I added this book to my TBR when I heard it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Unfortunately, it took me a while to actually get the book and read it, but my local library had it so I put it on hold and violá! I read it, loved it, and now I have to write a coherent review because it’s BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL. ✨
Author: Meagan Spooner
Release date: March 14, 2017
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance, retelling
Length: 374 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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?”
Wow, I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. Spooner’s writing enraptures you, drawing you deep into the story, allowing you to connect with the characters, and tugging at your heartstrings. You read page after page, wanting to know, curious about where the story will go, and then… The end.
There aren’t many standalone fantasy novels, but of the ones I’ve read, this is at the top. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yeva, the youngest of her sisters, goes to search for her father when he doesn’t return after a hunting trip. Though she’s hesitant at first, especially with no one to look after them, she feels a deep pull into the woods. What she comes across is something she’s only heard about in stories–fairytales and magic coming into her life before she realizes it in the form of the Beast, a wolfish creature who struggles with his animal and human instinct, both which wage war within him.
I really liked Yeva as a main character. She has a knack for hunting and was taught by her father. She’s a kind soul, but she also stands up for herself and subtly and slowly takes matters into her own hands, especially when the Beasts informs her help to perform a specific task. I liked that she loved her family, too, and the tension she faced within herself and with her siblings about searching for her father and her later actions in regards to the Beast.
I definitely like the small chapters from the Beast’s point of view. I’m not sure I would have liked the story as much if it wasn’t there. The readers see a part of him that isn’t revealed even to Yeva, especially how dark the Beast is and his struggle against himself.
The weaving of Russian folktales and myths was such a nice touch. I guess I just assumed it would be a French village, considering the Beauty and the Beasts origin story, but I found myself fascinated.
If you’re looking for a magical retelling, with a touch of romance that makes you swoon, and you love Beauty and Beast, this is such a fun and amazing twist on the story!