Author: Nicole Mainardi
Genre: YA Retelling
”In order to repay her father’s debt to the Regime and save her sisters from a terrible fate, Belle Fairfax—an eighteen-year-old girl with a love for forbidden books and the thrill of the hunt—must risk everything to find the reclusive Beast and steal the ring that cursed him.Goodreads Synopsis
But the Beast is not what she expects.
A young king cursed by a witch and forgotten by his village, all Bastian wants is to win the heart of the forest girl with the silver scars. But he’s a hideous Beast that abandoned his people for the sake of vanity, and he knows it won’t be easy to earn her affection.
But there’s more to the girl than he thought.
Belle only has one purpose once she makes it to the Beast’s castle: find the ring, take it, and leave the Beast to rot. But as she comes to know about the Beast, she realises that she has more to fight for than just her family. Bastian knows he’s left his people in the hands of the corrupt Regime, and the guilt of their suffering gnaws at him. The more time he spends with Belle, though, the less he hates what he’s become.
With Briar on the brink of falling completely under the control of the Regime, Belle and Bastian find that, together, they may be the key to freeing their home from the reaching grasp of the tyrannical Emperor.”
We know the story; Beauty goes to the Beasts castle, they fall in love, fight to be together and live happily ever after. But this is a retelling, so it’s the changes that makes or breaks the book. And I’ll tell you now; Nicole Mainardi really upped the stakes on this one! If the curse is not broken, Briar will fall under the control of the Regime. And they are not a very nice group. The word ”Nazi” came to mind.
But besides some huge differences like the nazi-party, there’s many smaller reinterpretations in this book that are really amazing.
For an example, let’s talk about the iconic rose; There’s not a single rose in this one, but a whole bush of them. And there’s a whole backstory about them and their importance to the Beast. And you know what, iconic-one-rose-lover as I am, I loved this reinterpretation! While the Disney rose is pretty much just a cooking timer that will count down to when they all are toast, there’s deeper feelings and history connected to Nicole Mainardi’s roses and the Beast. And that small change and addition gave the story another layer. Again, I loved it!
Here’s where I’m a bit confused. Sometimes it feels like the France 1700s, and sometimes it don’t. So I’m not sure what era we’re in. Here’s a pet peeve of mine. Belle ”zipped up” a jacket.. That stopped me in my tracks because it felt really off in the setting. And I looked it up; It started in 1851 with an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.”, and the term zipper was first used in 1923. (What else can I say, I’m a freak.) Small things like this can be a bit jarring to me personally, but on a whole this does not bother me too much. It’s a fairytale with actual fairies after all, so anything is possible. And the book on a whole makes these things pretty unimportant to me.
Since reinterpret characters is critical to keep a retelling interesting and fresh, I’m keeping this short to avoid spoilers.Belle is as tough as nails, and I like it! The beast is a beastie! Meaning he’s not a handsome man with a crooked tooth(anyone else annoyed with handsome humanoid interpretations of the Beast?). He’s the furry, animalistic creature that I love. I’m not saying more than that because I don’t want to spoil anything for future readers.. Ok, one thing; Beastie got his own magic!!
For the supporting characters, there has been some changes here too. The two sisters are back, but they are beyond sweet this time around. Instead, it’s the father that is the main cause of trouble for the family, and is not worthy of being a father to put it lightly. This leads to that Belle does no longer take actions for her father, but because of him. This is again a slight change that does a lot of difference for a story, especially in the dynamics of the relationships.
A bit fast paced to really give me the time to appreciate the love-story and other parts fully. But I liked the dual POV with both the main characters. It was nice getting the Beast’s side of the story mixed with Belle’s. And in a way it made the fast pacing less noticeable. I also do wish I could read more about the Regime. Right now it feels more of a big bad cloud hanging around than an invading nation. In a nutshell; As always when I like a book, I wish the pace was a bit slower and that there were more of the book.
This is a beautiful and individual retelling that really can stand on it’s own. There was a few moments that had my freakazoid-OCD mind going crazy, but without doing any real damage.
I also want to put in a disclaimer here; My personal feelings for the author has not affected my review. Nicole is one of my favourite people on instagram and I have supported her as much as I’ve been able to.(Including helping with a giveaway of this book) But I did buy my own copy of ACoT because I really wanted to read it, and as I told her once; I would continue to support her even if I did not like the book. It just turned out that I really did like it. It’s beautiful, well written and packs a hell of a punch. 4 stars.