Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Before Beauty

Genres: Young Adult; Romance; Fairy Tale
Pages: 220
My rating: 4 of 5 stars(3.5 stars)
Before Beauty A Retelling of Beauty an the Beast

Prince Everard’s father spent the boy's youth forging the prince into a warrior. Upon the king’s death, however, Everard realizes he’s lost himself somewhere along the way, and in his pain, makes a decision that brings a dark curse upon both him and the great Fortress that has so long guarded the people of Destin.
The prince's sin doesn’t simply affect those of his citadel, however. Isa, the daughter of a local merchant, has suffered the prince’s hasty temper before, and it changed her life forever. When Everard’s final outburst cuts off his people’s source of protection with the curse, he demands that she, a crippled commoner, come to help him break it. All the while, Destin’s northern enemy crouches at the foot of the Fortress’s mountain, waiting for the right moment to capture the stronghold that has stood for a thousand years.

With the freedom of Destin at stake, can both Everard and Isa find ways to move beyond their brokenness and hatred for one another, not only to break the curse, but to find love as well? Or will they and their beloved kingdom remain under darkness forever?

My review: Before Beauty is a unique take on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. It had elements of the original: the curse; the daughter going in place of the father; and of course, the romance. But I loved the twists the author employed.

At the start we get to see our "beast" as his normal self. That is, a spoiled prince haunted by regrets of his past actions. He's not entirely likeable, but we have a good idea of how much change he must have to go through. And I do love the anti-hero type of character.
When Ever is physically transformed into a shadow of his former self, it's hard for him to let go of his former pride. He's an interesting character, and I enjoyed seeing how his feelings for Isa changed him.
What's funny to me is how clueless they both were at the start. All Ever knows is that he needs this crippled girl to help him break the curse. Neither of them know exactly how this is to be done, and this leaves poor Isa terribly confused. I sympathized with her the most. Despite her circumstances, Isa displayed the most strength of all the characters.
I liked the small cast of characters. I think, for the size of the book, a larger cast would have been too confusing to keep up with. But I think the perfect amount of focus was put upon each of the main characters.
I do wish it was longer, though--that's not such a bad complaint! I think the story could have been more fleshed out, given more detail, with more interactions between Ever and Isa. A few parts felt rushed, the curse could have been better explained, and more detail given about  Nevana, the villain of the book.
So, I had some small complaints here and there, but overall I really enjoyed the book. The romance was sweet and clean, and I was really happy with the ending. Now I think I've come to the conclusion that I need more Beauty and the Beast!
**I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review
Content: Clean!
Completed for the Fairy Tale Challenge.
I need more fairy tales! What are some Beauty and the Beast retellings you'd recommend?


  1. This sounds like a great retelling of the Beauty and the Beast. I think it's interesting that the two characters were really confused at the beginning because that seems like it would give them so much more capacity for growth.

    1. Yes, it was very well done, especially for it being the author's debut novel.

  2. I agree with your review, too (which is great, by the way). This is a fun retelling, but I was wanting a tiny bit more. So much potential! :)

  3. Aw, this one sounds really cool! And it's interesting that Isa is crippled, rather than a "perfect beauty."
    I can only think of a couple of Beauty and the Beast retellings right offhand, the only one I'd recommend being, Beastly by Alex Flinn. It's really good. Might be a few content things (can't remember; it's been a while since I read it), but I remember enjoying it a lot.


    1. I won't give any spoilers or anything, but Isa being crippled was a really important part of the story. I really loved that and the other twists she threw in there!

  4. If its a fairy tale ( of course with in reason ) I love it!!! Would love to read this!!!

    1. Of course! I'm the same way with fairy tales!

  5. If memory serves, Belle by Cameron Dokey is okay. Its been a while since I read it and its pretty short.

  6. Since you are looking for other Beauty and the Beast adaptations I recommend K.M. Shea's Timeless Fairy Tale series. For Beauty and the Beast she went with a more traditional story but it has some fun twists and a sweet romance. :)