Of Beast and Beauty - by Stacey Jay
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.
This book took me an embarrassingly long time to read, and I really have no excuse for that except maybe that I wanted this book to last as long as possible. I read it on recommendation from a friend who hadn't finished it yet and my god you could tell by the end of the prologue that this book was going to be amazing. It didn't let it's legacy down.
As you may have guessed from the title, this book is a spin on the classic tale Beauty and the Beast however in this version of the story the Beast is being held captive by the Beauty. The more I write this review the more similarities I find between this story an the original Disney movie I know so well, but when you're reading the book it really doesn't seem that way.
I'm not going to tell you the plot line because that's what the blurb's for but I am just so in love with this story. Everything that happened I somehow found so inspirational and I've seriously come out of reading that book with a ton of new life motto's and such. It was just...GAH!
And GEMSRA!!!!!!!!!!!! *dreamy sigh* It's so beautiful. Every single moment in this book had me sitting on edge and yet at the same time had me sitting back in my seat and thinking about what had just been said or done or thought. I cried in this book. A lot. Especially in the last chapter. Not all of my crying was bad crying, though! I promise!
The story line was so well thought out and the whole universe and it's backstory were so original and captivating! The ideas of deception which are evident in every aspect of this story say so much and have taught me so much!
Do you know when you're casually searching the internet for something and up pops one of those people starving in Africa? And for a moment you think: jeez, I've got so much and they have so little, I should be happy with what I have? Well, this book taught me that's not true. Like of course we should feel sad but we each have our own challenges. For us, living like that might be really, really hard but for them it's all they've know. For us, a challenge might be standing up to our parents or fighting to be who we want to be. It's a different kind of challenge but all that matters is that it's a challenge for us because every body's different and will have different challenges.
Isra taught me so, so, so, so much and I can't even begin to tell you what else she taught me except to tell you to read the book. As I think back on it I know that it might not be a book I re-read again and again and again for the story, but it's one I will refer to when my life gets tough and I need the strength to continue.
This book is amazing and I love it so much - but a word of warning. You only get out of a book what you put into it. If you start reading with the idea that it'll be a nice little story that you'll forget a month from now, then you will. Go into it thinking 'what can I learn from this? How can I grow from this?' and I promise you'll learn a lot! Let me know if you've read this and we can talk!! :)