Jul 2, 2018

ARC Review--Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen's multilayered novel will make you question all you think you know about beauty, beastliness, and happily ever after.

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier's cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Like many a reader, I’ve always been a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast! What girl didn’t love the Disney movie seeing a reader get to be the hero of the day? Plus I totally rocked the ponytail in my youth as well, lol! I’ve since read many a version of the beloved tale as well as a handful of retellings too. Lisa Jensen’s Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge was definitely one that tool the story to new levels, ones that would make you see the classic story in a new way, which I feel like is the point of every retelling.

I do want to forewarn you that this story starts off with some darkness, and I will get to that momentarily. In this story, we journey with a young woman named Lucie who has come to the Chateau Beaumont to work as a maid. The master of the house, Jean-Loup is quite the catch; eligible bachelor, easy on the eyes, and a charmer to boot. Though—and here’s where the darkness starts to come in—as to be expected, he’s also selfish and has many moments of cruelty. Especially when he rapes Lucie, this is where the warning is necessitated, especially since it seems that this is being marketed as Young Adult. Though it’s what happened to Lucie sets the course for Jean-Loup as Lucie seeks refuge with a medicine woman, one who has great powers and abilities as well.

From this point, you can imagine what happens next. The mysterious woman gives Jean-Loup a test and he fails, causing him to be transformed into a beast. Everyone in the house has left him, except Lucie who takes delight in seeing everything taken from him. Then she too is transformed into a silver candlestick, though she is still sentient…think Lumiere minus the face and ability to actually talk. Though she still sees and thinks and all that for she is our storyteller. She continues to watch the newly formed Beast try to get by with his new way in life taking great joy in when he can’t seem to do the simplest of things and loses his temper frequently.

It’s unclear how much time passes, but then Lucie starts to notice a change in the Beast. One that is most strange, for it seems like he no longer remembers his life as Jean-Loup and instead embraces life and everything it has to offer.

Though what would this story be without a Beauty? There’s a point in the story where the classic fairy tale comes into play and soon a young girl named Rose comes to the castle in her father’s place. She intends to stay in the Beast’s domain forever, keeping him company. Falling in love wasn’t something she ever intended, and something that Lucie didn’t want to happen whatsoever. For if the Beast were to have someone love him and agree to marry him, his curse would be broken and he’d return to his human form.

Just when you think it might be time for the happily ever after part of the story is when Lisa takes the reigns back into her hands and turns the story on its head. She added a great deal of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming that I found I quite enjoyed! I always enjoy a new twist to a beloved fairy tale, it practically makes up a new story entirely without totally detracting from the original, as I know some readers don’t always like the changes made to the classics they love—though sometimes I wonder if they confuse Disney for the actual fairy tale, but I digress.

I feel like the point in fairy retellings is to change things up, make us see the story in a different way, but still keeping true to the finer points of the story. A great fairy tale retelling should have aspects of the original one to give us that familiarity, but then take the story to new heights and mix things up a bit, and Lisa does exactly this!

When it comes to fairy tales, I never really expect that fast-paced, head-on kind of action. Fairy tales always take time to build things up and give the proper backstory. They are definitely for the patient reader—and though I may not be a patient person, I am a patient reader. i.e. waiting for the next release doesn’t count because at that time I am no longer reading and therefore a reader! Lol! I enjoy a good buildup when it comes to fairy tales, mind you. I loved the magic that was present in this one, literal and figurative. Seeing the familiar parts of the fairy tale and a little bit of Disney perhaps was heart-touching. Lisa’s own added flair and style made this story even more remarkable!

The ending wasn’t one I was expecting either. Again, I commend Lisa on making this story her own. While Lisa’s first book, sadly just didn’t hold the same kind of magic for me, I can easily say that this one did and even went beyond my expectations. Beast was a truly magical and heartfelt read that will allow you see the tale as old as time in a new light and will have you rethinking almost every other fairy tale you read as well, but in a good way! Beast has definitely marked its place on my list of favorite fairy tale retellings and I would highly recommend this one to all fairy tale retelling fans! This book was beautiful and superb and I can’t wait to see what Lisa will do next!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars


Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge releases July 10, 2018

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds so interesting, I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing your review.


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