Monday, January 26, 2015

Of Beast and Beauty

Author: Stacy Jay
Goodreads Rating: 4.02
Pages: 391
Format: ARC from ALA13

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.

I have been looking forward to this book for a very long time. When I found out that I could snag it at ALA, I got so excited. A retelling of Beauty and The Beast? I was all about that. Especially since it was so different from the Disney movie, I loved it! It was dark and funny and probably one of my favorite retellings.

I am not a huge fantasy fan, and this was pretty abstract for my usual taste, but I loved it. I loved how easily I was pulling into this world with the blind Isra and the dark Gem. I will admit that I was a little confused at the start. It's that feeling out of a new world where you're not quite sure what is what and how the world works. I was a little confused as well by the creatures and how the different governments worked.

I really enjoyed Isra although I got crazy frustrated by her as she stumbled her way through the world trying to figure out her role following some pretty big changes in her life. Which I would absolutely love to go into, but there is no way that I can without absolutely spoiling this entire book. I loved the characters and the different twists and turns that Isra and Gem went through during the book. 

It was really clever the way that Jay incorporated some details that existed in the original tale such as the roses and the sort of glass that the roses lived in. I really wish that there had been more to this tale that we had gotten another book because I absolutely loved this world and falling into it. Needless to say this won't be my last Stacey Jay novel.
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