Of Beast And Beauty by Stacey JayOf Beast And Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast And Beauty

byStacey Jay

Paperback | December 9, 2014

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What if Beauty became the Beast? Discover a new angle on the classic fairytale in this fantasy retelling that's perfect for anyone who can't get enough of Beauty and the Beast.
 
In the city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra is raised to be a human sacrifice. Her death will ensure her city’s vitality.
 
In the desert, a mutant beast named Gem fights to save his people, known as the Monstrous, from starvation.
 
Neither dreams that, together, they can return balance to their worlds.

When Gem is captured for trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, he becomes a prisoner of the city. Isra enlists his help, and soon begins to care for him—and to question everything she has been brought up to believe. . . .


“Engrossing tale . . . [an] intense love story.” —Kirkus Reviews
 

“The bones of the classic Beauty and the Beast story are all here, imaginatively fleshed out with tropes from science fiction, fantasy, and even political drama.” —The Bulletin, Recommended
 
“Jay’s characters are well-realized . . . [the] setup is intriguing and her writing assured.” —Publishers Weekly

“Revelations and plot twists keep the action flowing and romance growing. . . . A satisfying read for fans of romantic fantasy.” —School Library Journal

STACEY JAY is the author of the popular Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed and several other books for young adults. She lives in California with her family.
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Title:Of Beast And BeautyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.84 inPublished:December 9, 2014Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385743211

