RELEASED: July 10, 2018 (today!)
PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press
GENRE: YA Fantasy (retelling)
GOODREADS RATING: 3.52
TRIGGERS: Abuse, rape, one very short scene of animal death that was fairly graphic (for me, at least), discussion of suicide and abortion
Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen’s multilayered novel will make you question all you think you know about beauty, beastliness, and happily ever after.
They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.
If it wasn’t obvious yet, this is a Beauty and the Beast-retelling. You all know I love my retellings so I could hardly pass up on this one! Did I like it? Or was it a disappointment? Let’s find out!
I’ll start by answering the biggest question – and automatically the question I just asked myself – because: Yes, I liked the way this story went down! I can’t really elaborate since that would spoil half the story but to me, this is a pretty good retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Virtue is yours to make of what you will, by your actions, by your character. No one else can ever take it from you.
Our main characters are Lucie and Jean-Loup / Beast.
Lucie herself is very focused on getting revenge, wanting to see Beast suffer. She honestly doesn’t bother with anything else but that. I could totally understand why she was like that, but on the other hand… I have to admit I wouldn’t go down that road myself. I’m more of a “not investing time in horrible people whatsoever”-kind of person, while.. she is not.
As for Jean-Loup / Beast, I loathed him. I absolutely bloody loathed him. The way Lisa Jensen made me go from that hate to having pity… I admire it because we all know it isn’t easy to change a reader’s mind on characters, ha. Although I believe I won’t be the only one. Seeing his side, how he struggles with complete exclusion from society.. It touched me in a way I didn’t expect – especially since I totally wanted Lucie to get her revenge.
He is breathtaking in his hideousness.
The point of view from which the story is told is one I hadn’t seen before. There’s both a human perspective and the POV from an inanimate object. This made reading this novel a unique experience to say the least.
One important thing I feel needs to be spoken of is pretty spoiler-y, but important to those sensitive to rape. I’ll put it in white for those who don’t want to read it or chance reading it: Other reviewers claim that, in this novel, a character falls in love with her rapist. I realize my opinion differs on this, but I still wanted to add it here. In the story, Beast and Jean-Loup are obviously two different men, albeit in the same “body”. For me, this equals Lucie not falling in love with her rapist, although others may feel differently about that. End of spoiler.
Automatically, though, this made it harder for me to connect with the characters. Simply because an inanimate object is… well.. hard to connect with? It also got a bit monotonous after a while since an object can’t really do all that much, can it?
Although I did have some difficulty with the POV at times, I still loved this take on a classic fairy tale. I often wondered what Beauty and the Beast would’ve been like should certain changes have been made and this one showed me one of the possibilities. A wonderful tale of love, magic and revenge!
Well… Here’s the thing… Either I was so engrossed in the story and I completely forgot to highlight anything food-related or… there wasn’t any food mentioned? I’m going with the first option though. Has to be… I think… Oops?
What’s a fairy tale you’d love a retelling of?
Or are you simply not fond of retellings at all?