Written by Meagan Spooner
Published by Harper teen, March 14 2017
My star rating: 4.5 stars
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast? (Goodreads)
With the Beauty and the Beast movie in theatres, the story is being talked about everywhere. There have been a few other Beauty and the Beast retellings over the years, but this one – this one is the closest to the story that I know and it was SO well done!! I felt that the pace of this book was consistent, and always kept me interested, even though I basically knew what was going to happen next.
First of all, Yeva as a character was fantastic. She was very self aware, knew what she wanted and what she was capable of. She was strong yet sensitive, and her family meant everything to her. Yeva lived with her two sisters and her father. In the Disney version she was an only child so I wasn’t expecting to love her sisters as much as I did. The three sisters were very different in their personalities and I found myself so invested in their personal relationships and the outcomes. I don’t have any siblings, but I loved how apparent their love was for each other as well as their need to protect each other. If I could have sisters, it would be these girls. I just loved them to pieces.
My absolute FAVOURITE part of this book was the folklore!! Yes there was a curse, and yes there was magic, but Meagan Spooner wove the curse and Yeva’s love of books together in this magical combination of stories. Eva’s father used to tell her stories when she was a little girl. These were based on the Russian fairytales of Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird, and the Grey Wolf. She brilliantly combined these stories, the curse, and Beauty’s emotional attachment to her father and books to make such a beautiful, memorable story.
My second favourite part was that there was no Gaston! I remember not wanting to watch Beauty and the Beast when I was a kid because his character made me SO ANGRY! I remembered wondering how someone could be so hateful and destructive for no reason at all. There was a particular love interest for Beauty in the beginning of the story, but he was a wonderful loving person and nothing like Gaston. If there would have been someone like him in this book I probably wouldn’t have rated this book so high.
I’m also pleased to say that there was no insta-love! When a character throws all their emotions out the window after looking into another characters eyes, I can’t handle it. Both Yeva and the Beast held true to their emotions and goals, and didn’t instantly turn into mush. Each characters actions slowly proved their intentions and true personalities. Each of them were held accountable for their actions and their emotions adjusted accordingly. They didn’t just forgive each other immediately for their mistakes and took the time to balance and figure out their feelings. As this book was told from the perspective of Beauty, we always knew what she was thinking. But at the end of each chapter was a diary entry from Beast where were were given an inside look into his thoughts and his struggles. Adding things like this to a book, if done well, adds so much depth to the novel. In this case it was done well and appreciated the second perspective even though it was only a page or two at the end of a chapter.
I ended up taking a half a star off my rating because of the ending. I was slightly underwhelmed and felt like I needed more – a bit more magic, flourish and explanation. It was satisfactory, I just felt like it lacked something special. There was so much magic and story telling throughout this novel and then it seemed to end a little abruptly.
NOW – if you didn’t know, I’m doing a giveaway for this book which ends TOMORROW! (Full giveaway information here) All you have to do is follow me on my blog or on twitter and you will automatically be entered. This is open to US and Can residents only and will end April 4th at midnight. I will be contacting the winner on April 5th. Best of luck!
Until next time, happy reading!