Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?
The dedication and acknowledgements in this book were so amazing, usually I always notice them, but hardly to they actually make an impact on me.
This is a bit slow to start, but I really love Yeva and her quest to fit in with her family, even though she knows she’s different. And they know, but they all love each other all the more for their differences. It’s so nice to see such a healthy and supportive family depicted, usually we get the jealous sisters, indifferent brothers, uninterested/absent/abusive parents.
The retelling is so original, but still stays true to the core of the traditional story. I really enjoyed how the dynamic between the beast and Yeva develops. And the snippets from Beasts POV. We can see his humanity slowly breaking through the surface as Yeva challenges him and spends time with him. Similarly, she is burdened with the pressure to assimilate to common culture but in her time with him becomes free to discover herself. Once the two separate is when it becomes clear how much of a relationship they’ve actually developed.
I can’t say enough how well don’t the familial relationships are executed. There is a lot of potential for drama on Yeva’s return, but the sisters love for each other overcomes any of that. And the sense of self Yeva developed with the Beast translates into a confidence around her sisters to speak her mind and find a harmony with them and all their new situations. Similarly the Gaston character is nothing like the arrogant bully of the Disney renditions, he’s kind and truly cares for Yeva, and the two are able to establish a solid friendship that both take comfort in.
The ending did fell a little rushed in the development/silidification of the romantic relationship between Beast and Yeva, but one of the things I liked so much about this story was that it wasn’t all about love. I think it made sense the epiphany of Yeva’s feelings, though I did feel I missed out on seeing the two interact more as a couple.
Overall, this was fantastic.