Author: Meagan Spooner
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Age Classification: YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she 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?
This was a highly enjoyable read. I love a good fairytale retelling. However, I finished reading another Beauty and the Beast retelling not too long ago (A Curse So Dark and Lonely), so I was hoping that wouldn’t affect my thoughts on this book. Luckily, the two books take very different paths to tell a similar story – but that’s the beauty of a retelling right? There’s so many different ways you can spin it!
I will say that the start of the story was a little slow. There was a lot of word building and story focusing on Yeva and her family. It wasn’t boring by any means, it just delayed the actual storyline as far as I could tell. I immensely enjoyed the setting for this story. It was set in a similar to near medieval Russia, something which was completely foreign, but oh so enjoyable to read. I loved reading about the freezing temperatures and believed the risks Yeva and her family faced, living in the woods. I loved the hunting dogs, the weapons, the way Yeva tracked and hunted. She is such a clever character, and I really enjoyed getting to know her.
While the beginning of the story was slow, I also felt like the ending was rushed. We had a moment about 3/4 through – or even further – where the story slowed down again, and then tried to wrap everything up in a nice, neat bow in too short a period of time. Yeva, while being a fierce and great heroine, and a kind and loving member of her family, just didn’t strike me as someone who would not act fast, and let so much time pass before acting on her impulses. Her decisions slowed down what should have been the most exciting parts of the book.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there is not a lot of romance in the plot. While we’re given glimpses of romance with Yeva’s sisters relationships, the relationship between Beast and Yeva isn’t one based on romance – well at least not yet. It may develop into one, but it wasn’t shown in this book. Which, may I add, is fine. we don’t have to have romance in every story, but as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I thought there might’ve been a little more. And while we’re on things that may be missing – we don’t really have an antagonist. The character of Gaston (one of my all-time fave Disney villains) didn’t exist, where he possibly could’ve, and the explanation of the Beast’s misfortune was part of the ending rush, so we didn’t really have a character or reason for why he was transformed until the very end.
In saying all these, it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book! Which is false, because I definitely did. It was just different to what I was expecting and different to a lot of fairytale retellings previously read. It was still a 3.5 – 4 star read for me! Look at getting your own copy here!
Happy readings, loves!