Another book review!!!!
Alright, I definitely see why bloggers do so many of these, they’re fun to write!! And this book, in particular, I was SO excited to read! I mean….hello, a Beauty and the Beast retelling? I think I hurt myself from signing up so fast.
Unfortunately, as I knew would eventually happen, I hit my first dud. I suppose I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly, yet here we are. Leaving a less than glowing review is extremely intimidating, and it took me a long time to figure out how I was going to handle this. How did I want to skew my blog? Only review when a book was 3+ Stars? Be more lenient on my Star ratings?
For now, I’ve decided to just be as honest as I can, even if that means reviewing a book I was less than thrilled with. As an aspiring author, I don’t know if I should be keeping my nose out of other books and reviewing them in this way, so….what do you think???
But for now, let’s movie on my review for BEAST: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen!
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.
- Lucie is not representative of “Belle” or “Beauty”, which I thought was an interesting take on it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a retelling that was told from a third party perspective before, while still being involved in the actual plot, so I liked how that was a unique take on the story.
- The twist with Jean-Loup’s mother was unique and could have been interesting if done correctly. However, it all felt a little too late to have much impact.
- Trigger Warning: Lucie is sexually assaulted by Jean-Loup. Now, I’m not saying that difficult topics like sexual assault and abuse shouldn’t be written about, because these things are important and need to be discussed. But this topic was handled SO poorly, and it was honestly just really disgusting as it’s used entirely to show us how “bad” Jean-Loup is and nothing more. Not only that, but we’re supposed to romanticize Jean-Loup! Alright, so even the blurb states that Beast is entirely different from Jean-Loup, and of course everyone loves a good redemption arc…but sexual assault is not exactly one of those things I, or many readers, want to forgive, and Jean-Loup’s personality change purely because of a curse feels cheap and forced.
- Every character, especially Lucie, is completely bland. I do not exaggerate when I state that Lucie is the most passive character I have ever read about. No, I am NOT talking about her assault, but essentially everything else that happens to her. It’s like her only purpose is to be carried along for the ride and tell us what’s going on.
- The writing style was stiff and awkward. I know, this is completely subjective, and maybe I’m being all too harsh, but I literally felt like I was being “told” everything, as opposed to really experiencing it or being shown it through Lucie’s eyes. It was one thing after another, with no real feeling, emotion or deeper thought. Again, I know writing style is totally up to taste, but for me it was all entirely too formal.
- I don’t know if this book is fairly labeled as a YA novel. It’s true, Lucie is a teenager, but that really seems to be the only aspect about this book that “fits” the YA genre. Perhaps this book is simply being mis-marketed, I don’t really know who the right audience might be, but I have a feeling it’s not what most YA readers probably expect.
It pains me to say this, but I honestly had to force myself to finish this. I didn’t feel it was fair to leave a rating, especially a poor one, for a book I didn’t completely read, and fortunately, this is fairly short. But I did end up mostly skimming the second half just to reach the end. My investment at that point was pretty much gone.
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
So…this is scary. Not only am I leaving a poor review, but it’s a poor review on a Beauty and the Beast Retelling. I actually debated a long time on whether or not I should even post this, but I felt it was fair and so long as I was being honest and not bashing, it would be okay.
Have you read any Beauty and the Beast retellings lately? Are there certain themes you think should stay out of retellings? Do you think you might check out BEAST?