TITLE: Beauty's Beast
AUTHOR: Amanda Ashley
GENRE: Retelling, Historical Romance, New Adult, Fantasy
RATING: 3/5 Stars
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...
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...
What I Liked:
- There's no denying that despite not being my usual cup of tea, this book had me strangely hooked. It was simple, and yet had an intriguing enough plot that mixed 'Beauty & The Beast' with 'The Phantom Of The Opera' and for the most part, the pacing felt good. I actually spent a good portion of one morning reading the last two thirds or so because I was so invested. I particularly enjoyed watching Erik and Kristine's relationship develop and though the sex was frequent and uninteresting (at times it sounded more like a Farming manual, he 'filled her with his seed' a lot) it did contribute to the plot development and so I endured it.
- Ashley's knowledge of the time period was actually fairly impressive, especially when it came to running estates, horse-riding, social circles and conversation style. She didn't try too hard to unload a ton of information on me too which I was thankful for. In a was, that contributed to this being a nice, easy read which sometimes are really nice. I liked not having to concentrate too hard to understand the plot.
What I Disliked:
- Despite the lack of detail being helpful at times, it was also a major flaw in other aspects of the book. The characters were a big one. There was very little development in them, particularly Kristine who began the book sweet and pure and kind, and ended it that way too. She had no personality or feistiness, instead opting to just simper and sit and look pretty. Erik was written a little better though fit the tortured soul stereotype a little too well. I could predict every one of his moves. The rest of the characters were flat and uninteresting, and even the villain didn't really bother me all that much.
- The ending was probably the biggest let-down of the book. Everything was going fine until I hit the last quarter or so of the book, and then suddenly it didn't seem like Ashley really knew how to end her story. She'd built it up pretty nicely, but things quickly turned to chaos with the introduction of a lot of unsubstantial characters who were no help whatsoever, a wedding that I didn't care about in the slightest, and possibly the stupidest idea from Kristine ever: 'How about if I give up my unborn child in exchange for the love of my life?'. Romantic? No. This was both uncharacteristic and awful and I almost threw my poor Kindle across the room there and then. I won't get started on how the curse ends up being broken in the end, but all I'll say is that it could have happened a lot sooner than it did.
The book stated out well. The writing was simple yet effective and the world-building not too overbearing which can happen in a lot of Historical Fiction. Despite it's shortcomings, I was petty invested and though it read a little like Fan Fiction at times, it did have some interesting ways of tackling some of the well-known aspects of both 'Beauty & The Beast' and 'The Phantom Of The opera' (mainly the former, it really only borrowed a few character names and the mask from the latter). However, the ending mucked it right up for me and turned a likeable book almost into a DNF for me which means that I merely found it okay in the end. That coupled with pretty poor, two-dimensional characters meant I was a little disappointed in the end. What a shame!