Published by Delacorte on July 23, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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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.
Wow. What a wonderful page-turner. It wasn’t a love read, but dannnnng. Of Beast and Beauty receives the highest of 3s. BECAUSE WE ALL LOVE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. DON’T DENY IT.
I’m always real picky when it comes to retellings. I think I treasure the originals so much that there has to be some big wow factor to make me go crazy for one. Let me tell you, this one was close. I’m always happy reading them, there’s something about fairytales that just draw people in and make you want to read more even when you know what’s going to happen. You’ve seen it a thousand times.
And really, what’s one more time?
Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite, as I’m sure it is for every reader out there. A beautiful, kind, and smart Belle paired with a dark, hidden sweetness that is the Beast. It’s hard not to fall in love with their story. With this novel, there is no difference in that area. Isra and Gem took a long while to grow on me. I didn’t see their relationship at first. It was nearly half of the book before I was like, “whooooaaaa…WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED.” How do I like them now? WHHHHHA??
I love the twists of this story. It’s so blended, yet transformed and any fan will notice and appreciate the changes made. Some minor, some MAJOR. Through some unusual circumstances, Isra becomes queen of Yuan, a city that banishes “her kind” –people of deformity. They are dead set in their beautiful ways.
In comes AMAZEBALLS Gem to make her realize that his people aren’t the monstrosities that her people insist they are, and that his people are all dying of hunger (he does so, by chatting her up about his culture and using oral tradition to his advantage–my favorite!). They have women and children like everyone else; he has a son back at home. Their relationship grows by working with one another, eventually trusting each other, and setting out to both do the impossible.
It was very much a Beauty and Beast tale with a twist of Romeo and Juliet, with all that feuding and treachery and whatnot.
-Luuurve: I couldn’t see the chemistry until I was like half-way into the book. I was feeling ‘meh’ about their whole relationship. BUT give it a chance. It gets much better later on.
-Inconsistent characterization: Gem was perfect, but I hated the hot-cold persona that is Bo. His feelings for Isra were all over the place and I’m not sure if that was so the reader couldn’t place his intentions or if it was because he didn’t know himself, but it made it harder to connect to him as a whole (which is probably because he’s supposed to be the douchebag Gaston). Isra is the one that bothered me the most because one minute she’s timid and insecure, and the next she’s strong and steadfast.
-Plotholes: I know that this is a fairytale and everything is supposed to be magical and shit. But the people of Yuan are complete idiots. I won’t spoil anything by revealing all these plotholes, but there are quite a few.
Anyway, it was UNPUTDOWNABLE after that first 40%. CLAPS-ALL-AROUND because it’s definitely the best retelling I’ve read this year, even with that rating!
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