The Wren Hunt ★★★☆☆
Genre(s) | Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Goodreads Rating | 3.92
Humpo Show Rating | 3.25
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.
The first half was a bit of a slog, and at times I really struggled to make my way through chapters and chapters of laborious explanations of Augur rituals and the history of the feud between Augurs and the Judges. The initial deluge of information about the magic concerned with the Augurs and the Judges was a bit overwhelming, and the plethora of terms, abilities and characters was hard to keep track of and to understand how much of the information was meaningful to the story at this stage.
There are similarities of the Red Queen series that litter The Wren Hunt, going from Wren’s poorish upbringing and suddenly finding herself in an expensive home of her people’s sworn enemy, the forbidden romance trope, and the mystery surrounding her character as to be something vastly important. All of these aspects feature in both the Red Queen and The Wren Hunt– which does not mean to say that these are detrimental to the story, but it just meant that I had a incline of where the story was heading having read a similarly structured story.
Watson has managed to create some interesting characters; Wren, an Augur who is placed at the heart of the Judges Foundation, is our main protagonist and she experiences so many emotions that a spy feels during the extensive periods of time that comes with the job. She also has a Romeo and Juliet kind of romance with Tarc, a strapping Judge, and their scenes together come across as believable and although it does happen fast, it doesn’t come across as insta-love that is bane of many YA novels. But by far the most interesting character was Cassa, the leader of the Judges in the Irish town where the action takes place, for the first two thirds of the story, she comes across as a mythic and just out of reach figure. We only read snippets of her every so often, but what we do read, enhances her reputation and her intriguing presence that she holds in the Foundation.
The Wren Hunt is an interesting YA Fantasy, and the fact that it takes place in Ireland in the modern day makes a refreshing change to the usual medieval era in which most fantasies tend to be set. The characters are developed enough that the story in which they are involved with means something to the reader, and I am sure there will be readers either agonising over Wren’s decisions, or agreeing with her. It is well set for a sequel too!