Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Book #: Standalone
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publish Date: July 23rd 2013
Date Read : September 15th 2013
Rating: ★ / out of 5
The girl's misery and rage slipped away, and the secret sank like a stone,
inside her, until the truth was as forgotten as hope and beauty and all the other things given to darkness.
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.
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.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
The beauty of this story's writing style was not completely lost on me, yet it had no effect. I wasn't really impressed by the writing. I wasn't captured by it, or by the characters and their struggles. Not by the romance, or the tender moments between Isra and Gem. Not by the past that haunts Isra and the death that haunts Gem. Not either by the mysteries of Yuan. Nothing really made it easy for me to connect to the story. For the most part, I just skimmed through.
What didn't help with my inability to connect to the characters was the pace of the story. I really just wanted it to be over after every page. There were moments when everything was sped up too fast, including the relationship that develops between Isra and Gem. Weeks go by that they spend together, but were just told that. All of the sudden, five weeks have passed and then they just start having all these tender feelings. Then, other times the pacing will be so slow that I just skim through tens of pages at a time. And, reading through the last part of the book was a drag. There's some info-dumping and stuff and blah, blah, blah.
I can see where this story parallels with the classic Beauty and the Beast, but there were also parts that were lost on me. While I like how Gem and Isra's roles were reversed with Beauty and the Beast's, I didn't really understand the Bo's role. I assume he was supposed to be the authors version of Gaston.. but why was he actually likable at times? He is supposed to be completely repulsive and instead I found myself liking him for some parts. Yes, there are parts of him that repel me, but overall he wasn't that bad. The author shouldn't have made him like that.
Then, what's also lost on me, was why they were going to kill Isra before she had children? Isn't that the whole point, continuing the royal blood line? It was once stated in the book that the couldn't risk loosing their king and queen because then the royal line would be lost. But, if they were just going to have someone who married into the line, marry someone else and then have kids who continue the line, there won't be any blood relation to the original line... so if they lost both their king and queen at the same time, with no children to take their places, they could essentially just find someone else to start a new line. Right?
There is also the fact that the MC is blind, but pages would go by that I would completely forget she was. I don't know if that is necessarily good or bad, but I thought it would have been nice to constantly be reminded of her blindness to the point where I almost felt blind myself.
Overall, just because I didn't enjoy the story, doesn't mean I won't recommend it. I really see the potential in it, though this story just wasn't for me.
And what good is a voice when so few will listen.
The loss of hope is the worst kind of loss. I don't want to be the cause of that in someone, even if that someone is a monster.
She lifts her face. Her eyes aren't empty now. They're swimming with misery and pain. This girl wouldn't run through the garden laughing like a child. The death of her father cut that part of her away and left her bleeding inside were wounds hurt the most.
On My Goodreads: