First Lines: She panted into the chilled air. Snowflakes fluttered around her like ashen butterflies, clinging to her lashes and to the hood of her thick cloak. Champ, her warhorse, tore through the night’s darkness with clouds of warm breath, and his flanks heaved after the rush of the ride.
I was contacted by the author/publicist to read this book. They gave me a real physical copy of this, so I kinda geeked out a little. I love it when I can add new books to my shelves.
She doesn’t have a name. Her silver skin and white hair terrify the people of Sago, the capital of Pevorocco. She’s sent to live with the cruel but rich Ma Dane when her mother disappeared the instant of their birth. Cruelly, she’s given the name Beauty. When violent uprisings of Magics work their way to Sago, Beauty flees to the furthest part of the country. But Beauty can’t hide there forever. When State officials find her and threaten to take her back to Sago, she knows death awaits her there. She escapes, heading into the dark forest where a Beast awaits to bargain for her life. But can Beauty accept Beast for who he is?
This was definitely an interesting read. I wasn’t completely sure what I was getting when I started this. It turned out to mostly be a fantasy novel with a few dashes of fairy tale-retelling thrown in. Which was an interesting and different take on the story, I thought.
I thought this book did a lot of things well, but there were a few things that needed a little improvement. I thought the characters were great. Once I got to know Beauty, I really liked following her. The story’s told from a third person narrator, so you also get to see the characters outside of what Beauty thinks of them. That added another layer to the characters, one that I knew wasn’t tainted by what Beauty thought of them. Beast was great too, once we finally got to meet him.
Also with the characters, there was plenty of time to get to know them. There are lots of characters in the story, but you really got to know most of them before you met new ones. For example, Beauty is set in Sago for about a fifth of the book. That meant we got to know everyone important in Sago before she fled the city. So I did like that.
This is definitely a fantasy novel. It has characters that are Magic Bloods and Magic Beings. Beauty’s appearance is really different from, you know, normal people. Silver skin kind of makes you a “freak” in Sago. It didn’t have as much of the “Beauty and the Beast” retelling as I would have liked, but it was still interesting.
Which leads me into my next point. We don’t even meet the Beast until over halfway through the book. No matter how interesting I thought the first half was, I kept waiting for the Beast to come in. In this fairy tale, the Beast is one of my favorite characters. (Granted, he’s usually only one of two consistent characters.) So I was disappointed when he only had a small part in the story.
I felt that the last fifth of the book was rushed. The Beast’s part felt rushed. The ending felt rushed. (The most pivotal part of the ending took less than the last 10 pages to occur.) It’s the best part of the story, and it was barely there.
Overall, though, I felt it was a lovely fantasy retelling of my favorite story. I just wished some things had been done differently.
(My tweet from the author about this review.)