*Mini-post by the Belle*
Author: Meagan Spooner
Summary: Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones — and in her blood.
She knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. But Yeva’s grown up far from her father’s old lodge, raised to be part of the city’s highest caste of artistocrates. Still, she’s never forgotten the feel of a bow in her hands, and she’s spent a lifetime longing for the freedom of the hunt.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman.
But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory — a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s heard about only in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin — or salvation.
Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?
Belle Rating: B-
Target Audience: Young Adult
Story Notes: The last fairytale retelling went very poorly so I was a bit hesitant when I began reading this one. But I could not put this book down! We begin with Yeva sitting around with some of the noble women in the town she’s living in, clearly unhappy because she’s away from the woods. So when she’s able to come up with an excuse to leave, she’s relieved and makes her way back home. Everything seems fine and dandy. You get to meet her sisters and her father. However, that night her father finds out that his trading caravan was attacked and ransacked. He had lost everything and had no way of paying off his investors. So Yeva, her father, and her two older sisters had no choice but to sell everything they could afford to leave behind, and stay in his old lodge. Yeva is at home in the woods. She thrives there. But she soon realizes that her father’s mind is not the same…he has become obsessed with finding the Beast, a creature from his stories he’d tell Yeva as a child. He doesn’t come home for days on end. So when his loyal hunting dog returns without his master, Yeva knows something is wrong and sets off to find him. After several days of following the tracks left by the hound, she stumbles across the remains of her father…and just up ahead she sees it. The Beast. A massive, black, wolf-like creature. And in her rage, she fires a shot at the monstrosity and hits it. As it flees, she stalks after it with the motive to finish it off to quench her need for vengeance. She finds it heaving in the snow. Barely breathing. And as she raises her father’s axe to strike the fatal blow, the Beast attacks. Everything goes black. She awakens in a cold, dark cell. She can hear something…someone…which I think we can all determine who…or what…it is. The rest of the story is Yeva being trained by the Beast to hunt something he refuses to tell her…all the while trying her hardest to find a way to kill the Beast to avenge her father’s death. However, she begins to see glimpses of tenderness from the Beast. And, after a series of events that I do not wish to say for risk of major spoilage, the Beast releases her. Things have changed…and Yeva has a strong desire to return to the Beast to try to save him…but the real question is: Does she make it back in time?
Writing Style: At the start, the writing style is straightforward and clean. You know where things are going and it is easy to follow. I really could not put it down. After the Beast lets Yeva leave, however, is when the writing started to fall short for me. It just didn’t have the same sort of flow and ease as the rest of the book did and I think it could’ve been written better.
Weaknesses: The ending. Holy cow. I was not pleased with how the author chose to write the ending. I understand what Yeva had to do. In fact, I was expecting it to happen (which wasn’t a problem for me in this case). But it just….sigh….I’ve said it before: it could’ve been better…I’ll just leave it at that so I don’t give something away…
Strengths: I absolutely loved the Beast. It’s story, the magic involved, everything!! The author was also very smart to include just a few sentences before every chapter through the perspective of the Beast, which I think made me love it even more. I also loved the fact that Yeva was such a strong and hard-headed character. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never pictured Beauty from Beauty and the Beast as a weak person/character. But I find it refreshing to see a girl that can hunt and loves the woods (yea, yea it’s done a lot) and wants to destroy the Beast, herself.
Final Thoughts: I would totally recommend this book to anyone I see. Just read it already!! I hope you love the Beast as much as I do!!