Monday, January 12, 2015

Beauty and the Beast

By K. M. Shea

Once upon a time Elle made a mistake. A small miscalculation sends her through the roof of an enchanted Chateau. Stranded until her broken leg mends, Elle is forced to rely on the good will of the sour chateau owner—the cursed Prince Severin.
Prince Severin—the commanding general and staunch supporter of his brother the crown prince—is cursed to look like a beast until a maiden falls in love with him. However, he has given up all hope of shattering the curse after several painful and failed attempts to break it. As such he has only disdain for Elle, leaving her to the devices of his bossy servants. This suits Elle perfectly as she dislikes the entire royal family, Severin included.
Unfortunately for the unsuspecting pair, the chateau servants are determined to break the curse and spend the majority of their time pushing Elle and Severin together. After bonding over gardens, animals, and terrifying squirrels Elle and Severin show signs of friendship, and perhaps something more…
But not all love stories can end that easily. After all, Elle is not what she seems, and Severin’s life is placed in danger when hostilities flare between his brother and the monarchs of a neighboring country.
If they really want the love of a lifetime Elle, a loyal liar, and Severin, an indifferent beast, will have to use every trick they know to survive.

Yes, I’m at it again. I found another Beauty and the Beast retelling. But I’m on a quest! I will find the best one there is, or failing that I’ll eventually write it! That being said, this is in the top tier for Beauty and the Beast retellings. I’m talking top 3. This was a great way to approach the beloved tale (I’m not the only obsessed person out there okay!) by making Elle, our heroine, a mysterious figure who is not kidnapped by the beast, but rather rescued by him, although reluctantly. Prince Severin is himself an awesome character and has much more to him than being a Beast. The byplay between the two of them is the best; the squirrel scene had me laughing out loud. But, not only is this the beloved tale retold, it’s a new tale with merits all its own, and I for one fell in love with the telling and the characters with all their stupidities and strengths. Again, I think I can safely put this in my top 3, maybe even in the top 2. I liked it that much. I know a lot of people swear up and down that Robin McKinley’s Beauty is the best one out there, but this one easily tops it for me.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5- not generally, but for the genre of fairy tale retellings. 

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