THE WREN HUNT - by Mary Watson

THE WREN HUNT - by Mary Watson
Published: 2018 - Bloomsbury USA Childrens 
Genres: Young adult / romance / thriller / mythology / fantasy
Pages: 432.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

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.

Wow. Wow. Wow. In all my life I have never read a book like this one. To say it's left an impression on me is an understatement. I just can't stop thinking about it.
Please, please read it.

The writing is exceptional. It's literal magic - raw talent running with dark imagination. Watson is an incredible writer, and I can't get enough of her stunning, tangible prose that bubbles and snakes with atmosphere, passion, intelligence, and pure skill. It's beautiful in the way twisty, elusive secrets are beautiful.

The story is so creepy. It is also extremely unique, and the atmosphere is deliciously dark. It's immersive and vivid, with the atmosphere a character itself. It's breathtaking.
The plot is clever and constantly compelling. The twists are chilling, the pacing perfect. It sucks you in and grips you in cold hands. I love how twisty the story is and how seamlessly those twists are revealed. It's absolutely genius.

But the world is confusing. The magic system and its terminology are everywhere, but I was honestly lost for most of it. It's just so unique and bizarre, and you're left guessing and imagining the answers for yourself because it's never directly explained. However, this aspect didn't actually both me all that much. Because I was loving the story, the writing, and the characters so much, I kinda didn't mind that the world was bizarre and bewildering. It was something for which I could just "suspend disbelief". It's evasive, but it works.

There would be consequences, I knew that. There were always consequences, usually teeny tiny consequences that you hardly noticed. But the small things added up over time, until eventually they formed one big thing that could crush you beneath its weight.

We were always told: when something repeats, it gains significance. This is how a pattern is formed. And it felt like something was forming around me. Like I was being woven into something and couldn't work my way out.

The characters are extraordinary. I love Wren's female friendships with Aisling and Sibeal, and her dynamics with Smith (her grandfather) and Maeve (who acts in her mother's place). I also adore the romance and how it's such a tantalising slow-burn; Tarc and Wren's relationship is magnificent, and the development is excellent. It's gorgeous.

The characters are all so fascinating and layered. They're elusive, three-dimensional, and unpredictable. Their arcs are fascinating, their agendas shocking. Wren's a wonderful heroine, but she's made by a strong secondary cast. They're all so incredible.

The Wren Hunt is a captivating debut that will suck you into a dark, dangerous world and leave you breathless. With fascinating characters, spellbinding writing, and an irresistibly twisty and unique plot, this book will haunt you in the best way.

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