Of Beast and Beauty by Chanda Hahn

Something evil this way comes.
7 Vengeful Sisters
7 Fairytale Kingdoms
7 Daughters of Eville

Rosalie doesn’t dream of marrying a prince but nevertheless that is her fate, trapped in a loveless marriage to a cruel Prince who will not even set eyes on her.

Although Rosalie is merely a pawn in her mother’s revenge plot, she is scorned by her new husband, ordered to wear a veil, banned from the festivities and confined to her room. Using her magic Rosalie disguises herself as a servant in order to explore her new home. However, she soon finds more than she expected in this magic-loathing kingdom.

Only when a beast roams the land, killing his people, will Prince Xander deign to be in Rosalie’s company. He truly believes his bride to be a witch and a beast but he has no idea what she is capable of.

I was conflicted with this book, obviously I love retellings and I am so excited by the concept of the 7 daughters of Eville and the different stories and magic that they possess. I also loved the world building and the mystery behind each kingdom and the different attitudes towards magic. Sadly, the main takeaway from this book for me will be an overwhelming sense of frustration with the romantic storyline.

Before I go any further, I will say that there are some amazing female empowering statements and sentiments running through this book, particularly regarding the treatment of women within royalty.

 “Daughters are not to be tossed aside for boys. We are valuable”

I also loved the character of Rosalie and the juxtaposition of her strength and vulnerability. The supporting characters were also great, particularly Gobber- how can you not love a bad-tempered cross-dressing goblin?

But I have to ask, why oh why does the male romantic interest have to be so physically (and sometimes mentally) abusive? It seems that he cannot carry out a single interaction without grabbing a woman’s wrist! He was immensely unlikeable even after his change arc – I just wasn’t feeling it in the slightest.

I will also say that a lot of the retellings I read have clean romances, two particular authors I fangirl over have a strict PG-13 limit on their romance and you know, smut isn’t for everyone but wow! I mean…wow! I think I counted two kisses in this entire book and let’s just say there are miraculous consequences! In keeping the romance clean I think there was a definite sacrifice of reader experience and clarity into how the characters felt towards each other.

Overall, Of Beast and Beauty was a good retelling. The elements of a beast, a rose and a magic mirror were all identifiable but subtle: the story definitely held its own identity.  The latter half of the book in particular kept the excitement up with plot twists galore and keeps us guessing as to the real identity of the beast.

If you like retellings this is definitely worth a try.

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