Huh. Color me disappointed. This was not a Beauty and the Beast tale. Perhaps I am a bit harsh in judging because that one just happens to be my favorite among the fairytale, but I do not think so.
If it hadn’t been marketed as a “thrilling retelling”, and was given the moniker ” slow paces fantasy romance”, I might have been better prepared for what I encountered. These characters were flat. The world building was incomplete. The ploy trudged along at a snail’s pace while that snail happened to be on acid. The half leading explanations and deliberate mucking of the waters became old very quickly. And the promised ancient big and bad that will sweep across the land? A let down. It isn’t “going” to do anything. It was already there! And it was more of a hissy fit than a terror.
Let me start with how the story is supposed to go. You’ve got yourself a vain and slightly cruel man who gets himself cursed for his vanity. Enter in the only way to break the curse: the most unlikely of creatures must fall in love with the man. Time limits may or may not apply here (I confess the Disney rose holds a special place in my heart). But after years of loneliness for our beast, someone’s daddy messes up and gets his daughter sentenced to prison time. After many misunderstandings and an inevitable escape attempt one or the other begins to see the good in the other. This leads to love. Then the beast sets her free and she somehow makes it back to him. He becomes a better man because of loving her and she shows the world he is more than even he knew he could be.
Now for this “retelling”. Our Beast is not a true Beast at all but rather a very freaking attractive fae! He can ” transform”, but that isn’t his curse. I’ll admit that he isn’t a smooth talker, but ultimately he is fighting for his people so vanity is a nonstarter as well.
Our Beauty is drug into fae because she killed a fae who was masquerading as wolf for highly shady reasons. Suddenly the Beast comes bounding through her door to kidnap her for our mysterious Treaty between humans and fae. A life for a life apparently means for your crimes you get to live in the lap of luxury and NEVER want for anything again.
Enter some snide remarks and a save the day scenario and suddenly our heroine is falling for her capture. It is all…so freaking EASY. So pat.
The story started off great. Freye has a horrid useless dad and two selfish sisters that she slaves to keep alive. She is the sole provider and huntress. Then she kills the wolf and is taken to fae.
From here you get about 400 pgs of pure love story.
Then the story starts to get better. Freye is forced to win her man and save the world. For this she faces a manipulative court and some nasty trials. Except, the evil just wasn’t all that interesting and the curse felt like an afterthought. The political and magical systems were left by the wayside. I didn’t feel like they were explained to any satisfaction. Which was a downer because the promise of eventual explanation was why I stuck it out and finished the book.
For me this story just wasn’t up to snuff.