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Of Beast and Beauty Hardcover – July 23, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–Hundreds of years after humans landed on a distant planet, Smooth Skins live in protective domes that keep out the scaly skinned Desert People, whom they call Monstrous. Blind since childhood, 17-year-old Princess Isra makes clandestine nighttime visits to the dome's rose garden. Someday, as queen, she will have to shed her blood to water the roses and keep the city secure. To save their people from starvation, a Monstrous raiding party attempts to steal the roses and their magic. Isra demands that 19-year-old Gem be spared. She hopes that he can help her raise plants to stop the scaling skin that could doom her to banishment. Slowly Isra comes to see both literally and figuratively the deformities and mistreatment of the Banished inside the city and the injustices done to the Desert People outside. Gem realizes that Isra, too, is a prisoner, destined to marry Bo, whose powerful father manipulates events to make sure his son will rule the kingdom. Eventually Isra learns that the queens' bloodletting actually feeds an evil Dark Heart beneath the flowers. Only love between a Smooth Skin and a Monstrous can break an ancient curse. Isra, Gem, and Bo narrate chapters of this reimagining of the familiar tale. Isra and Gem reluctantly acknowledge their growing attraction that deepens into love. Bo, who might have emerged as a villain, instead questions the need for sacrifice and resists his father's demands. Explanations of complex history and legend slow the pace at times, but revelations and plot twists keep the action flowing and romance growing. Variations of conventions such as having a Monstrous attempt to steal roses and bring the dying princess to life are overshadowed by the final transformation of Isra, Gem, and their people into something entirely new, both Beast and Beauty. A satisfying read for fans of romantic fantasy.–Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankatoα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal, August 2013:
"A satisfying read for fans of romantic fantasy."
Justine, August/September 2013:
"The romance in this book is as lush, wild and thorny as the magic roses that protect the doomed city of Yuan! This re-imagined version of classic Beauty and the Beast is all the more addicting because the two man characters are misfits who slowly develop their love through shared goals, secret whispers and intense chemistry."
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Being a brown eyed bookworm myself, she was the princess I related to the most. And who wouldn't want to marry a handsome prince?
Being a lover of both the Beauty and the Beast fairytale and of re-tellings, I couldn't resist Stacye Jay's spin on the classic tale. Already loving her spin on the classic Romeo and Juliet in her Juliet Immortal series, I just knew I would be in for a treat and a tale that would be darker and definitely one that would keep me on my toes.
I was not disappointed in the least.
Told in three point of views of Isra, Gem, and Bo, this was done beautifully.
With a fantasy world that was easy to envision and a cast of character reminiscent of the fairytale this was a fun take on the classic and something I easily and quickly devoured.
Jay's writing continues to enchant me and I will pick up anything she writes in the future. I just love her twisted take and darker versions of stories that almost have a new like feel and appeal to them. This was another winner for me and after having this one in my TBR pile for nearly three years, I'm glad I finally read and loved.
Watching the two interact together and slowly learn not to hate one another was so sweet. These two have centuries of embedded hatred for each other’s people to overcome. Once they can start to get past that and slowly appreciate each other is when it really starts to get interesting. I loved the slow build of the romance and how the two of them learned more about themselves as they got to know one another.
I loved the world itself and all of the legends and interesting mythology that came with it. Overall, just a great read.
Magically enchanting and wonderfully thrilling, OF BEAST AND BEAUTY was a fantastic retelling with it's own touch of originality that had me hooked from the beginning until the very end!! From it's dark setting to it's alluring plot, with heart-pounding revelations and fierce character development, and it's utterly beautiful and spellbindingly magical romance that could stand the test of time. OF BEAST AND BEAUTY is definitely not a book to be missed, and had everything I craved and some!!
It's official, Stacey Jay creates the most original, thrilling worlds that I have ever read. As with her sleeping beauty retelling, it was different, and beautiful, and dark, and wonderfully enchanting, and I loved them both so much. Though I think I liked PRINCESS OF THORNS just a little bit more then this one. But nevertheless, I enjoyed them both, a lot.
