Hunted in the Valley (Old Sequoia Valley book 1) by C.R. Pugh
At age sixteen, Ravyn has been running all her life. First, from her home and family in Terran, then from General Wolfe, who wants, more than anything, to exploit her biggest secret. Escaping into the infamous Old Sequoia Valley, Ravyn cannot trust anyone. She mustn’t seek friendship. She can’t allow herself to grow close to anyone.
But then Raven meets Thorne, a young commander from a different clan. He and his Warriors have traveled into the Old Sequoia Valley to rescue castaways. Though Ravyn tries to keep her distance, they are inescapably drawn to each other.
When Thorne discovers Ravyn’s secret, can she overcome her demons and learn to trust again or will she spend her life forever on the run?
This has been on my TBR for ages, and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read through the first installment of the Old Sequoia Valley series! I loved the dystopian vibes and action scenes throughout Hunted in the Valley! This was such a dark and high-octane story filled with mystery and reflection on what it means to trust others.
Ravyn is different. She’s known it for years, and Hunted opens with Ravyn making the dangerous decision to run away from home. She knows the Valley is dangerous and she’ll be alone, but she can’t let the village elders get her. Because she can do something that no one else can. Fast forward and we see that somehow she’s managed to make it in the Valley, but it’s also left a mark on her.
So what happens when Ravyn finds someone who starts to wear down the walls she’s worked so hard to build around her heart? A lot! Pugh creates a wonderful, strong female character in Ravyn. She’s self-sufficient, brave, and knows that distance is the best way to keep others safe. At the same time, Pugh doesn’t shy away from revealing Ravyn’s vulnerabilities: emotional scars from what she’s experienced as well as a yearning to finally reconnect with someone else. I’m always for “team bada** female,” and Pugh has certainly crafted a character who can join the club.
But let’s not forget the other half of YA romances - the brooding and swoony male. Enter Thorne. He has just as many facets as Ravyn: protect and support his family, show the clan he’s a strong commander, and lead his own Warriors. Thorne has no time for romance, especially for females who can’t take his leadership. But he’s not expecting to find Ravyn. The two come together perfectly, with as many sparks as swipes at each other as they open their hearts to the possibility of something more.
As for the action, Pugh did her homework! She has fight scenes with weapons and fists, and she goes into detail that puts you into the forefront of each battle. (Excuse me while I go take a few classes in karate now!) It’s fierce and believable, and the action flows smoothly, even between chapters that switch POVs.
You better believe that I’ll be diving into books two and three very soon! Until then you can find more on C.R. Pugh and her Old Sequoia Valley series here: https://authorcrpugh.wixsite.com/home.