Synopsis: In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.
Review: Sometimes, I think, I’m not cut out for this. I sort of didn’t like it because it didn’t suit my taste. I’m not going to be overly analytical because
I don’t think I can it’s a matter of personal taste. To be honest, I really don’t know why I couldn’t keep up with this book. I tried so hard to have an emotional connection with the characters but I ultimately failed to do that. But I do see great qualities this book has, especially the writing: it was luscious, really pretty. But for some reasons I still occasionally snubbed it like a mean girl.
The title already gave me a hint that this book is retelling of Beauty & the Beast, and once again, I’m telling you good people that my knowledge only involves talking candle holders and dancing teacups. Yes, the Disney version. And I gotta say I enjoyed that animated movie. I also read the other book with the same theme and I did enjoy it. Somehow, that didn’t entirely happen here. Maybe I’m more cut out for the humorous retelling. That being said, Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay has a complete different view on the story. I understand why other people loved it because I saw that, too. I know what they were talking about and I agree. But I wasn’t really interested to it that I embarrassingly zoned out a couple of times, until I got to a point that it was least interesting enough for me to continue. In fact, halfway through I almost thought of stopping it all together. But I remained patient; I want to continue because I having this galling feeling that I might miss out on something. On what, I wasn’t sure then.
I might be hoping for something similar like the one I know but I got it something fully different. But it wasn’t something I entirely disliked. We have Beauty and the Beast here, but Isra and Gem are not the characters I expected them to be or what they’re popularly known for. I’m talking about both of the exterior and interior aspects of their characters. I knew why Beast was cursed but while I wasn’t sympathetic to Gem’s character, I understand him and his feelings. I thought at some point I might have reversed Isra and Gem’s roles. It’s not just the physical, people’s response towards things also made up their personalities. Every so often their decision validated them as a person and their appearance sometimes don’t factor in.
But if I pulled out the embellishment the heart of the fairytale was still there. But the characters were neither black nor white. And that’s what I liked about it. I think the greatest asset of this book is how it transcends that theme. I may not be emotionally satisfied with the story but I read a book and got something out of it. Although I was tad bit turned off on how magically things happened in the end but I still accepted it. I did want that for them well; it was about time. I want them to have that kind of ending and eventually liked how it made it possible for them.
Preview Quote: “I will show her that loving her is my greatest truth, and the most beautiful thing I have ever known. ” — Gem