Friday, February 14, 2020

Weekend Reads: Two Fairytales for Valentine's (Kimberly)

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I don't know about you but I adore a good romance and this weekend is the perfect time to break out a romance set in a fantasy world with fairytale elements. I read a lot of books fitting this particular criteria but I managed to narrow it down to a single author and two connected books within a larger series.

My Rating - 4.5 Stars

Beauty and the Beast is easily my absolute favorite of all fairytales, which means I'm picky about my retellings because I far prefer the ones that don't feel like a copy of the Disney versions (even though I love those too). Lucy Tempest already impressed me with her debut books in this series, the Aladdin retelling trilogy, so I knew her take on Beauty and the Beast would be worth the read. And I was so right!

Beast of Rosemead picks up after Ada is torn away from Bonnie and Bonnie's father in Thief of Cahraman, following Bonnie's journey. While there are similarities to the basic Beauty and the Beast version, it's presented in an intriguingly different manner from your typical retelling. This is especially true with the inclusion of cameo characters who are the world's version of Robin Hood characters and the servants who've been transformed into monsters of legend instead of being invisible. Clancy, another victim of the curse, is not a servant but he is most certainly a delight.

I think my favorite part is the way Bonnie is forced to grow out of the naive somewhat selfish dreamer into genuinely caring and loving others instead of trying to make them fit her book fueled daydreams. Then the twist regarding her heritage has such intriguing potential while the finale is equal parts frustrating and intriguing because it sets everything up for an adventure unlike any other Beauty and the Beast retelling.

My Rating - 4.5 Stars

This was the conclusion I didn't see coming! Beauty and the Beast end up in Faerie! They, along with several other comrades both expected and unexpected, must battle their way through the contests, tricks, and deadly beauty of Faerie to find the means of breaking the curse before it's too late.

Most of the book deviates from the typical retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which I absolutely loved. The twist with Bonnie's heritage first hinted at in Beast played out beautifully and still managed to surprise me. Other twists show up but I can't really talk about them because spoilers.

One of the things I adore about this entire series is how Tempest is able to weave in all the little hints and setup for future books without it feeling clunky or disjointed (because foreshadowing can be HARD). In Beauty of Rosemead especially, we're treated to a lot of setup for Ornella (Ella) and her upcoming story, which will be a Cinderella meets Snow Queen mashup also set in Faerie. I'm looking forward to finally getting her story, which is available now for preorder and will release February 26th.

If you enjoy the fairytale retellings by Lea Doué and A.G. Marshall, you are going to love this series! While the duology picks up where Ada and Bonnie part ways in Thief of Cahraman, you can read it without first reading the Aladdin trilogy (although there are some minor spoilers at the very end).

Have you read this series already? What did you think of it? Any other fairytale retelling suggestions for me to check out? 

Until next time,

Kimberly A. Rogers

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