Hunted by Meagan Spooner is the fifth and final book in the Beauty and the Beast reading challenge. This book was excellent! Set in medieval Russia, it wove the story of the Firebird into the Beauty and the Beast tale.
Synopsis: Yeva is a skilled huntress. She’d rather live in her father’s hunting lodge than the fancy house in town. So when her family loses their fortune, and they have to move back to the lodge, she is not disappointed. Then her father disappears. Before disappearing, he claimed a beast was following him, and Yeva is afraid the beast has caught her father. Determined to find him, she sets out on her own, traveling deep into the forest. There she finds magical things, things from the stories her father had told her when she was little. But she can’t let these things distract her from goal – killing the beast.
I had a lot of emotions when reading this book (a sign of good writing!). I kept reading, wanting to know what was coming next. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the end, but I did. It ended in a satisfying way, tying up all the little pieces of magic that floated throughout the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairytales, retellings, and fantasy – and to anyone who is looking to step out of their normal genre of reading. This just might be the book that hooks you on fantasy. 🙂
Questions: What did you think of the way the author portrayed want in the story? Did you like the way the author weaved in the Firebird tale? What was your favorite part? Let me know what you think in the comments!
The fourth book in the challenge is Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea. This is an indie book. Since my own book will be an indie book, I’ve been looking for some good ones to recommend. I’m really glad I discovered this one!
This book is a very unique take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. The beauty, whose name is Elle, is a spy. She falls through the roof of the Beast’s castle while on a mission. Her leg is injured in the fall, so she has to stay at the castle until she recovers enough to walk. There are several servants who take care of her. They wear masks as a part of the curse, and of course, they meddle trying to get Elle to fall in love with the Beast.
A lot of new things were woven into this tale, but there was also a lot of things from the classic story. It was entertaining and even amusing at times. I recommend it to all Beauty and the Beast fans, and to anyone who loves fantasy.
Also, K.M. Shea has several other fairytale retellings, many of which I have on my TBR list. You can find out more about her books here.
Questions: Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? Have you read any other books by K.M. Shea? Let me know you thoughts in the comments!
Note: Sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted. I haven’t been online much because of vacation and other crazy life things! My Hunted review will be posted later this week, so be on the lookout for that!
Our third book in the challenge is Beauty by Robin Mckinley. This is a classic Beauty and the Beast retelling. McKinley built off the original fairytale – Beauty has sisters, and uses a ring to return home. She adds so many lush details, the reader feels as if she is right there with Beauty in the Beast’s castle.
This book holds a special place in my heart, because it was the book that first introduced me to the fairytale retelling genre. Robin Mckinley has written many retellings (including another Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose Daughter) as well as several other fantasy novels. She is a legend in YA fantasy, so this book is well worth the read!
It’s hard for me to choose a favorite part of this book, because I love it all. I think the thing I most like about it, is the way it makes the Beauty and the Beast story come alive. Every time I read it, I finish it in just a couple of days.
Note: Just to let everyone know, I adjusted the dates on the challenge, moving everything forward a couple of weeks. This way the challenge will end at the end of the month, giving everyone extra time to finish reading all the books. Also, feel free to go back to any of the previous book posts to leave your comments about the books whenever you finish reading them. And if you missed the first challenge post, you find all the details here.
- Have you read the original Beauty and the Beast story? If so, how did you think it compared with Beauty?
- What was your favorite part of the book?
- What do you think the significance of the rose is?
The next book in the challenge is As Old As Time. This is also a Disney book. However, this one is based more on the animated classic, than the new live action movie. This is part of a series of books called Twisted Tales. (There is also an Aladdin and a Sleeping Beauty story in the series.)
The twist in this story is that Belle’s mother was the enchantress who cursed the Beast. While there were a lot of scenes taken straight from the animated movie, there were also some flashback scenes telling how Maurice and his wife met, and the events that led up to the Beast’s curse. At part two (1/3 of the way through the book), the book takes a different turn from the movie and really develops into it’s own story.
I liked the way this book used inspiration from the movie, and enjoyed the twists along the way. It was entertaining, though a bit darker than the animated movie. One of the things I really liked was the way the author highlighted Belle’s and the Beast’s parents choices versus their own. In other words, the child does not have to make the same choice as the parent. In fact, one of Belle’s quotes near the end is a great reminder of this. “Everyone is different. Each person has his or her own soul and is master of his or her own destiny.”
The only thing I didn’t like was the open-ended ending. I’m not going to give anything away, other than to say, everything wasn’t totally knitted up into a perfect happy ending. It was for the most part happy, and gave the impression that all would end that way, but I personally, like the nicely tied up endings better.
Overall, it was a good read that I enjoyed. I read it within three days and it’s nearly 500 pages long! I would recommend it to any Disney fan, any Beauty and the Beast fan, or any fairytale fan. Just be prepared for the twist and turns it takes from the original Disney classic! 🙂
If you missed all the information about the reading challenge, you can find it here. Feel free to jump in for any or all of the books. Reviews are nonspoiler, so you have plenty of time to read each book. Whenever you finish, you can answer the questions or comment on the book via the comments section.
And the questions:
- Do you think that a parent automatically determines the choices/path a child has to take? Why or why not?
- How did you like the backstory of Maurice and Belle’s mother?
- What did you think of the twists the book took away from the movie?
- What was your favorite part of the book?
I just have to say – I loved this book! The perfect companion to the new movie, it takes places after Belle has come to the castle and been rescued from the wolves, but before Belle and the Beast have their dance.
The Beast has just given Belle the library, and she finds a magical book there. It’s a book she can actually step into and become a part of the book’s world. The book, called Nevermore, is written by Comtesse des Terres De Morts, a countess who befriends Belle once she enters Nevermore. The countess shows Belle exciting things – marvelous parties, the highlights of Paris, and a life of luxury. But Belle has to wonder, is it real? And is it really better than her life with the Beast and his servants?
This book expounded on some of the things I loved about the new movie. There was a little more about Belle’s past and a little more about the Beast’s past. I also loved the way it handled love – it’s sometimes hard and unglamorous, but when it’s real it’s worth it. It was an enchanting read, and also a deeper read than it first appeared to be.
If you love the Beauty and the Beast story, you’ll enjoy this book. And if you really loved the new Beauty and the Beast movie, this book is a must read! It fits with the movie so perfectly, adding a bit more to Belle and the Beast’s story.
Up next in the Beauty and the Beast reading challenge is, As Old As Time by Liz Braswell. If you haven’t finished Lost in A Book yet, no problem. You can always come back to share in the discussion here once you have. If you haven’t finished the book, you might not want to look at the discussions, there could be spoilers there. 🙂
And as promised, a few discussions questions. Share your answers in the comments!
What did you think of the Love/Death dichotomy?
Death said that Love was even more ferocious that Death herself was. Do you think that’s true, and why?
Why do you think the Beast had such a hard time having talking with Belle the way she wanted him to? Do you think this made him a bad friend?
What do you think is the best way to tell if a friend is true or not?
And, of course, what was your favorite part of the book?