In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.
Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.
On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.
When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.
But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.
Have you encountered the Once Upon a Con series yet? If not, and if you’re looking for something nice and wholesome and tremendously fun to read then I highly recommend it.
These books bring about that same feeling you get when you read really good fanfiction – and it’s 100% intended. These books are essentially love letters to the idea of fandom and they just work. Take Bookish and the Beast, within around 15 pages you can pretty much guess everything that’s going to happen and you just get to sit back in whatever comfy spot you choose to read it and let it happen. I chose to read this when things were a little bit manic worldwide and I have no regrets, it was the perfect comfort read especially during quarantine. If I owned copies of the other books in the series I have no doubt I would have picked those up to re-read!
Though the classic story is undoubtedly popular enough to get an idea of how things will turn out, Bookish and the Beast gives us enough originality throughout the book to make us want to keep turning the page.
Rosie is still the “common” girl, with the loving father, living in a small town. She happens to be a big fan of a popular science fiction book series called Starfield, something that her recently passed mom introduced her to. She’s been having trouble figuring out what to write for her college application essay, and she can’t get the popular guy in school to stop trying to convince her to go with him to the homecoming dance.
I love the banter between Rosie and Vance. And I love her best friends and the enthusiasm they put into everything from teasing her about her dad to Quinn’s quest to become Homecoming Overlord.
There was one tiniest bump in my reading road. At the beginning, of course, Vance is a total jerk. It makes complete sense because this IS a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I can tell you now, it’s so worth those early scenes to watch the cracks in his armor form. To watch his heart change and know how big that is.
Another thing that I loved were the references to Beauty and the Beast. There are a couple of places where there references to minor lines in the Disney version of the movie, and some other references to the story as a whole that were too fun for me to spoil them here.
To conclude, Bookish and the Beast is full of character. They formed the backbone for a plot that kept the pages turning. While I missed the con, it was also lovely to see more of the high school setting. I appreciated seeing the ways the Starfield world could expand in this new place. If you are searching for a book full of heart and charming characters, you can definitely add Bookish and the Beast to the list.