“We curse everything, for we are cursed, and we have no arms to shelter her and no lips to press to her hair and above all no words to tell her that we know loss and we know pain and if they were monsters we could fight we would have slain them in her name long ago like the heroes of old. But we are not a hero. We are cursed.”
This book was magical. Completely magical. This world building was AMAZING and the characters were AMAZING as well. It was my idea to read this one for the buddy read quartet (Sana, Sree, Maggie, and myself) AND I really hope they don’t end up hating this one because ITS SO GOOD. But Sana always hates everything I love, so we’ll see how this one goes. Anyways, this retelling was really interesting, and I flew through it. I didn’t like absolutely love it to the point of giving it 5 stars but I would say around 4.5 stars is where this one sits. I loved a lot of things about the book, I loved the characters, and the writing was great too! But it just wasn’t worthy of a perfect score.
There were a few things that reminded me of A Court of Thorns and Roses in the beginning, but then the story completely turned around so I’m glad of that! And Beauty and the Beast is like one of my all time favorites, it is such a great story, and the Disney version has so many great songs in it. SO needless to say, I had HIGH expectations, and they were honestly met!! Definitely one of the best retellings I’ve ever read (I haven’t read very many to be honest LOL.)
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO.
We have our main character Yeva, who has always been drawn to the outdoors. She is a hunter, and accompanies her father when he goes on hunts. It is everything that she loves most in her life and her dream is not to get married to some fancy rich dude, but instead to move into a cabin in the woods. But then a lot of things go haywire in her life, and her family has to be moved out into the woods instead of their nice fancy home in the town. Now they have to fend for themselves in the outdoors, they have to work, and try hard to live. Yeva and her sisters live in this cabin, desolate in the woods, while their father hunts. And all the time there is a magical world in the forest that most cannot see. Tales of a Beast that haunts the woods, looking for his hunter, for his redemption. The Beast find Yeva as his hunter, but this is not a fast love story like the original Beauty and the Beast. Because Yeva is very centered on murdering this Beast who took her captive. So it’s definitely interesting to see how the author brings about this retelling!
The World Building:
The world building in this book is very slow. PRAISE THE LORD. I honestly cannot stand tons of info dumping at the beginning of this book has none of that! It’s a nice slow burn that is still captivating, and is still a great story! I also love the Russian aspect in this book. It’s built off of Russian folklore (Fairy Tales?) And it’s so cool to see different tales from other countries! Honestly, read this book because it’s so good!
Yeva – Beauty:
I really enjoyed Yeva as a character. She is a very strong heroin, who loves her family, and who also loves to hunt! She isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in either, which makes her even better. I really enjoyed the twist that we have with this Beauty. She isn’t a reading, singing, fluff girl. She is very adventurous and intent on killing the Beast, not just escaping him. ALSO, the ending was amazingly beautiful and I loved it.
I loved the Beast. He was such an awesome character! The author takes such an awesome twist with him, making him more beastly than man. The human is still inside him, but he is mostly wolf/beast which was cool to see! We do get his PoV and he refers to himself as “We” because of the man and the creature inside him. He’s a very snarky and sarcastic character who makes this book 100x better! I very much enjoyed this older take on the tale, and getting to see a more grown up verison of Beauty and the Beast. Beast is in no way, super evil and heartless, but his animal side is very wild and ruthless, which I loved. He, overall, was an awesome character!
The Ending (Spoilers – Obviously):
The ending was AMAZING. I loved how it was all pulled together with this Russian folklore stuff! And how Yeva has to travel through the woods until she finds this Firebird that set the curse on the Beast. AND I flew threw the last 50 pages, and had to go back and read some scenes because I was getting confused. I didn’t think the Beast changed back into a human at first, and I was freaking out because then it would of been a human/animal relationship and I would of cringed and thrown my phone. But I went back and reread the last few paragraphs and saw that he changed into a human LOL. I really liked the whole “Ivan” and “Eovan” take on his name, IT HURT MY HEART AND GIVES THE STORY SO MUCH MORE DEPTH. I loved it so much!!!!
(Chapter 5) “This is no Beast, to lay such a trap for me. This is a hunter.”
(Chapter 6) “I spend all my time here in the forest, and find myself more at home here among the beasts that among men. By now I am more beast than man myself.”
(Chapter 12) “I will call you Beauty then,” he said. “For that is what you are.”
(Chapter 13) “Only she frees both of us. She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest – and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. She reminds us of what we used to be. She whispers to use of what we could be.”
(Chapter 14 – Spoiler) “She was a prisoner in this decaying castle, tied to the thing that had destroyed the person she loved most in all this existence.”
(Chapter 18 – Spoiler) “End, our heart cries. Stop. Empty. Please. Let us die human. Let us die remembering Beauty.”
(Chapter 28 – Major) “You are what I want most in all this world, and you came back to me. Yeva … you are the Firebird.”
(Chapter 28 – Major) “It’s the wanting that brought me here, to her. To another soul as empty as mine, and yet not empty at all, because it’s so full of everything I thought only I ever felt. Her soul against mine feels like music, like a heartbeat, like magic. Like beauty.”
Not a lot of good quotes in this one, but I did love the ones that were in there.
ANYWAYS, SOLO IS OUT.