This book review will be short because it’s going to only be a spoiler-free review.
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay is a young adult, dystopian fantasy/retelling that was published on July 23, 2013 by Delacorte Press.
Isra, who’s the blind princess of the doomed city of Yuan and who’s considered a “Smooth Skin”. Princess Isra is raised to be a human sacrifice to ensure her city’s vitality.
Gem, who’s a warrior who fights for his people who are considered “Monstrous”. The Monstrous are located in the desert surrounding the city of Yuan and their people are starving.
Isra wants to help her people who are considered “The Banished People” who possess Monstrous traits and she uses the help of her prisioner Gem who was captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses. Isra becomes to care for him and starts to question everything she was taught/told as she grew up.
Once Isra starts to gain her sight back which she lost in her childhood in a fire, she starts to see the truth about herself and her city. She has to choose between helping and being there for her people or running of the beast who she’s fallen in love with.
This is obviously a retelling of The Beauty and Beauty but throughout the book you could sense parts being like Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. For example, Princess Isra was basically kept in a tower all her life, hidden. And she was kind of ignorant of everything around her.
I actually really enjoyed this book, mostly because I always loved Princess Belle from Beauty and Beast because she used to read and when I was younger, I wanted to be like her. Also, this book was perfectly written for a dystopian novel. Usually, these types of books need more than one book to be able to explain the world that you’re reading about. But, this book perfectly explained everything and there wasn’t any part where I didn’t know what was going on.
The characters are fantastic and they’re so easy to fall in love with. I also really enjoyed seeing different points of view throughout the book because I loved seeing what was going through their minds during the same experiences.
I really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, dystopia and/or retellings.