Monday, March 24, 2014

The Huntsman's Prey (Kingdom #7)

About the book:
Rumors abound in Wonderland, of a dark princess named Chrysalis who bears the Moon's curse. Her beauty is beyond compare, and her madness… even greater than her father’s, The Hatter. Death follows wherever she roams, and Danika—fairy godmother of all villains—knows this task is too great for her to handle on her own. She has no choice but to seek out the one they call Huntsman, his mission is simple: Find the creature, and destroy it.

But nothing is ever so simple in Kingdom. The moment the hunter Aeric steps foot in the mad, twisted realm he's enveloped in a reality that is neither wholly true nor fantasy. The key, the Cheshire explains, to ending the madness is for one to become mad themselves. The Huntsman has one chance to figure out the riddle before the beauty destroys them all…

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love stories based on fairy tales, and this one is set in Wonderland. Readers see Alice and the Mad Hatter, but the story is based around their daughter, Chrysalis. A curse was placed on her and now he has escaped. The huntsman, Aeric, is tasked with catching her. Sounds easy, right. Not in Wonderland.

In Wonderland, nothing is as it seems. The setting was my favorite part of the book. Readers can't easily guess what will happen. Using logic doesn't help readers, or the huntsman, in this book. Since this is an upside down type of world, Marie Hall introduces Lissa to help lead the way through Wonderland. Lissa is naïve, knowledgeable, and free spirited.

I loved the big reveal in the book of who all Chrysalis is. I really can't say more than that without giving a spoiler away, but let's just say that there is more to that girl than meets the eye--after all, this is Wonderland.

I also loved how Marie Hall brought Rumplestiltskin into the novel. I love reading about him because it is so easy to hate this character. He's nothing but a trickster, yet everyone seems to need him for something, even our characters. I would have loved to see what the huntsman had to do to repay him. Must have been interesting since it lasted months.

This is definitely an adult oriented novel. It has some romance in it that isn't safe for younger readers. However, it isn't based around the romance. It has a strong, and somewhat topsy turvey, storyline that has a touch of romance in it.

This book is part of a series, but can easily be read as a stand alone novel. This is the Huntsman's story. Even if you haven't read any of the other novels in the series, still pick this up
About author Marie Hall:
Marie loves books that make you think, or feel something. Preferably both. And while she’s a total girly girl and loves glitter and rainbows, she’s just as happy when she’s writing about the dark underbelly of society. Well, if things like zombies, and vampires, and werewolves, and mermaids existed. (Although she has it on good authority that mermaids do in fact exist, because the internet told her so.) She’s married to the love of her life, a sexy beast of a caveman who likes to refer to himself as Big Hunk. She has two awesome kids, lives in Hawaii, loves cooking and occasionally has been known to crochet.

Find Marie:   Blog    Facebook    Twitter

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The rustling of leaves sounded like the rattling of dry bones. Trees—their trunks twisted and distorted from the magic imbued within the very soil of Wonderland—reached long, gnarly branches out toward Danika.

The stars shone a brilliant silver, winking from within the navy blue sky. A sickle shaped smile of sharp teeth gleamed from inside shadow and somewhere a voice howled. The haunting sound raised goose bumps on her arms and the fine hairs on the back of her neck.

She flew within the shelter of a hollow, staring at the ground below littered with the twisted, distorted bodies of sightless carcasses. Hundreds of dead animals, with limbs torn off and throats ripped open. A brutal slaughter that brought tears to her eyes.

It’d been eighteen years since she’d married off the last of her Bad Five, eighteen years of peace and quiet, eighteen years of being lulled into a false sense that all was well within her world.

But all was not well. She’d suspected this time was coming, had seen a glimpse of the future first time she’d laid eyes on the child. Danika had tried to deny it, tried to wish it away, to hope that desire could stop reality.

Her heart bled to hear the sounds of the lonely, constant cries shuddering through the woods. The teeth returned, floating right in front of her face.

“Cheshire?” Dragonfly wings buzzed softly behind her back.

A face materialized around the teeth, a ghostly distortion of fur and stripes. Then a body followed suit, until finally, a fluffy tabby stared back at her with eyes the color of an inkwell.

“Godmother?” His lazy drawl echoed with laughter. “What are you doing in my woods?” She scoffed. “Your woods. You wish you fat alley cat. These woods belong to the Hatter.” Cheshire did a strange rolling shoulder lift while he licked his paw. Danika shook her head, much as she loved Hatter, his woods were one she rarely visited and dreaded staying inside of for too long. The sensuous curl of white fog wrapped itself around the cat’s body, as if he were readying to vanish into the ether once again.

She may not like the cat, but she preferred his company to being alone in this warped portion of Kingdom.

“Have you seen the creature?” she asked quietly, heart thumping loudly as she strained to hear every creak, groan, and whistle surrounding them.

“Mmmm. I have,” he purred, long and loud and low, the rumbling vibrations of it causing his fur to stir and fluff. “Beautiful madness.”

“Where is it?” She hugged her arms to her chest, the howls had stopped, which meant it could now be anywhere. She wanted to leave, wanted to leave now.

“It? You mean she. Do you not?”

She closed her eyes. To think of it as anything other than an it would make this task impossible. Oh goddess, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to Alice and Hatter, they’d gone through so much, this shouldn’t have happened. How she wished she had Miriam’s wise guidance once again, her truest and best friend would have known what to do, how to fix this.

“I meant exactly what I said. Where did you see it last?” She lifted her chin, voice stern, refusing to allow an ounce of sympathy to leak into her words.

His smile stretched from ear to ear, full of nothing but sharp, little teeth that made him look frighteningly macabre. An impossibly long tongue licked at the fur around his eyes. “Silver girds her loins, fire ripples at her feet.”