Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Of Beast and Beauty: Week 3 Discussion

Welcome to the third week 
of the read-along:
 Of Beast and Beauty
It is hosted by 
A Night's Dream of Books
and Vonnie's Reading Corner!

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

1.) Gem's people believe that dreams are messages from their ancestors.  What do you believe about dreams?  

I somewhat agree with Gem's people on how dreams could be messages. Is it from our ancestors? No. I simply think that it's our subconscious trying to tell us something or simply trying to sort out all of our thoughts. Of course, our dreams could be interpreted in many different ways but only the dreamer would pick the right interpretation that best fits him/her. 

2.) What do you think about Bo's accusations at Isra, when she returns to the tower?

Like I mentioned before in one of last week's questions, I was a little surprised on how quickly Bo came to the conclusion that Isra was with another man. I don't believe that Isra ever gave him that impression that she was a "loose" woman unless he already figured out that there was more between Isra and Gem.

However, it doesn't matter what Isra was doing. The fact that he immediately thought those awful things about her and accused her of it without any single proof was just irrational and immature. It really showed how little he valued Isra as a woman and as a queen.

3.) How would you contrast the Smooth Skins' attitude toward women, with the attitude of the Monstrous toward theirs?

I'm going to do a little comparison: The Smooth Skins' are the early Europeans and the Monstrous were the Native Americans. 

Why do I say this? Like the early Europeans, the Smooth Skins did not value women other than property. What a woman had to say did not matter. She was only there to please the covenant and her husband. She was not worth much, just the way Europeans viewed women.

Next, the Monstrous are like the Native Americans because they viewed women more like equals. Yes, there were obvious separation of jobs when it came to gender but women were more valued. In the Monstrous tribe, the leader was a woman and was highly respected. In Native American culture, women might not have been able to be chiefs in many tribes but they did hold council and were given the right to make decisions. 

What am I trying to say? The Monstrous valued women more than the Smooth Skins did.

I hope this made sense.

4.) What do you think about Isra's relationship with her nursemaid, Needle?

I think they have a beautiful relationship. They were put together to keep each other company since they were both seen abnormal in Yuan's standards. The years together have made them into friends, sisters, and mother & daughter. 

I love how Isra didn't really treat Needle like a servant. Yes, Needle did Isra's bidding but I see it more as a mother taking care of her child. Needle was everything to Isra. Without her, Isra would have completely been lost and would not have been the woman that she grew up to be.

5.) Were you surprised when Isra's sight suddenly returned?  Why or why not?

No, I was not surprised that Isra got her sight back. It was hinted that her sight would eventual come back. Isra stopped drinking the poisoned tea and slowly the poison's effects drained out of her system. Isra experienced an addiction withdrawal to the poison, thus she felt very sick. The argument that she was having with Bo only seemed to speed up the process. Once her sight came back, all her symptoms went away.

6.) Why do you think Isra's feelings about what her people think of her have changed?

Isra's feelings changed due to being with Gem. Being with him made her realize that the Monstrous were not really monsters and that she was actually a strong person. She became more confident while being out in the desert and was able to see that she needed to stay firm by showing her people that she is the one ruling, not Junjie.

7.) Why do you think Isra was so reluctant to see herself in the mirror?  

Isra was reluctant to see in the mirror because she thought she was "tainted." For years she was fed the belief that she was not normal and was the reason why she was locked up. By looking in the mirror, it would show Isra the truth of who she really was. She was also scared to think that what she grew up to believe in were all lies, which would mean that her father had lied to her all these years. Learning that her father betrayed her was a great fear of hers. 

8.) Why is the covenant between the city of Yuan and the Dark Heart a binding one?

The covenant between Yuan and the Dark Heart were binding because it was signed in blood. Usually anything that is signed by blood cannot be broken without a big consequence. Is like agreeing to sale your soul to the devil.

9.) How did the first covenant come to be signed?

According to the Yuan's tales, a queen had a vision that allowed her to see how things could improve in Yuan. Desperate to end the suffering in Yuan, she told the advisors. This lead to the creation of the covenant, all the nobles sigining it in blood, and having the queen sacrificed.

10.) After reading Chapter 20, what do you think of Junjie?

Junjie was a despicable man! Enough said!


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

Week 4 Discussion Questions
Chapter 21 - "In the Beginning" (Epilogue)
Vonnie's Reading Corner
April 29th

Wrap-up & Reviews
A Night's Dream of Books
Vonnie's Reading Corner
April 30th

Week 4's Questions to be answered April 29th and review the following day! 

1.       Who is really benefiting in the dome?

2.       Why are the nobles the only ones spared from the majority of the mutations?

3.       Are the royal women really “mad” ?

4.       Why are the men (the advisors) afraid of change?

5.       Why did the roses attack Isra?

6.       Why does Bo keep trying to protect Isra after the wedding even though he knew she had to die?

7.       What truths were revealed in Ana’s diary?

8.       How does Isra think she could destroy the Dark Heart?

9.       How does the spell get broken at the end?

10.   What are your thoughts on the “new skin” that everyone gets?

11.   Why do you think the book ends with “In the Beginning”?

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


  1. Hi, Vonnie!

    Great answers, as usual!

    I really like your take on the differences between the Smooth Skins and the Monstrou!!. You know, your comparison really hits the nail on the head; I don't know why I didn't see that the Smooth Skins are really like the European conquerors, and the Monstrous like the Native Americans. Now I think that it was the author's intention to contrast these two historical groups through the fictional ones she created. It's AWESOME that you caught that!!

    I can't believe what a FABULOUS read this book is! It can be enjoyed on so many levels!

    I'm looking forward to your answers next week, as well as your review!! : )

    1. I'm so glad that my comparisons made sense! I had all these thoughts going through my head that made it hard for me to put it into words.

      Hijole...I want to say some other things but that's concerning in next week's discussion. I sure need to be patient!