Book Review | Beautiful Beast by E.J Hill

Beautiful Beast (Beautiful Queens, #1)

Title: Beautiful Beast
Author: Emma Joy Hill
Published: June 8th 2020 by Independently Published

Synopsis:
Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is now a prisoner in her own palace. As petals fall from an enchanted rose, her fate and the sorceress’s victory draw nearer. But Kalista refuses to be defeated so easily and uses her own magic to push against the bindings. Yet what if it is not enough and the only way the curse might be shattered is through the help of another?

When Arawn crosses into the beast’s domain, he has one motive: revenge for his brother’s death. But as he draws nearer to the beast and is surrounded by invisible servants, magical banquets, and an enchanted forest, he realizes that this beast is much more complex and much more human than he first thought.

As their paths intertwine, Kalista must risk opening her heart to another, while Arawn must learn to see past his hate and prejudice. Together, they struggle against spells, wolves, and time itself to break the curse. If they fail, Kalista will fall asleep and will never again wake. 

My review:

I received a copy of Beautiful Beast from the author in exchange for my honest review.

I absolutely loved this book, an original visitation of the classic tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’. “Beautiful Beast” went far beyond my expectations! What immediately caught my attention was the female ‘beast’, something you don’t see very often. It was fun seeing the woman kick-booty instead of laying around or waiting to be helped by the male protagonist.

Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is prisoner in her own palace with only the invisible ghosts of the previous staff to keep her company until Arawn shows up to get revenge for his brother’s death.  The retelling was so imaginative, unique, and creatively done. It was done in a way that I couldn’t even tell if it was written with a plan of being a retelling or the elements of Beauty and the Beast came in after the original idea. 

Kalista and Arawn are both characters with a lot of depth, who are honest to their goals. Their relationship starts to blossom once they start to truly understand each other’s struggles.

They each have their own issues to solve, but work together to resolve them, fighting against the wicked sorceress and her spell. Both begin by fighting for themselves, and end by fighting for each other. The story was touching, while also exciting and adventurous. It was a truly wonderful mix of romance and fantasy.

There were a few parts where I felt things were rushed or missing but overall I enjoyed this book. The author did a great job of creating the worlds and making them easy to imagine. New aspects to the well-known story we all love were brilliant and did a good job of surprising the reader. I also really loved that Kalista possessed magic herself and most definitely wasn’t just a helpless cursed young woman. 

I won’t give too much away for fear of spoilers but there are certain things that happen in the book that are too close, or even exact copies of, the animated film. A part of me feels as if the author might’ve had an even better story to tell had she deviated further from the plot laid down by the Beauty and the Beast tale. While it gave a great outline and I thought it was cute to see familiar motifs included, there were moments I felt the story would’ve benefited from going it’s own course.

I will say though, kudos to the author for this being a clean read. No sexually explicit scenes, no unnecessary profanity and no gore during the battles when people were hurt. I appreciate authors who can write scenes without using filler to get the point across.

I was torn between giving this book three or four stars, as it is well-written and there’s nothing wrong with the retelling if you just want another Beauty and the Beast story, but I was hoping for more – for a little more originality to make it different from the original tale and something to surprise me.

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