Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay


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.

My Thoughts:  What a wonderful and exquisite book this was! Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I enjoy reading spin-off stories of this tale. Of Beast and Beauty takes the classic fairy tale to a whole different direction that absolutely worked!
Even though this was based on the Beauty and Beast fairy tale, the story was very unique. It was far from the original tale yet there were still many elements that made it similar. We still had the beautiful girl, the angry beast, the "witch" who casts the spell, and the roses in the garden. However, the story took place in a different planet, the beautiful girl was a queen, the beast was the prisoner, the roses were "evil", and there was sacrifice.  I wanted to know more about the characters, the customs in this world, and what would happen with the roses. I was captivated from the very beginning all the way to the end of the book.
Another thing that I loved about this book was the characters.  Some were loveable while others were simply hated. Isra was a perfect example of a female heroine. Even though she was blind, she was brave, kind-hearted, fair, and intelligent. Next, there was Gem. Though he was full of hate in the beginning, he did not allow his hatred towards the Smooth Skins cloud his judgment. He was large and masculine, which made him very attractive. Then we had two unlikeable characters: Bo and Junjie. Junjie was the late king's advisor who did despicable things to obtain power. Bo was Junjie's son who was full of himself, was spoiled, and was easily manipulated by Junjie. I came to dislike these two characters right away in the book. The fact that the characters were able to make me fall in love with them while others made me feel antipathy towards, shows that the author did a great job in making them connectable to the reader. 

The romance in the book was also a winner for me. It was not the cheesy kind that one reads in YA books. The romance was more meaningful and real. I absolutely loved how the author had Isra and Gem spend time together, though in unfortunate circumstances, and had them slowly fall in love with one another. When their feelings were finally revealed to each other, my heart was pumping and I was sighing the whole time. I even re-read this scene on how heart-warming it was. The romance in this book sure got some kudo points from me.

What I loved about the book the most was the ending. It was such a beautiful and perfect ending! I would not say much about in order to avoid spoilers, but I simply loved how it had the best solution to the problem of this book. I did not feel that I was short-changed at all. I felt like this was a great way to complete such a gorgeous tale.

Overall, this was a wonderful book! I loved how it was based on the classic fairy tale, how it was still unique, how loveable/unlikeable the characters were, how real the romance was, and how beautiful the book ended. It has become a new favorite of mine. I rate it:



  1. OOoh nice review! I still need to read this one myself. Planning on it for June as I got some review books to get through and then I'm going to likely add a whole lot more to my plate in the coming weeks! But glad to hear that it was an amazing read! Heard lots of good things about this one, which is why I bought it last year!

    Great review, again!

    1. When you finally get the chance to read it, I really hope you enjoy it.

      Thank you for stopping by, Jessica!

  2. This is a very nice review indeed! I greatly enjoyed reading this novel myself, not only because of the romance -- which was very well-handled by the author, by the way -- but also because of the great messages it contained. The themes of the evils of prejudice, the equality of the sexes, and being in harmony with the planet were beautifully woven into the story, with no 'preachy tone' whatsoever.

    Both of us were totally just sighing away when that awesome kiss scene came up in the book....the romance was so wonderful! And yet, it was realistic, not the 'love at first sight' so common in YA books.

    I agree with you about the great characters. Isra and Gem were, as you say, very easy to relate to. As for the evil Junjie, he's very definitely a horrible villain! He's SO despicable!

    And now about Bo. You know, I never mentioned this, but at times I found my opinion of him changing -- one minute I kinda liked him, the next, I couldn't stand him! I think that was because he never could decide for himself exactly what he wanted, and how he felt about Isra. It was like he wanted to do the right thing, but somehow couldn't. Toward the end, though, I liked how he really stood up to Junjie, perhaps for the very first time in his life!

    This book was definitely a truly AMAZING read!!! Stacey Jay is now one of my favorite authors, for sure, and I'll be checking out her other books!!

    It's been GREAT participating in the read-along with you!! I'm looking forward to our next one!! : )

    1. Thank you so much for introducing this book to me. I have never heard of it before you and probably would not have picked it up for a while if it wasn't for this read-along.

      I too want to check out Stacey Jay's other books. The ones on Romeo and Juliet really sound interesting.

      Now when it comes to Bo, I could see how he "redeemed" himself towards the end. Unfortunately for me, I still found him annoying and unlikeable.

      Pues, this was fun once again! Thanks for everything!