Sunday, 20 October 2013

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Hardcover: 391 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (23 July 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385743203

 In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.


Cover: This has become one of my favourite covers. It's so gorgeous in person. I'm really pleased that they slightly altered the cover before it's release, it now has a kind of luminescent glow about it and it more suited to the world/time setting. It's so stunning.

Beauty and the Beast has to be my favourite fairytale.- so when I saw that there was going to be a YA re-telling- that was me sold. There are quite a few fairytale re-tellings out there, but there aren't very many Beauty and the Beast ones. Hence me pre-ordering it.
It's been really difficult to not read it as soon as it arrived, but I had to hold off as it was chosen as the Buddy Read Pick for September. So by the time it came to read it, I was practically chomping at the bit.
I found the beginning a bit slow, and it seemed the author tried to make it come across 'deeper'- more meaningful, and more poetic than it was or needed to be. There were a few instances of this in the book. It was just uncessary and slowed the book right down. When this wasn't happening, the writing style was simple and straight forward- and it flowed really well.
I loved having both Isra and Gem (aka Beauty and the Beast's) point of views. It was so interesting to get both sides- and what was even more interesting is- at times you weren't sure who was the Beauty and who was the Beast as they both had traits of both, and then bam, as you think you have it sussed, it's turned on its head again.
Bo. There was something about him from the get go- I didn't like him. So I didn't particularly enjoy having his POV in there. I don't really think it was needed. Just having Isra and Gem's was perfect. There wasn't even that MUCH of it in there, so it came across as even more uncessary. I didn't like that he presented a kind of love triangle aspect-but-not-really- which is not something I enjoy.
The dystopian world aspect put a totally new slant on an old tale- and I was sceptical that it would work for two reasons-
1. I'm not a massive dystopian fan, there have been a couple I have thoroughly enjoyed, Divergent and Acid, but for the most part it's not a go to genre for me.
2. Beauty & the Beast is iconic- I'm used to the story playing out in a medieval castle or something, how would it transfer to a futuristic setting?
I was proved wrong on both counts. It worked fantastically well. I loved it as both a dystopian novel and as a fairytale re-telling.
This actually quite a dark undertone to it. The sacrficing of the queens, the suffering of the Desert People and the whole convenant- what the queens advisors push to happen to Isra.
The build up towards the end was really tense. I almost didn't want to read it because I didn't know how things were going to pan out, and I didn't think my heart could take it if bad things...well bad things did happen but I mean IRREVERSIBLE bad things were going to happen to the character I came to love, and I didn't think my heart could take it.
I really appreciated the fact that it's a stand alone novel. It's nice to find a great novel that is not part of a series.
The last few chapters- OMG THE FEELS! So emotional!
The prologue was really beautiful. A perfect way to end it.
4.5/5 stars!

No comments:

Post a Comment