Death marked her from her very first breath. Being sired by a Madrid is supposed to be a blessing, but for Tempest, it's a curse that leaves her orphaned, penniless, and enslaved to a blood thirsty crown on the brink of war. Found too unruly to become a ward of the court, she's thrust into the care of the King's Hounds - the assassins and warriors responsible for protecting the kingdom. Driven by rage and an oath to avenge her mother's memory, Tempest throws herself into training. But becoming the first ever female assassin isn't enough. Now, she must obtain the heart of her kingdom's most feared enemy - the jester - a deadly shapeshifter hidden in a land twisted by myth and darkness. Revenge is never easy or cheap. Tempest is willing to sacrifice everything to see justice served. Even her own soul and freedom. Enter the world of the Twisted Kingdoms at your own risk where monsters wear pretty masks, good and evil are at war, and fairy tales don't exist. If you love fiery heroines, sexy villains, enemies-to-lovers romance, pulse-pounding action, mafia undertones, and dark fairy tales, you need to discover the new series readers are comparing to Holly Blacks's Cruel Prince and Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows.
The book begins with Tempest losing her mother and becoming an orphan. This is a pivotal scene that shapes the character and her actions throughout the rest of the book. After losing her mother, Tempest vows revenge on the shifter she believes responsible. Her best chance at getting that revenge is becoming a Hound. Tempest is a force to be reckoned with. She has strived for everything she’s achieved in her short life. Raised by the Hounds, a group of men who work for the crown, Tempest has learned to be a highly skilled assassin and spy. Though she doesn’t see them as that. She sees the Hounds as defenders of the innocent, upholding justice, and maintaining peace throughout the kingdom. Given an impossible first mission, Tempest’s judgment is clouded by her need for revenge and her desperation to succeed.
Enter the Fox. Pyre is an interesting character. Meeting and subsequently capturing Tempest, Pyre is everything she has been taught to hate: a shifter and a rebel. But the Fox has ulterior motives. He’s there to show Tempest that what she’s been taught about the world is biased. He’s introducing her to the shifter communities she’s there to hunt and turning her world upside down. I really like Pyre. I wasn’t sure what to make of him at first. However, despite being a trickster, he is good to his core. At least, that’s my opinion of him. Every action he takes is for his people. How can you not love him for that?
Now to the hunt. Tempest is assigned to find the Jester, the shifter rebellion leader, and bring his heart back to the king while she investigates the mysterious deaths happening in the villages near the mountains, the boundary to the shifter kingdom. It’s an impossible mission, she knows it, the Hounds she calls uncles know it, and so does the king. Set up to fail, Tempest is determined to do anything but. I have to commend her for this. If I was given an impossible mission, I’d either accept defeat or run away. Tempest does neither. She sticks to her own values and beliefs and trudges ahead. It’s the only way to get her revenge and keep herself out of the king’s hands. The world building here is phenomenal. I love how the story applies to real world problems today. The racism and socioeconomic status of the characters reflect what is happening in today’s world, and Frost Kay handles it beautifully through Tempest’s experiences.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Hunt. While the story builds slowly and there is some repetition as Tempest learns about the shifters and their plight, I couldn’t sit it down. It is a fast-paced read with an edge of suspense as Tempest is injured in enemy territory. If you enjoy fantasy with a dash of romance and strong heroines, I highly recommend it.
The story: Tempest is our fierce heroine who wants nothing more than to become the first female house - one of the King’s personal soldiers. She’s been raised by the hounds and considers them uncles. But once she’s in, the king sets her off on a quest she might not be ready for.
He wants her to kill.
What I loved: The relationship Tempest has with the hounds is adorable and endearing. They truly care about each other. For the most part, Tempest is a wonderful character. The book is written with vivid imagery that keeps hold of you until the end. And such an end!!
What was just okay: The pacing feels a little slow. It kept me from reading it in one sitting. But if that’s all I had issue with, then it’s a pretty darn good book.
Final Verdict: A beautifully written tale weaving so many moving parts together effortlessly. You can’t go wrong with this one.