By Sarah J. Maas
Wow, so here’s a book to start us off. A classic Beauty and the Beast retelling, it sounded kind of like a recipe for disaster but I’m going to be honest, it wasn’t.
Before we get in too deep, here’s the summary via Goodreads:
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
Now, if you haven’t yet read the book, this might contain some spoilers:
Okay, so this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am spectacularly picky about what I read. If it’s a cliche, I’m usually out faster than satellite TV on a cloudy day; so the fact that I was drawn into this book immediately was definitely a good sign.
So our initial cast of characters consists of Feyre, our slightly more grizzled Belle with an affinity for hunting rather than books. Tamlin, the beast both literally and figuratively in this instance, of course for the purposes of this YA book his animal form comes and goes, often replaced by the much hunkier, 6-pack-weilding human form (but he’s always wearing a mask in his human form so still uber beastly).
We have Lucien, the character who is a mix of Cogsworth and Lumiere, all rolled up into one angst-ridden best friend character. There’s Rhysand, the tall, dark and — you guessed it– angsty character of questionable morals, the second in command/love slave to Amarantha, the evil Fairy who has basically enslaved everyone except, conveniently, Tamlin and Co.
So what I liked about this book was that
A) It is extremely well written. Like, honestly, Maas’ writing kept me from the second I downloaded this book onto my scratched-to-hell Kindle, to the moment I finished it and went in search of the sequel.
B) Rhysand is my favorite kind of hero. Call him an anti-hero if you must, but he had more dimension in his few scenes than Tamlin had in this entire damn book.
C) The way the plot worked it felt like you got two books instead of one. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like there’s an entire book in the first half, where Feyre just lives in Tamlin’s house, and a whole second book taking place under the Mountain™️.
What I wasn’t particularly a fan of:
A) Is it me or was Tamlin a little aggressive? Like I get it, he’s got the whole brooding hero thing going on, but come on, eat a Snickers and calm down dude, it’s so extra.
B) Feyre’s family reacted surprisingly well to their main provider being swept out the door by a bloodthirsty animal and replaced with a clearly fake story about tending to an ill aunt, all because the fake story came in the company of an obscene amount of cash. Like come on, is nothing sacred?
So would I recommend this book? You bet.
If you like Beauty and the Beast, either the OG or the Emma Watson versions (why not both?), and you like YA books, this is definitely one you should check out.
If everything up until this point has sounded vomit inducing and like it would put you in a blind rage to spend $7.99 on then I would say maybe try something else (or not, you do you man).
Overall, this book gets a 4/5 stars, good writing, developed characters and it managed to do the whole “hey let’s just retell this fairytale” thing in a way that added to the plot instead of just making everything in the story feel lazy and contrived.
Go read it.
You do you.