Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale of all, so I love finding new retellings like Kingdom of Beauty by Deborah Grace White!
My Rating - 4.5 Stars
Deborah Grace White is a fairly new author whose retelling launches her second series. I originally read her first series, The Kyona Chronicles, a YA epic adventure fantasy, last year and enjoyed it. So I was excited to find out she was also venturing into fairytale retellings. Kingdom of Beauty is set in the same world as the Kyona Chronicles but on a completely different continent and area of the world, so it's not necessary to read the first series to enjoy this one. Although there is a bonus connection nod via the dragon.
Kingdom of Beauty is a fun, lighthearted take on the tale as old as time. Felicity was an interesting mix of vulnerability and determination in her role as the beauty with an absentminded father and a somewhat useless spoiled older brother. Where some might scream at the sight of the monstrous form of the cursed Prince Justin, she is more inclined to laugh. I liked the way her word has value to her and that's part of the driving reason behind her willingness to keep the agreement to stay in the cursed castle.
Prince Justin is a grumbly beast who was forged into a cold heart by an even colder father. I enjoyed reading how he changes and grows over the course of the book. The twists to the original tale don't stray too far in regards to the enchanted castle and servants, but I enjoyed the combination of Felicity being able to see and interact with both beast and servants while others who manage to get inside have the experience of completely invisible servants and beast. It was a fun nod to the original. I also liked the twist to the Beast's nightly question from the original fairytale.
While this story is complete, I really enjoyed the glimpses White offers of future fairytales to come in this series. The hero of her second book, Kingdom of Slumber: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty, has a decent cameo in this book. I liked getting to know a bit of his personality ahead of time. It makes me eager to find out what will happen in his own book. There was another very intriguing clue regarding one of the neighboring kingdoms' princesses that I'm extremely interested in seeing play out, but I won't spoil that one. ;)
All in all, Kingdom of Beauty is a fun Beauty and the Beast retelling that will appeal to the lovers of the classic fairytale. I can't wait to see how the dragons play a role in the rest of the series as well as some of the other hints for the overall series world. And Kingdom of Slumber is on preorder to release in May!
How do you like your retellings? Fairly faithful to the original or looser reimagings? (I personally enjoy both.) Let me know!