Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The book may be Of Beast and Beauty, but the story is beauty through and through!

Author:  Stacey Jay
Publisher:  Delacorte
Date:  Now available
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
My grade:  A+

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Initial Reaction

Cover story
Love, love, love….::hums the Beatles::  This cover is stupendous.  In one picture, it completely captures the juxtaposition of the traditional with the alternate/sci fi universe of the novel setting.  It is pure brilliance.

What’s the Story?
At first, I was skeptical.  I mean, a fairy tale re-telling taking place on another planet that is sort of futuristic/dystopian but not really?  And are these people human or what?  If you find yourself shying away from this book because these things don’t seem to appeal to you or make sense to you, STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM AND READ THE BOOK ALREADY!

This book took what I thought was a far-fetched premise and made it beautiful.  I read Stacey Jay’s Romeo and Juliet books, but this book so surpasses those 2 that I can hardly believe it’s written by the same author.  It is easy to see that Stacey Jay has grown into her own as an author.

This book’s writing lends an almost dreamlike and poetic quality to the entire novel.  It feels like an ancient myth and if I had to draw it as a picture, it would be surrounded by a cover of mist.  And that world just sucked me right into the story.  I grew to love and to hate so many of these characters.  It truly was a story of Beauty and a Beast, although at times, I wondered just who was supposed to be the beauty and who was the beast.

One of the most magnificent things about this book was the way that Stacey Jay managed to take so many of the elements from the original tale but twist them into something that was so entirely new.  It’s like she created her own mythology with this tale.  She didn’t shy away from the very dark elements of fairy tales, either.  This is not your Disney version, for sure.  But it is achingly beautiful.  It made me weep in places and often it was not because of the sadness of the tale but because it reached inside me and touched my very soul.

This is a standalone novel, but I have to say that I would not object to another book in this world because I was simply loath to leave it.

If you are a person who only likes traditional re-tellings, this one may not work for you, but if you love to read beautifully told tales full of magic and have them touch your heart, then this is definitely a book for you.


A Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos

I’m on Fire by Bat for Lashes

Collide by Howie Day

Distance by Christina Perry with Jason Mraz

Always You by Ingrid Michaelson

The Final Grade

My final grade for this book is an A+.  I cannot fully express how beautiful this story was and just how much I loved it, so just go read it.

I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I did not receive any compensation, financial or otherwise, for this review, and especially not my own loveable beast.

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