Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Genre/Themes: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Dystopia
★★★★★ 5 stars!!
This is a retelling of Beauty & The Beast but, with a Dystopian and otherworldly twists.I’m a huge fan of Fairy Tale retellings. Even though I already know the basis of the story things can and will be different. I love seeing different authors’ takes on the same story. The summaries I read didn’t really inspire me but, I gave it a shot anyhow and I’m SO glad I did.
The world is divided.
Princess Isra lives in one of the few remaining domed cities where the Smooth Skins live. She has been raised knowing that one day she will be sacrificed to the roses for the vitality of her city to continue on. Before she dies she wants to help her people in other ways because, even her sacrifice won’t help the Banished and the deformed who live outside her Palace.
Gem is a warrior for the Desert people (a Monstrous according to the Smooth Skins). His people are dying from starvation and they are desperate. If they don’t find a way to help them live soon, they will all die.
The two meet and without their knowing they may have a shot at saving their whole world, if only they will listen to their hearts.
Alright before I start rambling about how much I loved the book, let me first mention some issues.
The dialogue can kinda get cheesy. Now personally, I love this kind of cheesy. Just drench me in it and I’ll be happy! I know some people don’t like it so, I thought I would mention it.
I will hold her tightly and tell her I love her, last thing before she closes her eyes and first thing when she wakes in the morning. I will tell her every day for the rest of our lives, and more important, I will show her.
I will show her that loving her is my greatest truth, and the most beautiful thing I have ever known.
Also, there were a few plot holes or things that didn’t make sense. For starters, all we know is that these people showed up from a different place on ships. Now, I pictured a Columbus type landing or with more modern ships.
Which made me wonder, ‘What is happening to the rest of the planet?’ or ‘Why hasn’t anyone else come to their world?’ Then I realized by ship and their fear of technology (wow this came late into the book) they meant something more traveling from another planet.
That is what I’ve been led to believe anyhow, we aren’t really told and it bothered me. I wanted to know more but, it isn’t important to the story so, I’m not going to hold it against the author.
My other concern was how stupid the people inside the dome were. So very selfish. The fact that Isra cared about ALL of her people and not just the nobles was seen as crazy! Talking of crazy was Bo, Isra’s Smooth Skin suitor who was hot and cold with her. Also, the double standard of women -_-” Bo could have sex with every woman in the kingdom but GOD FORBID Isra even looks at a man with interest. ugh.
One more little thing, how the curse was broken. Spoiler: They had to love each other more than anyone else for the curse to be broken. I see that the author wanted a the two people to love the other even with their differences but, more than everyone else? Yes, I have a city FULL OF PEOPLE DYING and I’m going to trade them for the love of my life…. Maybe it is just me but, this kind of selfish thinking is really harmful. It is a ‘We are more important’ mindset that literally the noble Smooth Skins had. While Isra and Gem still care for their people and are actually trying to do best by them, this thinking isn’t present but, it was sort worded that they should have that mindset. I just think this part could have been tweaked a little better. Like the curse would break if they fully and completely loved each other. I don’t know…
Now, onto the good stuff:
“Beauty is wherever you find it, and Beast is there when you need to defend it.”
*squeal!!* I absolutely loved this line!
The book has a few other really good quotes. The story flowed really well to me and I had a super hard time putting it down. (I actually put off writing a paper so I could read the whole thing in a day)
Characterization for the main characters was done really well. I loved the main characters and truly was rooting for them for page 1. They are so like-able. Even Isra’s mute maid (darn it I forgot her name) was quirky and fun. I enjoyed the scenes when she was present. The personal growth and development was pretty steady and fit with the story.
So did the Romance which I thought worked well. Not Insta-love. Not hate you but, love you. No. Love grew between them slowly then, when finally given the chance quickened to bloom and take root.
Happy Ending and even a epilogue showing what life was like after (LOVE LOVE that). I fell into this book and closed the book with a content sigh. This is definitely something I would read again.