Author: Meagan Spooner
Genre: YA, Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 4 Stars
Basic Plot: A retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast… set in medieval Russia. When Yeva’s father doesn’t return home from one of his hunting trips, she goes out to find him. She ends up a captive in the castle of a Beast.
1) Yeva, aka “Beauty”. I liked her. I particularly like how she grows during the course of the story. For her recognition of her own faults, as she comes to see the good in the Beast.
2) I like what Spooner does with the story. It doesn’t follow the Disney storyline (you know, with roses and magical furniture). And it doesn’t fully follow the original French version either. (For example: Beauty’s two sisters are not quite the same as the jealous duo that end up as statues at the end of the actual fairy tale.) And yet, the elements that make up the story of Beauty and the Beast are definitely in this book.
3) I loved the inter-chapters that give us insight into the Beast. I particularly like that they begin as fairly cryptic. Then as we get to know him, they help us understand his frame of mind.
4) The imagery and motifs surrounding the Firebird, and what Spooner does with the Firebird plot-wise in this book, is nicely done.
5) Bonus points for incorporating the magical fairy tale “rule of three” into Yeva’s own story. It’s hard to explain how this is done, but it’s done very well. It’s almost a breaking of the fourth wall of sorts. But it doesn’t feel gimicky. It works with the plot.
6) The cover is beau-ti-ful!
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) The tag-line is “A Beauty deadlier than the Beast”. I thought this was a stupid tag-line. First of all, it almost turned me off to reading the book. Secondly, after reading the story, I don’t think it’s true. It makes the Beast sound like a wuss. (He’s not.) Nope. If I were on the marketing team for this book, I would have STRONGLY recommended to remove this ridiculous tag-line.
My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – This is a delightful retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story. If you like this fairy tale, then you should have a blast reading this book!