Of Beauty and Beast is a July release by Stacey Jay. It is a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in a dying world in a city called Yuan and the dessert region surrounding it. It had many good things about it, but the telling was a little heavy handed and far from perfect.
Isra is blind and the next Queen in line for the throne in Yuan. One night her father is killed during an attack from the Monstrous, a race of mutated humans who live in the dessert outside of the walled dome of Yuan. The same night that the monstrous invade a man is captured named Gem, a monster in the eyes of the people. Isra finds herself drawn to him but such a union is anathema to the beliefs of her people. Isra has become Queen and an ancient covenant must be settled, one that demands her blood for the sake of her people. A union with the monstrous can only end in disaster.
Once the story got to the traditional fairy tale I was sucked in, completely. However, the details that Jay introduced as world building mechanisms became overwrought and hard to follow. She info dumps A LOT in this book. Once I found myself absorbed in the characters I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but the details were hard to keep straight until I was two thirds of the way through the book. It’s overdone, but not in a bad way. Just in a very hard to follow way.
The multiple narratives don’t help either. Gem and Isra’s I get; they are the core components to this story. Where I became lost was during Bo’s narratives. Bo is the third point in this triangle – he’s the man who from Isra’s people who she will marry to satisfy the dark covenant. Bo’s story is only there to reveal the manipulation that underscores this entire story. I almost feel like this could have been done without his POVs. I found them even more confusing. She could have written his reveals into the other narratives and it would have worked better.
Overall, it wasn’t terrible. I definitely found much of it interesting. However, understand going into the read that it may be bogged down in detail that takes a while to get straight.I wanted to love it, but I only liked it instead.
4 out of 5 stars.