Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Isra, Pricess of Yuan, has no power over her city.
Blind since she was 4 years old, she has lived a sheltered life knowing she’ll be sacrificed and her death will buy her people more time.
Gem belongs to the Monstrous people, poor second-class citizens whose bodies had to adapt to the hard environment outside the dome that protects the city.
Their skin has scales, their hands have retractable claws, their mounths have razor sharp teeth. They are despised and feared by the Smooth Skins.
There’s a garden full of enchanted roses in Yuan and Isra escapes her tower at night to visit it.
In that garden her father dies.
In that garden Gem is captured.
A dark magic will be unleashed once again and the fate of two people will be met.
This is a BEAUTIFULLY written dystopian Beauty and the Beast retelling.
Stacey Jay’s writing is probably one of the best things about this book.
The story is told in first-person and different narrators.
Isra and Gem are very different but they also have a lot in common, the roles of “Beauty” and “Beast” are both reversed and intertwined.
You can find Belle and the Beast in both characters, they are not a replica of those traditional roles.
Not even Bo‘s charater, this book’s “Gaston”, is a bidimensional “bad guy”.
All characters are well developed and the story ORIGINALLY retold which is AWESOME because it rarely happens.
I have to say though…
I wished the plot had :
- better pace (sometimes the storyline evolves way too slow, others things happen way too quickly)
- less angst
- the focus on the plot. In this book the focus is on the romance while, for once, I was so captivated by the plot!
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t engaged all the way through, not at all.
I couldn’t put this book down!
“In the beginning there was darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret”
I absolutely loved the way the main theme of Beauty and the Beast is approached, the meaning of beauty inside and out.
“Beauty is wherever you find it, and Beast is there when you need to defend it.”
Love and heartbreak, how powerful they can be, how we need both to grow up and learn true strenght.
This book isn’t a light read, it’s a meaningful one.
Definitely one of the most original Beauty and the Beast YA retelling I’ve read so far.
⭐ 3.5 Stars rounded up ⭐
~ My Ratings ~
Writing: 4.5 /5
Plot: 3.5 /5
Hero: 3.5 /5
Heroine: 3.5 /5
Secondary Characters: 3.5 /5
MC’s chemistry: 3 /5
Steam: 2.5 /5 There’s a good number of VERY heated moments but there are no explicit sex scenes.
Triggers: The hero has a dead son and wife but there’s no OW drama, the heroine loses her father, secondary characters die, the heroine is supposed to marry another man but here’s no love triangle, overall the story has dark tones (it’s a dystopian YA after all!).
Recommended to: Readers looking for a Young Adult dystopian Beauty and the Beast retelling.
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