Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, beautiful, and deep, Jay's retelling of Beauty and the Beast--even darker than the original--was a treat to read--I loved it!
Isra was raised to be a human sacrifice, a queen sentenced to death for the sake of keeping her city alive. She's never doubted her upbringing or her purpose in life, living with her taint, however reluctantly. But that all changes when she meets Gem, a member of the people living outside her city, a Monstrous whose people are dying. At first, the two hate one another, but soon reluctant friendship turns to something more.. and the doomed couple must race against time to save both of their worlds, or it will be too late for everyone involved..
What I enjoyed:
-The dark, magical, atmospheric world that Jay paints, frightening and beautiful all at once
-The mythology of the novel, deep and rich and believable
-The fun twist on a classic tale that pays homage to the original, as a retelling should
-Isra, and her fierce independence, and her goal to stay true to herself despite everything--even being blind!
-Gem, and his gruff exterior, but his sweetness inside, as well as his culture
-The multiple points of view that is a staple with Jay, but it gave more depth to the novel
-Gem and Isra's growing relationship throughout the novel, as well as the characters evolving themselves
What I didn't enjoy:
-At times the novel was a bit too graphic for my tastes
I loved Of Beast and Beauty--it was a wonderful retelling! Next on deck: Nightspell by Leah Cypess!