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Of Beast and Beauty

Of Beast and Beauty is a YA fantasy reimagining of Beauty and the Beast by Stacey Jay.

Inside the domed city of Yuan live the Smooth Skins – of which blind Isra is the princess.

Despite being blind, she knows she is a hideous blemish on her people and has been held in a tower, unseen by the Smooth Skins, since her mother’s death.

But does it matter? She’s been raised to be a human sacrifice anyway – a girl whose death will mean the prosperity of the Smooth Skins for years to come.

Outside Yuan is the vast, barren desert where those they call the Monstrous live. As they fight starvation, Gem is one of many that cross the border into Yuan to search for food for their loved ones.

When caught, Gem becomes a prisoner of Isra and the question of who is the monstrous becomes more pressing than ever before.

Isra’s way of life is called into question by her association with Gem – who she begins to consider intelligent, compassionate and wholly human – not monstrous at all despite his claws and hardened skin.

A deadly, dangerous choice lies in their future…

Of Beast and Beauty floored me.

To begin with, Stacey Jay writes in a tone that is disturbing, gritty and very edgy. She makes Of Beast and Beauty more reminiscent of the Grimm type original stories – a version that is more gory and chilling, but still all its own.

There’s elegance to the evolution of the characters and plot. It’s stunningly romantic – a love story that sets aside all superficiality and continually surprises you.

I cannot say I love it more than the Disney version, or other retellings, but this novel stands all on its own.

This is a new story – engrossing and increasingly beautiful as the pages turn. All of my initial doubts faded as I was pulled deeper and deeper into the novel.

Of Beast and Beauty is heartbreaking and intense.

Truly a stunning book – I loved it!!!

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