Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am her monster. And she is mine.
Duuuude, my face! It’s been ages and ages since an ending left me feeling as I am right now. I love how this wasn’t at all simplistic in this is the bad guy and that’s the good guy, rather they could ALL be partly both. She’s not Belle perfect. He’s not all cute but scary ala giant Taz looking fella. I love how the both of them could be wrong then right in their assessment of things and of each other. There’s growth here… growth in the two as characters; growth between them as a pair. Then there’s our would-be Gaston… who wasn’t just that. It’s not a simple matter loving/liking/hating any of them as there are layers to all of them.
It’s a richly imagined world of divided people, with deals to carry out and histories forgotten, plus a certain someone bearing a burden. What you think is going to happen does but with a twist… sometimes big unexpected wholly delicious twists at that! It’s retellings like this that have me loving retellings all over again because long has it been since both MC’s have had me enjoying them for very different reasons. Often it’s the girl lead that’s got me rooted; other times it’s the boy. In this they both did it for me… wait: they all did.
Not a thing in this comes easily for any of them and I liked it. That push-push-pull between them, the outside looking in of one then te other, then the slow peeling away of preconceptions to what was? All of it’s very well done. Plus there’s the fact that Isra’s not that easy to love, and neither is Gem. The baddy, for that matter, you think you’re supposed to hate him… except that’s more easily said than done. Because the lot of them are layers and layer of sometimes predictable then a bit of unexpected. How to put it? It’s like they’re all sort of familiar but take the thing I expected and go a different route instead… but still keeping to the original thing that drew me to them in the first place. Or something like that. It was immensely enjoyable is what I’m saying… a little bit of the old with a lot of the new… but not redundant but not too out there either.
So the world’s split and things have been kept hidden, Only with her do we discover how far from perfect it all is. It’s in those imperfections that more come out still. How she’s not just Queen Isra with duty to be done. How he isn’t just warrior Gem and his hate. There’s that personal bit to the two of them- her and her freedom; him and his family? Not as simple as you think they are because between the two who’s the Beauty and the Beast? And it was fun discovering just who was who and what not.
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