12 March, 2019

[Review] The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series: N/A
Release Date: 6 November, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury/Brilliance Audio
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Romance/Self-Esteem & Reliance/Contemporary Fantasy
ISBN: 9781681198590
Edition: Audiobook (also available in Kindle, Hardback, and Paperback)
Rating: ★★★★
Review Written: 11 February, 2019
Summary: Every winter, Wren Silke is chased through the forest in a warped version of a childhood game. The boys who haunt her are judges, powerful and frightening pursuers, who know nothing of her true identity. If they knew she was an augur, their sworn enemy, the game would turn deadly. But Wren is on the hunt, too. Sent undercover as an intern to the Harkness Foundation - enemy headquarters - her family's survival rests on finding a secret meant to stay hidden. As the enmity between two ancient magics reaches breaking point, Wren is torn between old loyalties and new lies. And trapped in the most dangerous game of her life. Part thriller, part love story, this captivating debut novel will leave readers spellbound. 

See more by Mary Watson at her Website.
Following in the steps of Holly Black for contemporary fantasy, Mary Watson's The Wren Hunt brings a fresh perspective on Irish history and folklore wrapped in one. Wren Silke is an augur, what after a bit of research seems to be a version of the druids, one who's been caught up in a dangerous game since childhood. Boys in the village knows that she's different from them, and though they can't quite put their finger on what makes her different.

Now, with the tensions between the factions of judges and augurs reaching a boiling point, Wren must go undercover to help her family before it's too late. Except, it's hard to hide your fascination with things when your "gift" is a talent called Spinny Eye. Focusing on patterns gives Wren a look into the future, though she struggles to interpret what each of the visions mean. And the visions are hardly helpful. Struggling to keep her augur nature a secret, Wren finds herself growing more at odds with those she's known all of her life. Her grandfather is acting strangely, her next door neighbor is pushing harder for her to use her gift to help her friend, and her closest friends seem to be pushing her away.

Despite my love of the book, I will admit that I was a bit frustrated with Wren who seemed to be slow at catching onto details that should have been a bit more obvious. Had she done her research, Wren might have known what the ritual entailed, and she might have guessed exactly who was going to betray her worst of all. Clues dropped throughout the book made it hard to not guess once or twice as to what was going to happen, and what the ultimate sacrifice would have to be. The romance elements were nice, not as overpowering as many novels in the genre were, however it still felt a little disjointed at times with Wren's hesitation over various factors in a "will I or won't I" thought process.

Overall, Watson's story of love and betrayal interweaves the story of two girls and their respective places within their societies. Wren's story ends on what feels like a cliff-hanger though we have been promised a follow up companion novel at some point in the near future. We'll just have to see if the follow up companion answers any of the questions that readers might have been left with at the end of The Wren Hunt.

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