One Sentence Review: Although this book had its flaws, it’s definitely a unique retelling that added amazing twists to the original Beauty & the Beast story, and it’s a book I recommend to those who have just seen (and hopefully loved!) the new live action movie.
Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones--and in her blood.
Though Yeva 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? (Summary from Amazon)
So for the vast majority of this book, I was not a fan. Until almost the very end, I had planned to give it 2 stars, because I didn’t think the story was unique or exciting, I didn’t really like any of the characters, and the writing wasn’t anything that stood out in my opinion.
But the ending changed everything. Everything. It tied everything together so perfectly, and completely transformed my view of this story.
One thing that I loved consistently throughout was the combination of Beauty & the Beast and Russian folklore. Spooner did a fantastic job weaving together both legends, and I adored hearing the classic story I knew in a new light interwoven with a myth I had never heard but now want to know more about. Some might argue that there were important aspects of Beauty & the Beast that were missing, but in my opinion, it’s called a retelling because it doesn’t have to stay totally true to the story: it gives the author the opportunity to use parts of the original tale but also add his or her own creative spin to it.
As for the characters, I loved the Beast almost the entire time, but didn’t really like Yeva that much until the end. She was a little too selfish, a little too single-minded; if you’ve read my reviews before you know that I like when characters have flaws, but Yeva just kind of annoyed me until the last few chapters.
Getting little glimpses of the Beast’s perspective, though, was definitely a highlight.
As I mentioned above, not much happened in the plot until the very end. There were so many hunting scenes, and while I get that hunting is a huge part of the story, I wish some of the pages that had been dedicated to it could have instead been used for relationship development between Yeva & the Beast, or maybe to include more of the magic from the original tales.
So I obviously can’t talk about the ending because SPOILERS, but all I’ll say is it was the redeeming factor of this book and made all the moments I thought about putting it down so, so worth it.
Overall, although this book did have its flaws, I do recommend it for hardcore Beauty & the Beast fans, who will without a doubt enjoy the twists Spooner added to the story.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!