Release Date: January 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retellings, Romance
Page Count: 496
“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”
GIVE ME MOAR! Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales, and this retelling has been my favourite so far!
Rhen is the cursed prince of Emberfall – reliving out the same season and concluding it as the beast before it all resets again. The curse was brought about when he scorned the enchantress, not returning her “love” if it ever was that. As with Beauty and the Beast, love is what will break the curse.
Harper is the girl brought back to the parallel kingdom from Washington DC for this season. Having lived with cerebral palsy all her life, she’s grown a tough skin and a fiercely independent personality to combat the prejudices against her. Her mother is dying of cancer and her brother is potentially in trouble when she is taken – this forms a deal of conflict over the situation she finds herself in.
“There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I’ve killed this time.”
This tale is darker than the Disney version I am most familiar with, but not over the top dark for the sake of it. We get more of the brutality to the beast, and how the surrounding kingdom has suffered as a result of losing its monarchy – after all, it wouldn’t simply carry on as normal!
I really loved the world building – how easily we’re introduced to the landscape, and that its built up steadily over the book. We’re not thrown it all at once, but you get enough details so have a good grasp for that point in the story. The descriptions actually conjured images in my head – which is quite the feat as I struggle to form images in my mind’s eye, they’re near non-existent!
Commander Grey, Rhen’s right hand man, was perhaps my favourite character – I feel like he’s the character you see the most aspects of. I must admit, I needed a little more of the characters to fully connect with them, but personally this didn’t impact my overall joy of reading the book. I still loved them, but give me all the details – the more multifaceted the character the better, give me their flaws and bad sides – give them all the depth you can pour into a person.
If my life had allowed me to consume this book in one sitting, I definitely would have – I was enraptured the whole way, and I didn’t realise this wasn’t a standalone! Although the story in this book feels pretty all tied up (which I love, cliff-hangers are killer when you can’t dive right in!), it’s also left me eager to get my hands on the next!
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