REVIEW: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: July 23rd 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Bought

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

Of Beast and Beauty is a captivatingly dark story that has traces of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. I would not exactly call this a re-telling it is more of a fable in which the reader can draw some parallels to the classic. Either way I LOVED it!

The first couple pages are more of an origin story that leads into the main story line. I am not going to lie, the first couple pages were a bit confusing to me and discouraged me a little. Do not fret, the story all makes sense. The city of Yuan and those banished to the desert have been cursed and the only way for the curse to break is for a Smooth Skin to fall in love with a Monstrous beast.

Obviously the parallels are there but the story of Isra and Gem is so dark and different that it had me flying through the pages. The relationship between Gem and Isra is gradual; Gem was captured by Isra’s soldiers and his at her bidding. They slowly evolve from captor/captive to something more. The other relationships in the story were developed in a way that made you care for the good characters and just hate the evil ones.

Besides the fantastic love story, the world building was so well done and the descriptive writing painted the domed city and the barren dessert in such a haunting manner. There is a substantial amount fantasy/magic elements in the story like the magic roses, monstrous traits, and beastly desert people so just be aware!

I would highly recommend this book if you are in the mood for a darker fantasy more legend driven variation to the classic Beauty and the Beast. The love story is perfect, the relationships and characters are multi-dimensional and well developed, and it is a fast read!  It is a bit different though :)



  1. I'm so glad that you loved it! This book sounds like it has all of the great elements (world building, fantastic characters, great writing style etc.). Hopefully I won't get confused at the beginning of the story although I feel like I will lol. I am definitely going to buy this soon. I love how it is fast paced and different!


  2. I've had this book for awhile now on my Kindle. After reading your review, I'm definitely moving it up the TBR list. I'm so glad you loved it and that the romance and world-building are well done. I've really been enjoying reading fantasy lately. Great review! ~Pam

  3. I have this one and I can't wait to read it! I love retellings that are clever and don't follow the original story, but just build off of it! This one sounds like one of those! I actually have it on my shelves and I need to make time for it soon!

  4. This book is on my shelves. I'm going to read this book very very very soon. So excited about it. It sounds amazing and it screams 'Mel'

  5. I bought Of Beast and Beauty when it first came out and I still haven't gotten around to read it. Based on your review, I totally need to read it soon! I am really pleased to read that this book parallel Beauty and the Beast and doesn't totally re-tell it. Awesome review! :)

  6. I was cautious about reading this one but you may have just changed my mind! :) The romance and world building sounds fantastic, and I love a little big of magic thrown in. Great review!

  7. I can always appreciate a good, dark version of a classic fairy tale, especially when done right. If this book does for Beauty & the Beast what Cinder did for Cinderella, then count me in!


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