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Review: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill (Clash of Kingdoms #1)

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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill // VBC ReviewEver the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms #1)
Erin Summerill
Published: Dec. 27, 2016 (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

After the murder of her father, Britta Flannery is trying her best to survive on her own. Which is easier said than done. Britta is the child of a union between a Malam man and a Shaerdan woman. Things between the two kingdoms have been tense for years ever since a Shaerdan was accused of using black magic to kill the recent King of Malam. Despite Britta’s mother and father’s union being legal, Britta is still looked upon as an outcast. Coupled with talk of war on the horizon and her father’s absence, Britta has a hard road ahead of her.

But when she’s given the opportunity to help avenge her father’s death, plus keep her homestead running, she takes it. That is, until it comes out that the person accused of Britta’s father’s death is none other than his apprentice Cohen, who also happens to be Britta’s closest and only friend. He’s also the only boy to have broken her heart when he walked away from her a year ago. She can’t believe Cohen would kill her father, but as she tries to prove his innocence, she’ll end up learning far more about herself in the process.

Ever the Hunted doesn’t really cover uncharted territory. I think if you’ve read any number of YA fantasy books, you can probably predict much of what comes about in this story. The thing is: I just plain, thoroughly enjoyed this story. I think sometimes there’s comfort in the predictable, in something that doesn’t challenge us too much, or twist our way of thinking too much in another direction. And it’s this fact that, I believe, allowed me to just read Ever the Hunted with ease and immerse myself fully within the story. I wasn’t reading trying to figure out ulterior motives, or wait for a betrayal to come. I tried. Honestly, I tried to read more into characters’ motivations, tried to interpret the dialogue thinking maybe this person was suddenly going to end up being evil. As soon as I stopped that nonsense, I started to enjoy the book so much more.

I liked the relationship between Britta and Cohen. Yes, there’s a complication thrown in early on, but I knew immediately there was more to the story than meets the eye. Erin Summerill did a great job in establishing the connection between Britta and Cohen through Britta’s flashback memories. Slightly confusing time-wise at first, the memories really mesh together well enough at a certain turning point in the story that you don’t have to question, or worry about, their feeling toward one another.

I would have liked this same ease of understanding in regards to the history between Malam and Shaerdan. While it was a bit foggy, the basic premise was easy to understand: Two warring kingdoms, when you put it like that, easy. I would have liked a bit more upfront clarity in the beginning on what happened to make things go sour. Instead we’re given little crumbs here and there that do eventually form into a cohesive picture, but that takes a little too long to come to fruition.

The magic of the story is a particular aspect I look forward to learning more about in the next book. I think now that Britta’s story has been established, it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.

Sexual content: kissing

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