Monday, January 6, 2020

The Wren Hunt - Mary Watson

Summary Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family's enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate. (Summary and pic from

My Review:  One thing I love about YA Fic is that it’s not afraid to be brave and just have a book that is both real and that also includes magic. There are adult books that do this, of course, but it seems like they are almost always ensconced in the “fantasy” or “sci-fi” realm and it’s really just a certain kind of book. It probably won’t reach someone who is not into that kind of thing, simply because they probably won’t even be looking in that section. YA Fic is not so definitive. Just like the youth are not so set in their ways regarding magic and what is real and what is not, the literature is also more free-flowing. I’m all about it. Now—this is not to say that there aren’t plenty of adults who aren’t into that kind of thing. Of course there are! However, as adults, they know that they’re “into that kind of thing.” If someone asks them if they believe in magic or witchcraft or ghosts, their answer is much more certain and definitive. And if it’s not, like, “I’m not sure. There’s so much evidence to point to there being ghosts. However, I just don’t know.” That is also definitive. You see what I’m saying? I guess what I really want to say is that I like the young adult ability to just dispense with the judgment already and just enjoy a book that includes the real world and magic. This is just such a book.

I loved the magic in this book. It felt old, it felt ingrained in the culture; it felt real. I really enjoyed that it was just part of the characters’ lives, like it was never questioned or confusing about whether or not it was real magic or not. It was just part of them and their family and their family rituals and lore. There’s something magical about that—practices and beliefs so deep that it just becomes part of who you are. I loved that the characters related to it on a fundamental level. Even if they thought that some of the rituals and magic weren’t working, or if they questioned it, it wasn’t that they questioned the existence of it; they merely questioned the efficacy. That alone gave the magic an ancient feeling and believability that was fun. I also enjoyed that this book took place in the real world as opposed to a paranormal world or something more fantastical. That made the magic feel more realistic and ingrained and interesting. It's almost like when not believing is not an option, what to believe and how to incorporate it becomes more fundamental and more interesting. I loved that these teens were faced with this alternate option to the world and to the existence of magic.

I enjoyed the characters in this book as well. This wasn’t my all-time favorite female protagonist, but I think that’s because she is not completely developed in this book yet. I’m giving her the next book or so to see what comes of her and her ambitions. I enjoyed what I saw so far, I just think there could have been more there. There were definitely some promising moves at the end of the book that I’m thinking will lead to some awesomeness upcoming. There were also some good villains, which is key. It’s hard to fight against evil when the evil just isn’t that…evil. There were definitely some legit foes that could cause some drama in the upcoming books. That being said, I'm hoping that the female protagonist can step it up or the evil is going to take it over and I'm not sure I'm all about a book like that. 

I liked the story of this book. I’m hoping there’s more to it in the books to come. There were definitely some holes and some weaknesses in the storyline, but I am letting it slide for now because I know there are more books coming. A good author doesn’t give away all the secrets in the beginning otherwise there’s nothing to look forward to! Now, if my questions aren’t answered and there are lots of holes in the books to come, I’ll start to wonder, but for now I’m definitely intrigued and looking forward to the next installment!

If you are a lover of YA Fic, especially the kind that deals with old magic and magical cultures, this book is for you.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is pretty clean with some minor language.

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