Published: February 12, 2019
Series: Stand alone
Pages: 416 (Paperback)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.
I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.
I am the Beast.
The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.
My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.
My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.
And now I might lose her forever.
The whole fairytale retelling subgenre has kind of calmed down as of late which I’m glad of- there were just too many slapped together, highly derivative YA books being released. The Beast’s Heart was a mature and well executed book that brought me great delight. I enjoyed it so much that once I was finished I passed it along to my mom and told her to check it out as well.
Finally, a Beauty and the Beast retelling where the Beast is the main POV and the female character isn’t an ultra-talented huntress, mistress of the bow, and/or doesn’t instantly fall in love with the Beast. I mean, who would fall in love with a bear-dog-man who’s holding you hostage? That would be like a grotesque amalgamation of Stockholm syndrome and Pavlov’s experiments (totally making that up, Pavlov was more of conditioning to stimuli kind of guy rather than just the dogs). This story was quite a bit better than that. The Beast saves a traveler in his woods and demands he bring his youngest daughter to meet him as payment or he will be killed. Isabeau, the aforementioned daughter, goes to see the Beast in order to save her father and sisters from further misfortune. She is wary of the Beast, but believes he will not hurt her and she agrees to stay for one year. They become more comfortable with one another, though they each keep secrets and eventually the Beast is told by a fairy that he will be freed from his curse if he can convince Isabeau to marry him. This is a very traditional retelling of the story and I greatly enjoyed it.
I can’t express how happy I was that Isabeau didn’t try to murder the Beast in his sleep or sneak out or decide she had the hots for a bear-dog-man she hardly knew. Isabeau hung out, played music, read book, and went for long walks in the gardens for days on end. I like the Beast’s perspective on all this and all the doubts and worries he had, especially once he found out she was the key to breaking his curse. Learning his history and how he ended up in such a state was also pretty cool. All of these things really did an excellent job of fleshing out his character. Just as interesting as the goings on at his forest manor were the lives of Isabeau’s sisters. They had to quickly adjust to life without her and in doing so, repaired their own lives.
Overall, this was a perfectly enjoyable book that would make for a perfect snowy day re-read in a year or so. This is a classic retelling that any fairytale lover should have on their shelves, especially since it has such lovely cover art.