and insensitive sexual violence toward women (which is, unfortunately, a staple in YA).

-The special-snowflakeness was SO fucking strong in this one.

-I’m serious, and it didn’t help that Britta was a complete idiot.
-Illogical, nonsensical and shady world-building.

-Imagine every trope you can think of, all handled poorly.

Britta was probably my biggest problem because the whole story is told from her point of view, so it’s basically impossible to ignore how bloody stupid the girl was. She whined all the time and that wonderful revenge plot went to shit the second she started smelling Cohen’s super sexy and manly smell.


You see, Britta is just like your average Young Adult fantasy protagonist. She’s white. She’s pretty (but doesn’t know it!!!!). She’s hated by absolutely EVERYONE in her village for dumb reasons regarding the dumb world-building, except the best friend she’s in love with (but who broke her heart!!!!). She has a disturbingly weird obsession with Cohen’s smell (going as far as trying to “drink in gulps of his smell”). She has the uncanny ability to identify when people are telling the truth or lying as well as heal very fast, yet she has never considered the fact that she might have magic (*bangs head against wall until brains spill out*).

If I’m being fair, the story started out pretty decent, except the part of everyone in her village hating her. 
I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it again, the “everybody-hates-me” trope is one I’ll never understand. I think right now we all, one way or another, what it is like for a group of people to be feared/hated. But whether you are part of the group or the one fearing/hating, we can all agree that it’s not black and white; nobody will ever be hated by EVERYBODY or loved by EVERYBODY. We are all different people, and so we react differently.

Creating a character that it’s hated and scorned by everyone in her village is nothing but a cheap way to make readers feel sympathy for Britta. Problem is, when this happens I never go “oh, poor you, little main character!!!!” especially when she spends the entire fucking book moaning about it and craving the mystical connection of her lost mother and family…


That should have been my first clue that I wasn’t going to enjoy this book, but I loved the premise so I decided to carry through.

Britta is on the last moments of her grieving period, her father was murdered months ago and because of the laws of the land, she’s considered an illegitimate daughter, therefore unable to remain in her father’s cottage or retain any of his possessions since they’ll go back to the King.

Starving and desperate, she kills an animal to feed herself and is found by the royal guards. Since hunting is a crime punishable with death (can someone explain why?), she’s offered a choice; hunt down her best friend (and crush) Cohen who’s been charged for her father’s murder, or face execution.

With Britta’s unique ability to tell whether someone is lying or not (which is useless when the girl is a complete moron), she realizes that the charges are true, and so she goes to seek out vengeance…

Until she comes across Cohen’s hard planes and even harder muscles, and vengeance goes out the fucking window!

Definitely the entire plot went to hell the minute Cohen came into the picture. The romance overtook the entire story, and it didn’t help that it was boring, overly dramatic and totally ridiculous.

Britta was the sort of character that everybody praised for being brave, selfless, smart and cunning when she was in fact everything but. This girl was DUMB, no other way around it. She was supposed to be an amazing tracker, yet her skills either came out of nowhere such as looking at a bush and instantly knowing some dude had walked there instead of LITERALLY any other, or not noticing obvious track marks.

Bernard! You found my tracks,” he says.
“You left tracks?” I’m stunned I didn’t notice.

One night she was in the woods and sees someone lurking in the dark. Believing it might be someone dangerous, instead of calling the three fucking guards sleeping right next to her, Britta decides she’ll just run into the woods and chase the dude with nothing but a knife while she’s weak and hurt. Once the dude almost kills her Britta thinks:

I lack strength and a bow. I shouldn’t have followed him. Not alone. How foolish of me.


Really! Who the fuck runs into the dark woods after a fucking killer? Has Britta even seen a horror movie in her life???


This continues on with Britta trusting people she clearlyshouldn’t trust. Doing things she was specifically told not to do, and basically fuck up the entire plan by trying to be “selfless” (read, stupid and stubborn).

I just couldn’t understand how someone could be so dumb and still be alive. Most of the time these lapses of judgement were used as a way to create drama and try to bring in some shock value by assuming we can be as dumb as Britta (if she’s surprised, we’ll be too!!! Not), or just to add more fuel to drag the annoying romance.

Barely three pages could go by without Britta reminding us of how Cohen only saw her as a friend, even though it was fucking clear that he didn’t. This going back and forth between the characters was meant to build-up the romance; will Britta realize that Cohen loves her? Will he stop acting like a dick??

“I am a fool because all I can think about is touching his jaw. Is it as soft as it looks?”

I honestly couldn’t give less of a fuck.

Britta not realizing Cohen’s obvious feelings only made her seem stupid, especially since her unhealthy obsession with Cohen (and his smells, da fuq was up with that??) was more pressing than finding out who kill her father or even, ya know, STAYING FUCKING ALIVE.

-The world building made no sense:

We had two Kingdoms who were at war because one, all of a sudden, decided that Channellers (people with magic) were evil and had to be killed, and the other one didn’t (even though they had been pretty close up until a few years ago, people just decided to hate each other, apparently).

What I never understood was the reasoning behind the extermination, the best explanation we get is:

Tension between Malam and Shaerdan has brewed for years. Papa told me of a time before King Aodren’s rule when a three year drought decimated Malam’s crops. People blamed Shaerdan’s Channelers, who used to sell healing ointments all over Malam.

If somebody can explain me how healing ointments relate to a fucking draught, I’d really appreciate it.

In the end nothing really explained the war or anything of the world.

-The unnecessary sexual violence towards women:

Let’s face it, we have all read it. How many times have we come across that sick bastard who is there just to threaten the heroine with rape, all so the gallant hero can save her? In here we have it with Tomas, a guard tasked with protecting Britta during her journey, even though it’s fucking clear that dude should be behind bars and far away from a girl as possible.

I’m serious, Britta is promised not to be harmed while she hunts for her father’s killer, and when Tomas makes a comment such as this:

”Maybe the scrant will clean well enough for tasting.” Off to my right side, Tomas leers.

Nobody gives a fuck!

As with most of these guys, I never saw his purpose other than just being there to behave like a dick and constantly put us on edge with the “will he rape her/won’t he?” which was not only unnecessary an disturbing as fuck, but also totally disconnected from the entire story?? I guess he was just meant to be another obstacle in our heroine’s path, but he added literally NOTHING to the story.

The ending was, as I said, laughably predictable and it didn’t help endear me to the book since it was related to the romantic drama.

In the end, I was just really disappointed with Ever the Hunted. Hopefully others will find it better! I’ll write a more spoilery review once the book is published.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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