— BLURB —
Let the hunt begin …
After witnessing the murder of his mother by a mermaid, Prince Eryx Bloodhurst of Atlas makes a deal to sedate his need for vengeance: they’ll catch the mermaid who did the deed, but he’ll pay for it with his crown.
Arelle, third princess of the Blu Sea, has never known the true cruelty of the forbidden lands firsthand, but she will soon. The halfling prince with murder in his eyes and the sea’s songs in his blood will make sure of that.
He should kill her.
Perhaps, keeping her might be worse.
Two kingdoms are falling. One king is losing it all and another threatens to ruin everything. The rules of the land and sea are changing. Secrets of the past are spilling.
And all because of a prince and his little mermaid—whether they live or die—nothing in the realm will ever be the same.
In The Hunted, Bethany-Kris opens a new world—the 9INE REALMS—for readers with a dark fairy tale retelling, and pulls inspiration from the cult classic favorite and the Hans Christian Andersen original to redefine what it means to be The Little Mermaid.
#thehuntedrelease #bethanykristhehunted #9INERealms #darkfairytaleretelling #bethanykrisnewrelease
— MY REVIEW —
Oooooh man. Lots of thoughts are swimming (no pun intended) around in my head after finishing this one. The first one being… what a way to end it. Although this was the start of Bethany-Kris’ new fantasy series.. for some silly reason I had it in my head that it would be a series of standalones. Doh!
This book, despite finishing on a nice enough ending–it is in no way over! To be honest, these days I don’t have the patience or motivation to read books that leave its readers hanging. It’s plain mean and downright depressing and it’s highly unlikely I continue with them… but The Hunted left me needing to know what’ll happen next! NEEDING! ASAP!
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back a second. The Hunted is a dark and most definitely an adult retelling of the fairy tale classic; The Little Mermaid.
No Disney Prince Eric here. Nuh-uh. Prince Eryx is gritty, unyielding and possessive! After witnessing his mother’s murder, at first I could understand and sympathize with his need to exact revenge.. but along the way he becomes swayed and second-guessing sets in in regards to his plans, and I ended up just as as confused about his actions as he was.
There were times I seriously wanted to slap him upside the head, shake him, anything to snap him out of it and to make up his damn mind. I had ongoing love/ hate feels for Eryx. There were times I found him to be protective, sweet and heartfelt, but then he does something that completely has me taken aback that I question whether or not I actually want Arelle with the guy.
Although I can’t say Arelle’s attitude is any better. Haha. My first impressions of her was that she was sensible, reliable and smart enough to know better. But that quickly evaporated after her encounter with Prince Eryx. She became rash, rebellious and well… careless.
The funny thing is despite some of their actions rubbing me the wrong way, I couldn’t help but enjoy the anticipation of seeing further developments between the two.
I know I’ll have to reread the book again at another time to really let everything sink in. For the time being though, my thoughts and feelings towards Eryx and Arelle individually are a mixed bag. I haven’t completely warmed up to their personalities yet. But together? Their chemistry is palpable. The sparks between them is what kept me reading 😀 And this may be weird and I’m sure I’m in the minority but I actually enjoyed the scenes where they just talked. Or the moments when they were apart and just thought of each other.. *mumbles* More than when they were hooking up.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good bump and grind scene in my romance books just as much as the next romance reader, but I also like my characters’ relationships to have substance deeper than lust; a deeper connection. Eryx and Arelle undoubtedly have the potential to have an epic love story.
This retelling has a Romeo & Juliet/ enemies to lovers vibe about it, which I loved. The complications of having a forbidden relationship is always a juicy romance trope–one that I can never get enough of!
If you enjoy slow burn romances or characters that dance around their feelings and not willing to admit it out loud in your fantasy/ romance books, then this is definitely a story worth checking out.
Besides the two main protagonists–you have disgustingly, evil villainous characters that’ll get your blood pressure up. Secondary characters that are just as shady–with ulterior motives. And an entirely different world that’ll have you wanting to be a part of… yet… not. Hehe.
This is the first book in the 9ine Realms series. I’m not sure how many books there’ll be altogether but as this one is an introduction of sorts.. I did find it wordy and somewhat detailed (I’m guessing to ensure the reader pictures Arelle’s world and how the people of the land and sea differentiate in culture and beliefs). It was a slow start for me. I didn’t get into it until about five or six chapters in. But I tell ya.. after that little hiccup, it was smooth sailing from there onwards. I couldn’t get enough of it! The story picked up pace relatively well once the mood was set and you get a gist of the characters.
This is my first Bethany-Kris book (although I already have a handful more on my kindle ready to be cracked open), so I didn’t have any expectations, comparisons or ideas on her writing style. But one thing I did realise whilst I was reading, is that I became invested… real quick! I was hooked and on the edge of my seat. Arelle and Eryx’s story is a complicated one. There’s so many people involved, there’s a war brewing and there’s definite plot twists–some of which I was not a total fan of, mind you 😛 If you could picture me now, I’d be the girl with her fist up in the air, a frown on her face, and saying “why oh why!?” to the book gods. Lol.
As much as I wanted this to be a standalone and to have a HEA, it was just too big of a world and storyline to be wrapped up in one book. Normally I would advise anyone who’s eager to read this to wait until the sequel is released to avoid the chance of a hangover buuuuuut… it’s too good to not read now! Not going to spoil it, but there is one pivotal moment in The Hunted that solidified my rating for it. It’s a moment that had me releasing a breath I didn’t even realise I was holding. It was an “oh my” moment and quite possibly my favourite scene in the book.
The Hunted is haunting, heartbreaking and brutal. You won’t believe half the things you’ll read but you won’t be able to look away from it either.
A magical start to a dark retelling. Bring on book two! Pleeeeeease!
Trigger Warning: Contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. It contains rape, abuse, and violence. Explicit sex scenes included. Readers 18+ only!
Thank you to Bethany-Kris and Enticing Journey Book Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜
Hope you enjoyed my review! Happy reading, and as always catch you in my next one! Xo