Published by Delacorte Press on July 23rd, 2013
Genres: retellings, young adult
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In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.
I don’t know what happened. Poor Of Beast and Beauty. It started off great. I loved the prologue and the first couple of chapters, but then it got repetitive, nothing was happening, and I got bored. Then the writing started to irritate me, and before I knew it, I was past the halfway point and I figured I may as well finish. It never got better, and pretty much at that point I knew it was over anyway.
But oh, you guys, there was one thing in this book that bugged the shit out of me. Repeatedly. The first couple of times it happened I was okay with it even though I thought it was a bit gross, but then this happened:
“The beating grows faster as we sit in silence, our foggy breath mingling between our faces. Mine is hot, but his is so much hotter and it smells nothing like the cabbage he refuses to eat. Gem’s breath is fresh sawdust and sweet smoke, chestnuts and celery root, as sharp and clean as the winter air. It’s a good smell, a healthy smell that makes me wonder how breath like that would taste on a kiss.”
Okay, wait. BRB.
I had to bring out the big guns for that quote and only Chandler would do.
But seriously? This author has an obsession with cabbage on people’s breath, and over-describing breath in general. It’s grosssss. And why? Who cares? It’s a writing crutch that a proper editor should have gotten rid of. Like constantly describing the clothing characters are wearing. (That happens in this book too, FYI.) Or describing someone’s eyes every time they are in a scene. It. Is. Ridiculous. And I’m sorry to say, but I notice these things. I read very slow and pore over every word. SOMEONE get out the red pen and go to town.
The plot is very romance-y and if you like that, cool–you might like this book. I should have known, being that it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling and all, but I thought the whole set in a city under a dome thing would make me love it. (I am obsessed with domes.) But no. It just wasn’t enough. The plot is extremely romance heavy and that is just not my thing, but I wanted to give this author a chance because of what happened, but she is just not for me and I’m done.
I also have to mention the characters. There was nothing wrong with them, per se, but I had no attachment to them, and I didn’t feel the chemistry. And I think I would have been more involved in the story, and maybe even the romance, if I had cared one iota about the characters. I just thought they were so DULL. Probably due to the flat writing.
But anyway, I tried, you guys. So many of you loved this book and I am really glad it worked for you. But this is definitely not a book for me. This author’s writing and I do not mesh.