Of Beast and Beauty is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with an almost dystopia feel to it with the added undertows of an Asian background (or maybe it was just the names that threw me.) Unlike the original, in this story the beast is held captive, by the Princess after attempting to steal roses from the sacred garden in the domed city of Yuan. Which he believes to be the salvation of his people who are slowly dying out in the desert.
Isra; the Princess of our tale, has so many elements to her. Being blind, has meant that she has been hidden and held captive from the city by her father for most of her life. Upon his death and her success to the throne she is still constantly kept in the dark. She is seen as weak and unable to truly rule a city. However despite this weakness, her character is defiant and strong and lives her own life in spite of her disability. Every night she rebelliously crawls out of her tower to visit the sacred garden and explore a city where she has never been truly accepted due to her slightly monstrous deformities. She even ventures outside of the domed walls of her city to help her people, in search of a cure for the monstrous deformities plaguing some of its civilians.
The book is told from two perspectives, which means you really get into the minds of each character, understanding their motives, their hopes, their feelings. Both of the characters are written extraordinarily, and they each grow and develop so much throughout the book. The romance between them is not overdone, and is sweet and buddy like a rose.
Things I loved about the book:
- The intro was beautifully written and explained how the division between the Monstrous and city inhabitants came to be, and how the curse began.
- The slow developing romance, that happened gradually and authentically.
- While the curse differed from the original, the symbolism still remained.
My rating: 4/5