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The Wren Hunt

Written by Mary Watson

Debuts of the Month Featured Books for Young Adults General Fiction Recommended Children's eBooks

LoveReading View on The Wren Hunt

February 2018 Debut of the Month |  In a Nutshell: Electrifying folkloric thriller

Blending folkloric fantasy with contemporary romance, this immersive multi-layered novel heralds the arrival of a unique new voice in young adult fiction.  

Each Christmas, Wren is hunted in a twisted, tormenting re-enactment of an old game. But the village bullies don’t realise that Wren is part of the Augur family, formerly powerful kinfolk whose magical influence was all but obliterated by the Judges. When Wren is captured in the hunt and a boy claims a lock of her hair, she must become a spy in the house of the most powerful Judge of all.  

Straddling ancient Celtic mythology and the 21st century, the exhilarating storyline teems with tension as Wren lies, steals and searches her heart and soul while summoning up magic to save her family. The language is lyrical, the concept unique and, while comparisons are tricky to make, I’d recommend this highly to fans of Frances Hardinge’s thought-provoking fantasy. 

Joanne Owen

The Wren Hunt Synopsis

Every year on St Stephen's Day, Wren Silke is chased through the forest in a warped version of a childhood game. Her pursuers are judges - a group of powerful and frightening boys who know nothing of her true identity. If they knew she was an augur - their sworn enemy - the game would be up. This year, the tension between judges and augurs is at breaking point. Wren's survival, and that of her family, depends on her becoming a spy in the midst of these boys she fears most and using her talent, her magic, to steal from them the only thing that can restore her family's former power for good. But Wren's talent comes with a price. The more she uses it, the more she loses her grip on reality and soon she's questioning everything she's ever known about her family, about augurs and judges, and about the dangerous tattooed stranger who most definitely is not on her side ...

Part thriller, part love story, this captivating debut novel about a girl caught in a battle between two ancient magics will appeal to readers of Frances Hardinge and Alice Broadway

The Wren Hunt Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Dani, age 26 - 'The Wren Hunt will ensnare you in its thorns, making you feel both incredibly uncomfortable and utterly be-spelled, until you're spat out at the end a mess but enamoured.'
  • Emma Baird, age 15 - 'One of the most intriguing aspects of the book for me was seeing relationships forming within this rivalry and in the tough situations which both parties face.'
  • Humaira Kauser, age 19 - 'The Wren Hunt is such a captivating book; I couldn't put it down until the last word was read.'
  • Grace Spear, age 15 - 'an extremely mysterious book which when I put it down always left me wanting more...I could relate to all the characters on some level and would defiantly recommend this book!'
  • Aimee Sweet, age 16 - 'Enigmatic and nothing quite like I have read before, The Wren Hunt is full of action from the very beginning.'
  • Faghra Saleem - 'Beautiful, compelling and highly addictive. A book destined to become a bestseller.'
  • Olivia Tierney, age 19 - 'Rich in mythology and character depth, The Wren Hunt is a fantastic read with a daring plot and surprising revelations throughout. Mary Watson keeps you on the edge of your seat, hungry for more.' 
  • Katie-Leigh - Benfield School - 'I enjoyed this book because the characters in it are original and so is the book itself.'

The Wren Hunt Press Reviews

The most superb collection of character and fantasy and love and landscape I have read since Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights    Hilary McKay

A modern day fairy tale ... Throwing romance, magical visions and gruesome rituals into the pot, this is a thrilling and otherworldly depiction of Irish culture    Sunday Times Magazine 

Beautiful, eerie, dark and dreamy ... An absolutely stunning mix of myth and legend and family saga. I haven't stopped thinking about it    Melinda Salisbury

The tentacles of this story reach deep into Ireland's mythological past, in a haunting tale ... The story is riveting, set in a modern country town but at all times laced with reminders of more violent but intriguing times    Irish Examiner

In this moody magical thriller, a girl with a secret identity and a talent that doubles as a curse has to outwit her enemies, survive her own damaging power, and follow her heart. For fans of The Call and The Shannara Chronicles    Buzzfeed

The Wren Hunt rings with ancient, subtle magic, masterfully transmuted into words. A tale that gets into your bones     Samantha Shannon 

[I have] fallen under the spell of The Wren Hunt, a beautifully written story and unlike anything I have read ... Magical and real    Jenny McLachlan

A beautiful mix of myth and magic and discovering the path you want to tread     Karen Gregory

Folklore, secrets, betrayal, magic, forbidden love and dark discoveries. Eerie, atmospheric, seductive and completely captivating   Katherine Webber

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781526606259
Publication date: 04/04/2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781408884935
Publication date: 08/02/2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408884935
Publication date: 8th February 2018
Author: Mary Watson
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 416 pages
Suitable for: YA readers
Genres: General Fiction
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month, eBooks, Reviewed by Children

About Mary Watson

Mary Watson is from Cape Town and now lives on the West Coast of Ireland with her husband and three young children. Highlights of her adult writing career include being awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing in Oxford in 2006, and being included on the Hay Festival's 2014 Africa39 list of influential writers from sub-Saharan Africa.

More About Mary Watson

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