Born Hunted by Emily August
When Aiden, a witch, gets expelled from her magic school due to her forays into villainy, she teams up with her best friend Dae (a kumiho) her little brother Will (another witch), and Cameryn (a human), to stop a group of humans known as Hunters set on killing magical people.
Queer, fantasy, young adult
The thing about magic schools, and maybe schools in general, is there will always be a villain. Sometimes they wear capes and have glowing red eyes and they’re very obvious, sometimes they’re the quiet kid that has no friends who has plans to blow up the school with everyone inside. At Hallow, their villain was Aiden. The truly scary trait of Aiden was that she wasn’t made to be a threat at all.
Aiden is a witch, feared by her classmates, in love with her best friend who may also be her antagonist, and a horrible role model for her younger brother who just wants to make everyone happy, including his sister.
When the supernatural community is in danger she becomes the unexpected vigilante and sets off with her best friend and little brother to take out the hunters that threaten them, but she mainly does it to escape the boredom of school suspension.
This was a charming adventure. The story follows the group on their global escapades as they face werewolves, witches, Hunters, and Guards (magical law enforcement). Aiden tends toward violence and villainy, but her wholesome little brother and Dae seek to mediate.
The slow-burn romance between Aiden and Dae was excellently written. They had great chemistry and I loved their scenes together. Cameryn’s journey from hostage to friend was gradual and believable, and her relationship with Will was sweet. In fact, I loved the way all the relationships were developed as this misfit group becomes a family. They had some of the sweetest relationships I’ve read in a while.
The world building was too sparse in areas, and sometimes I was confused. There could have been more explanation in regards to how the world works. Often I felt like I was expected to understand different aspects without explanation. A fleshed out world would have made for better enjoyment, since what is shown of the world is very interesting and I wanted to know more.
Most of the story is great fun. It was lovely to sink into a fantasy land and to read about the group’s strange and creative adventures. At one point they visit a Medieval land trapped in a time loop. Stuff like this is what made the story so entertaining, and it was easy to get attached to all of the lovable main characters. I really felt like I knew these people and it was easy to root for them.
It ends on a cliffhanger for the sequel. I eagerly anticipate more books by the author, and I am interested to see how her writing abilities develop.