Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Of Beast and Beauty Read-Along: Week 1 Discussion Questions

Welcome to the first week 
of the read-along:
 Of Beast and Beauty
It is hosted by 
A Night's Dream of Books
and Vonnie's Reading Corner!
This Read-Along will run from 
April 1st to April 30th, 2014!!
You can still sign up, so come on 
in and join the fun here!!

Week 1 Discussion Questions
"In the Beginning - Chapter 6
A Night's Dream of Books
April 9th

1.)  In the prologue, which is titled "In the Beginning", who is the voice that speaks to the young princess Isra?

When reading the beginning the first time, it made me immediately think of the witch who curses the prince into a beast. The voice in this story must be the "witch" from the original story. 

However in this world, this being was more of a goddess than a witch, she was the "Pure Heart." The Pure Heart was deeply saddened about the humans that inhabited her world. These humans were self-centered and mean. They came to despised the Pure Heart because of her power. They even killed her causing her to curse them.

Reading the beginning a second time made me think that the voice not only told stories to Isra, but perhaps the voice is the reason why the royal women have become "crazy."

2.)  Do you think the Pure Heart is as good as it wants Isra to believe it is? Why or why not?

I think perhaps the Pure Heart did start off as being something good but over the years has became a little evil. Witnessing how the Smooth Skins and the Monstrous act with each other and how they refuse to acknowledge the Pure Heart has made the Pure Heart become bitter. We see this on how the roses in the royal garden react. The roses crave blood. Things that crave blood are usually seen as something negative in stories. 

Good or not, I think there's more to the Pure Heart than what we have read so far.  

3.)  What kind of roses grow in the royal gardens of the city of Yuan?

There are magical roses growing in the royal gardens. They are viewed as the city's reason for its survival, but the roses seem to have a dark side to them. First, the roses crave blood especially that of a royal female. Next, they seems to have a mind of its own since it moves on its own accord. Last, there was a reason why Isra's father forbade Isra to visit the roses after she got pricked when she was young. I think the roses hold an evil secret that would lead to the fall of the Yuan city.

4.)  Why does Isra feel compelled to walk through the rose garden at night?

Isra is not allowed to be out of her room and she's definitely not allowed to visit the roses. But the roses are the key to helping her see, at least for a little bit. Because of this knowledge of the roses' power, Isra feels that the only way to get to them is by sneaking out at night when no one will notice her. 

5.)  Why does Isra believe she's "tainted"?

To the Smooth Skins, anyone with some sort of abnormality is seen as ugly or "tainted." These people with "Monstrous" traits become outcasts from the city. 

Isra's skin is not normal for it peels all over from her head down. She's also tall, which is abnormal for the Yuan people. It also doesn't help that she's blind. Because of these unfortunate traits, Isra believes that she's "tainted" for she is "ugly" in Yuan's standards. 

6.)  What is your impression of Gem, the Monstruous captured in the garden?

I immediately fell for Gem! I feel completely sorry for him yet I think he's a wonderful character. He'd been hurt and he and his people were suffering. He had also been wronged by the Smooth Skins so it made sense as to why he held a grudge against them. Though he tried to pretend to be a victim, I liked how we can still see his true nature shown as the story progressed. 

7.)  Why did Gem enter the city of Yuan?

Gem and others from his home went to the city of Yuan to steal some of the roses. They believed that the roses held the secret to Yuan's ability to thrive, so the Monstrous are hoping that the roses' power will help them as well. The roses are their last hope of surviving. 

8.)  What is your impression of Isra?

I find Isra to be a very admirable character. Though she is blind, the is not afraid to sneak around the castle and climb things. When she becomes queen, she immediately realizes what her role is. Yes, she's still a little weak and does not realize how much potential she has, but that's what makes her more real. 

9.)  What do the rulers of Yuan have to do, in order to ensure that their city will thrive?

In order for the city to thrive, the rulers must sacrifice a female of the royal family to the roses. The women are killed in the royal garden where their blood would soak into the roses. The blood nourishes the blood-thirsty roses, which ultimately helps keep the city thriving with the roses' magical powers.

10.)  Why do the Monstruous and the Smooth Skins hate each other? 

The Smooth Skins do no like anyone who is a little bit abnormal. They see these mutations as "ugly" and unworthy. The Smooth Skins are very self-centered so they kick out anyone who is different just so the mutation doesn't spread.

The Monstrous hate the Smooth Skins for how unfairly they have been treated by the Smooth Skins. While the Smooth Skins have food and protection, the Monstrous are outside fending for their lives and are starving. 


Post and Reading Schedule
for the Rest of the Read-Along

Week 2 Discussion Questions
Chapters 7 - 13
Vonnie's Reading Corner
April 16th 

Week 3 Discussion Questions
Chapters 14 - 20
A Night's Dream of Books
April 23rd

Week 4 Discussion Questions
Chapter 21 - "In the Beginning" (Epilogue)
Vonnie's Reading Corner
April 30th

Wrap-up & Reviews
A Night's Dream of Books
Vonnie's Reading Corner
All Participants
May 1st

All participants should post reviews
for the wrap-up on May 1st,
and are encouraged to
hop around and comment
on each other's reviews.

Week 2's Questions to be answered 
on April 16th

1. The Smooth Skins live under a dome. Why is that? What would happen if the dome ever got damaged?
2. Why does Isra want to spend time gardening with Gem? Why does Gem want to spend time with Isra? What is actually happening as they spend time together?
3. What are your thoughts on Bo? 
Are his feelings for Isra genuine?
4. Discuss how mutated Smooth Skins are treated.
5. What are the reasons behind of Isra’s tea poisoning? How long do you think this has been going on?
6. Why is it only the women of the royal family being sacrificed to the roses? 
7. Why is Isra so desperate to find a cure for the mutations instead of changing the laws as queen like Gem suggests?
8. What is the significance of Isra remembering and dreaming about her mother?
9. What did you think of Isra and Gem’s first kiss?
10. After Bo discovers that Isra is not in her room, what do you think will happen?


If at least 10 blogs sign up to participate,
(you can still do so at the 
bottom of this post)
Vonnie and I will hold 
a giveaway, so
please spread the word!!
You will get THREE entries
in the Rafflecopter if you 
help to bring in participants!!!


Don't forget to visit Maria and see how she responded to this week's questions.  


  1. Vonnie, you've given some very detailed answers to these questions, which is great, because that means this novel has really impressed you. I feel the same way. I know I'm giving this book a glowing review! And now I want to read more novels by Stacey Jay!!

    I see that you liked Gem right away! It took me a few pages, but then I fell for him, head over heels!! It was wonderful to read about his gradual admiration and liking for Isra, in spite of the hatred he feels for her people. So now I'm Team Gem!! YAY!!

    As for Isra, the girl has GUTS. She's very compassionate and sweet, but, when she begins to realize that there is something horribly wrong with the city of Yuan, she becomes determined to do her best to resolve the situation. And she's willing to become better acquainted with Gem, even though she has been taught, her entire life, that his people are the enemy.

    So here we are again, discussing another exciting book! It's nice to once again exchange ideas with you about another great read! : )

    1. I was having a hard time trying to write out what I felt about Isra, but you got it! She does have GUTS!! I know I wouldn't do many of the things she did, and I'm not even blind!

      Yes, I'm super excited that we are doing another read-along. If it wasn't for you, I would have never heard of and/or read this book. I am loving it so far!