A New Favorite | The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 11/6/18
Pages: 432
Source: publishing in exchange for honest review (Thanks, Bloomsbury!)
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 Judges have been stealing Augurs’ land and taking it for their own, stealing their magic and making the sides unequal in nature’s balance. It is time for Augurs to fight back. Wren, an Augur who can foretell the future, goes undercover as an intern to find a hidden map that will lead her family to the magic they so need. Working for the Judges, Wren discovers more than maps and her loyalty starts to waver. The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson is an immersive novel with superb world building, fantastic writing, and a clever plot that won’t leave you for days afterwards.

  • Mary Watson brings major spooky vibes in her YA debut. The setting descriptions: a legendary cottage, dew laden forests, farmlands, and abandoned buildings all play a part in creating such a spooky atmosphere in The Wren Hunt. The intricacy of the imagery will sweep readers away into The Wren Hunt world. It is certainly perfect to read during the autumn months!
  • Watson whisks you away to Ireland right in time for Stephen's Day. To be honest, I had to do some extra research on celebrations, like the wren hunt, and other Celtic traditions. Watson builds the foundation of her world assuming most readers will be familiar with these customs. Beyond that, the magical notes of the brewing war between the Augurs and the Judges begins to take shape. The differences between the Judges and the Augurs—this long estrangement builds within the story, almost to the point where the gap between them seems almost tangible. The world building was superb, giving readers layers of magical history.
  • The writing was melodic. Watson poetically tells Wren’s story. Its fast pacing is magnificently done. 
  • The Wren Hunt has a large cast of characters. It was difficult to keep all of them straight especially two characters on the Augurs side—Simon and Scott. Their similar names always confused me. Yet, several of them stand out. Wren, of course, shines as the star. She’s quiet, thoughtful, and determined. She goes undercover for her family to return what they've lost, even when her family doesn’t even give her all the answers. She’s trusting, which is a bit frustrating at times but realistic. Wren is not the sort of character who knows it all—about her powers, the Judges, their history, and even her own history. So, in that way, we learn as she learns which is always the best way to develop a character as well as learn more about the world they live in. Tarc quickly becomes a favorite. He's curious and incredibly flirtatious. He is, by far, one of the most interesting characters with his mysterious background. Hopefully, in the upcoming companion novel, we shall hear more from him. 
  • The ending held one of most clever and masterful reveals I've read in such a long time. The foreshadowing coupled with the incredible world building makes for an absolute must read. 
The Wren Hunt calls for an immediate reread to fully comprehend how Watson has woven such a fantastical book. This is one of my favorite books of the year! 

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