OF BEAST AND BEAUTY has been a highly anticipated book since first hearing about it in 2012, but for some crazy reason it always kept getting put on the back of my review pile. So when the audiobook came out I jumped on it and had it read in 2 days. I couldn't stop listening and reading this book. It was so addicting, and I had to know what was going to happen next. I needed to know how the beast and beauty were going to face all the odds stacked against them, how they were going to find a way to unite themselves and their people as one, all while healing their world that was in desperate need of mending. And then when it finally did happen, it touched my heart and made me cry harder then I've cried in a long time. But that's no surprise, because Stacey Jay's books always seem to do that to me. And I'm so glad that I finally gave this book a shot, because it was nothing short of magical...
The world-building was unique and fantastically crafted, with a plot that was so different then anything I've ever read! When this book was over I was dying for the second book, but then I remembered that it was a standalone and I wanted to scream! OF BEAST AND BEAUTY was utterly beautiful and heartthrobingly painful at the same time. Life outside the domed city was harsh as people were starving, sick, and without any help from others. But for the people that lived in the domed city, life was fair and they pretty much had whatever they need to survive. Well as long as their queen sacrificed her life to feed the enchanted roses that is. If not, the city would quickly fall and become an onslaught of death and ruins. But they're were also regular people in the domed city that displayed minor Monstrous traits too. And though they weren't exiled out of the city, they were still outcasted and pushed to their own side of Yuan, but were luckily given the means to survive, unlike the Monstrous beyond the dome. It was all just so sad and painful to read, but also exciting and addicting.
ENTER A WORLD OF SECRETS AND SACRIFICE...
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
In a time when the world was divided, one girl and one boy will have the chance to restore its beauty well beyond the limits of healing. And the opportunity to save their people from the darkness that feeds through teeth of cursed roses. And to defy all sense of normality, all in the name of love. But only if they're able to look beyond the outer shell of a beast, and see the true beauty that lies within. If not, all will be lost to them, and the darkness will forever rule, in blood...
After the world divided, and the Smooth Skins locked the Monstrous from their domed cities, the Smooth Skins continued to grow and prosper, while shunning the Monstrous and refusing them any aid whatsoever. And thus fueling the burning hatred that sizzled and spread through the Monstrous hearts. The Smooth Skins are the Monstrous's betters, and prove it only with their beauty. They fear the Monstrous for their animistic traits and are unwilling to see reason. So for many years the Smooth Skins thrived in their domed cities, forcing the Monstrous to remain exiled on the outskirts in the deserted desert, starving and dying quicker then they're born. But all this time both sides were unaware of the curse cast upon them, and the evil that's fueling them...
Isra, the blind Princess of the domed city of Yuan is unaware of the circumstance her city is enduring. All princess Isra has known since she was a child was darkness, with only glimpses of light that bless her through the blood she feds the enchanted roses. Hoping to see the world around her, and anything beyond the darkness that has haunted her the fateful night her mother committed suicide, and thus feeding the roses and sustaining the city for another 15 to 30 years with her sacrifice. But the time is drawling near when Isra will have to feed the roses, and sustain life, by giving her life...
Isra was raised as a human sacrifice, raised knowing one day she would die to save her city. Knowing her spilled blood will give her people another 15 to 30 years of life and prosperity. But everything she once thought changes when she comes face to face with the beast she's always feared, and he reveals what true beauty really means...
When the Monstrous break through the dome to steal their cities enchanted roses, Isra is attacked by a beast with scales and vicious claws. She's sure he's the monster she's been warned about, but when he speaks and allows a blind girl to see him with her hands, Isra knows he cannot be the monster her people claim. But when Isra is finally reunited with her sight, she sees the world through new eyes, and the horrifying truth is more then she can bare. Determined to enforce change, Isra sets out to save her people, Gem's people, and possibly even herself from the wicked curse that has unknowingly haunted them all for years...
Overall, OF BEAST AND BEAUTY was a magical retelling of our favorite fairytale Beauty and the Beast, and breathes a breath of fresh air to this enchanted world that is sure to make you yearn for more of this breathtaking romance. If you enjoy dystopian-like worlds, with twisted fairytales, and a magical romance that is utterly beautiful, and one girl and one boy destine to change the future, then OF BEAST AND BEAUTY is an enchanting tale you won't want to slip through your fingers!!
Most recent customer reviews
I actually didn’t have super high expectations going into this book—I don’t know why.Read more