March 6, 2015

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Series: N/A
Source: Bought hardcover
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2013
Age Genre: YA
Challenges: TBR
Challenges: Flight of Fantasy
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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.


Oh my. Oh my. I never expected this book to be... this book. I mean, it was on my GR TBR for so long. First, I saw the gorgeous cover, than read the title and found out it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling (duh), and I was sold. But I did not expect this world, which is actually a bit of sci-fi and a lot of magic, or the beautiful writing, or the captivating characters. And I did not expect to feel like calling this a retelling is belittling it.

In Of Beast and Beauty, there is no clear "beast" and no clear "beauty".

Isra is a blind princess doomed to a horrible fate. She is strong, opinionated, kind, but also very much a prisoner in her own city. She thinks herself "tainted" by the mutation her people fears so much, and instead of being Belle enslaved by the beast, she is the one who does the enslaving when she meets Gem, a Monstrous, as he is infiltrating her city and makes him a prisoner.
Gem may be a beast in his appearance, but he is such a good person. He only thinks of the best of his people, can't kill even when his duty tells him he must. He tries to hate and yet he can't. And no matter his motivations, he treats Isra with kindness and attention. The (almost) only person in her life who does.

These two are just... *sigh* I mean, seriously, the shipping is crazy. They just... work! They bring the best in each other, they encourage each other to be better, they open each other's eyes. They're also HAWT like lava and so very delicious. And the best part? It takes time for their relationship to grow. They start as semi enemies, then reluctant partners, then friends, then... more. It's beautiful!
Then there's Gaston--I mean, Bo. Occasionally, we get a glimpse into his pov. That was smart, because Jay lets us see Gaston Bo is not a bad person. He is a product of years of prejudice and false information. He truly believes what he's doing is right, and he does have a heart and a sense of right and wrong. He just can't look past all he's been told to see the truth.
okay, Bo is no monster, but how was I supposed to resist?
Another character worth mentioning is Needle, Isra's maid. I love this girl, and I kind of really really wanted to see her happy with someone. I'm all for Jay writing a sequel for Needle, maybe with Gem's brother? I feel like she could really teach him compassion and love...

The ending of this book was so amazing! And quite different than the Disney ending.

Honestly, I don't have enough words to recommend this book with. Just read it, please. It deserves more love!

   Nitzan

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8 comments:

  1. When I read "a bit of sci-fi and a lot of magic, or the beautiful writing, or the captivating characters" I was like yep, gotta read it. And then I read the rest of your review and yeah... I'm once again sold! lol And I love the Beauty and the Beast gif, of course!

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  2. So glad you're sold, because fans of retelling (or just good books) NEED to read this one! I was so impressed by it!
    But I am SO sad with what happened to the author. I read about it a week before reading Of Beast and Beauty and I was shocked when I realized it's the same author and so brokenhearted!

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  3. What happened? Nothing too bad, I hope? :s

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  4. I'm not really a fan of retellings but this book caught my eye after everyone started tweeting about the author's books about two months back. Went ahead and bought it form Amazon and it's sitting on my shelf ever since. I've heard so much about how great the writing in the book is and I can't wait till I have some free time to get started on this book.

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  5. It's really unfortunate what happened to Stacey. I was extremely sad when I realized the author having all that trouble is the same author who wrote this book... especially since she decided she will not be writing under Stacey Jay again due to all that happened.
    This book is really great! I hope you'll find the time to read it soon, and I hope you'll love it as much as I did! It was really such a pleasant surprise to be so wowed by this book :)

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  6. A lot bad, actually. Her publisher dropped her, but she still wanted to publish the sequel to her Princess of Thorns (I think that's the name of the book). So she started something like a kickstarter that was like pre-ordering the book, so she could actually live while writing the sequel the fans asked for. A lot of the fans supported this, but than a backlash of "how dare she" and stuff like that started... You can read about this (and how it was pretty much ridiculous) here: http://marnibates.com/2015/01/07/stacey-jay-veronica-mars-and-the-kickstarter-controversy/
    In response she wrote a big blog post (which I think is now down, because her blog is down), where she explained a lot (and how, actually, even with the help of the crowdfunding, she would've LOST money and would have still struggled day-to-day, but she wanted to do it anyways), and at the end of it she stated she will no longer write under Stacey Jay. She has a pen name (or Stacey Jay is a pen name, not sure) under which she writes successful romances, and she will continue to write under that one, but no longer as Stacey Jay. She was burned really badly by this entire thing *sigh*

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  7. Wow, that sucks! I know another author who's publisher dropped one of her series but luckily she managed to publish the next book herself and at least that way she could go in whatever direction she wanted. But hate when that happens to authors... =/

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  8. It royally sucks :( I really love her writing style, and it just hurts my heart to know how much she suffered for trying to publish her book...

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