The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

A contemporary fantasy wrought with tension, magic, and mystery, The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson is a captivating book sure to enchant readers, just as I was.

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.

I’ve seen trade reviews and blurbs for this book promoting it as a great choice for fans of Holly Black or Maggie Stiefvater, and I have to say these are 100% accurate assessments.

From the beginning, the book is laced with a sense of danger and foreboding, and the magic — inspired by Irish folklore — is tantalizing. There’s a sense of atmosphere that Watson has captured at every turn within these pages, making this the kind of book you can read to truly escape from reality. It’s ethereal and otherworldly, even while its set in modern times. I felt transported.

As much as the setting, mood, and magic set the tone for this book, a lot of its success also lies with the strength of its characters. They are richly imagined and fleshed out characters, with flaws and feelings and you’re never 100% sure who to trust. Enemies suddenly seem good, and friends seem suspect. As Wren faces these questions within the plot of the book, it makes for a page-turning quality that sucks readers in.

I was wholly captivated by this book from start to finish. Series-weary readers will relish the knowledge that this is a standalone book, but fans will be glad to know that a companion novel is also expected next year.

The perfect book to curl up with on these cold, shorter days, The Wren Hunt in stores now.

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