Saturday, August 23, 2014

Early Critique: "Beauty's Beast" by Amanda Ashley

From Goodreads
I received this e-book for free via NetGalley, but in no way did it affect my literary taste buds. This critique is my honest opinion.

To Be Released: September 2nd 2014

The Plot: (Also From Goodreads)


Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself...

And the Beast

Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes slowly gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born—that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts...

Let's start with the premise: a lord wants an heir so he frees a prisoner (who would have been killed) and takes her as a bride. We all should know where this is headed. Luckily enough, there is no insta-love and only mild lust between them, so I can't raise any objections of probability and fate.

What I do object to is the wedding night- I think it would've been better served written as a reflection (or flashback). As the heroine herself ruminates, "...but neither had she expected him to take her with such blatant disregard for her feelings." I would've rather read that than the groping and the don't-touch-me-woman! awkwardness that transpired from reading about their encounter.

Erik and Kristine's relationship evolves slowly, which in my eyes is a good thing. Erik tries everything to keep her away from him and to keep a minimum of contact between them. Kristine refuses to respect his need for space due to her need for companionship: the castle has few servants and they don't like to talk (and some of them are mute).

In the beginning of the book, you know just enough about Erik's curse to keep you reading and wondering. This novel has an excellent pace and maintains a high threshold of tension throughout the book. What I can tell you about Erik's curse (without spoilers) is that it isn't as simple (or pretty) as many other Beauty and the Beast curses I've read about.

Beauty's Beast is a surprisingly suspenseful fairy tale retelling laced with plenty of romance. Despite its faltering beginning, it developed into a compelling and insightful version of a tale most of us are familiar with. I recommend this to anyone looking for a different (and more romantic) twist on an old fairy tale.

Note: Due to this being a pre-release review, I have no idea if my quote will be the same in the final version of the book.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a great Beauty and the Beast tale with an awkward start.

Content: Ages 18+ for violence and sex scenes.

Page Count: 352 pages expected in the paperback edition

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