ISBN - 13:9780385743211

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really awesome I really really liked this book. I'm bad at reviewing books I loved, so bear with me here. There were so many things to love. For one, it was beautifully romantic and emotionally engrossing. The level of tragedy and suspense was just about perfect. The supporting characters were really well done - Bo I loved as a character. I didn't love him as a person, cause he was horribly flawed and made himself a bit unlovable, but he still managed to win my sympathy and some measure of respect. His flaws were really well done and made him a really intriguing character. The world building was really cool, and was an awesome level of fleshed-out enough to satisfy and intrigue but not overwhelm. Also, the vague suggestion of an alien planet and the corruption of the city were awesome. The two main characters - especially Isra - were both engaging and interesting and original and hardworking and smart and unconventional and - gah. I'm heading into fangirling territory about these two. There's really nothing else to say but that I loved them both. One of my favorite things about this book was how it took one of my favorite fairy tales and turned it on its head in an amazing way, while still somehow keeping it completely true to the heart and even much of the plot of the original. It magnified every theme and intricacy that I love in the original fairytale while twisting them into new and fascinating shapes. (For example, you'd be hard pressed to say which of the two protagonists was Beast, and which was Beauty - they both played the part of both to perfection. It sounds confusing, but it worked really well.) It was completely and shockingly original but was completely recognizable as the fairytale it was born from. It even had a fairytale feel, despite the alien planet and slightly dystopian world building. It was a befuddling mix of dystopia and fairytale and romance and tragedy and alien, but managed to hit nearly every one of my literary sweet spots and leave me with a big smile on my face. Seriously, I could use tons of complimentary adjectives and spout off about this book forever, but you should go read it. In the interest of being critical, if I had to complain about anything, it would be the pace. It skips over months or weeks at a time without much explanation or immersion in the events that happen in that time, and at other parts spends 200 pages on the events of twenty-four hours. It jarred a little, and made an otherwise really interesting romance a bit insta-love. I wish it had been a bit more balanced, but I loved everything I was given, so I don't know how the author could have managed it without making the book 700 pages. Not that I would mind 700 pages of this world or these characters. Quite the opposite.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I definitely felt the vivid emotions while reading this. I had felt the pain of loss and misfortune which quickly drew me in and kept me in it grips until the very end.
Date published: 2016-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sweet and spooky I loved this twisted fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It stuck close enough to the normal story while still being something totally its own. A haunting, moving romance.
Date published: 2015-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful and original Of Beast and Beauty is by far one of the most well written YA books I have ever read from a literary perspective. The writing was poetic and lyrical without overwhelming the reader in a sea of metaphors. It's possible for a book to be written beautifully, and yet the plot and character falls flat. This book did not fall flat on any counts. The writing was phenomenal, the world was quite well developed and interesting, and the characters were fantastic.  I will say that I did have a hard time getting into this book at first. I was just introduced to so many new things, that as a reader I found myself getting a little bit confused, but all of that confusion went away after the first 50 pages or so once I really started to get a feel for this story.  Even though the idea of a city underneath a glass dome has been done before, the world within that dome was fascinating. Yes, this is a loosely accurate Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it strays from the traditional fairytale quite a bit. The world was dark, but it was beautiful at the same time. I thought that life within and outside of the domes were very yell explained and so was the tension between the people of Yuan and those outside its walls. All in all it was really just exceptionally described and so vivid that I could picture every single thing happening with clarity. I won't spoil too much about the world-building or the background, but I must say that the way the moon was brought into the story was so intriguing and original, I absolutely loved it. Now the characters, oh the characters. Our two protagonists are Gem and Isra. Isra is the blind princess of Yuan, but that does now make her weak no sir. Isra is a very strong character, and though she did annoy me at times, I found her to be very relatable and inspiring. It really was sad how even though she was the ruler of this city, her own people, advisors, and just about everyone around her looked down on her and had no respect for her ideas. Even as the next queen, those who she was supposed to trust were working against her and brining her down. *Side note : Speaking of the Queen's the whole sacrifice thing was so heartbreaking! I mean it made sense, but it just took the story into a much darker level* Isra takes Gem has her prisoner after he and his father and brother sneak into the city looking for supplies. This being a retelling of The Beauty and the Beast (although I really love how we don't really know for sure who is the Beast and who is The Beauty... both of these characters have both of those aspects within them and I think that makes the story all the more beautiful) the two naturally grow closer and fall in love. Their love is really quite beautiful and I thought the romance in this book was done so well. All in all I loved everything about this book. It was addicting and I could not stop reading it and it is definitely one of the most well written and intricately thought out and original books I have read this year. I think this quite easily deserves 5 stars :) I really recommend this!!!! And that cover.... GORGEOUS.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT!! SO ORIGINAL!! I really enjoyed Stacey Jay's twist on Juliet and Romeo and was excited to see what she would do with Beauty and the Beast. If possible I liked it more. Jay took all of the key and pivotal moments and spun them into something I was not expecting. Maybe if I had read the synopsis in full I would have but after the first little bit I did read I was convinced I wanted this book, no matter where it was taken. This was not a Grimm retelling or a Disney like version but something wonderful in its own right. With Jay's lyrical and beautifully flowing writing style everything just seemed to work. Where to place this book in genre I really don't know beyond calling it a retelling. The plot starts at the beginning of a group of people coming to a land. Their arrival was to be a new start and it went horribly wrong, or at least the Smooth Skin people seen it that way. The people that the land and its magic effected more: the Monstrous, embraced the gift and the beauty but they paid for it with banishment and their every day struggle to live. The magic that the Smooth Skins embraced is a dark magic, even though they do not see it that way. They pay for their "beauty" with blood... to the roses that demand it. It is a dark and twisted world and life that everyone must live, it's a matter of how easy life seems and what side of the domes you are on. From start to finish I liked Isra. She is unique in so many ways and though she seems weak at a few points, she really isn't. Basically it was just a matter of pulling at her inner strength and becoming the person she wanted to be. Oh, it was also a case of the psychotic advisor and counsel that all believed that the old way was the only way. Problem is that the old way isn't the only way and to be honest with you guys without spoiling it, it isn't even the original way. However, it is ultimately the transformations that this girl goes through that really makes her amazing. She begins to see things as they are not as she was taught, in her own heart knows the difference between right and wrong and stands up for it. She knows that things can change and wants them to but is the chance and the sacrifice worth it? For her the answer is yes. Every progression that her character made only made me enjoy her more and as far as beauty goes she has so much inner that it's hard to tell if the outer ever really mattered. Gem was a lot more difficult to break than Isra. He was a fighter and I can not blame him for the hate he had for the Smooth Skins. From the outside looking in, it looked like they had it all while his people struggled to live and were dying. He may be what they call a Monstrous but what he sees in the people that thrive while he dies is monstrous to him. Also notably Gem did not just go ahead and fall for the girl that showed him kindness. Yes, he did feel something but was never sure if his desire to kill her or embrace her and battles with that for most of the read. My favourite thing about him though is the fact that he remains consistent and yet has character development throughout the novel. I even found myself falling for him and his stubborn views because in them he was his own person and someone in his own league. There was a second guy introduced: Bo but it never really phased me. I really think he had good intentions but honestly he was never a true contender and my heart went out to him for that reason. He just was manipulated and wanted to believe in the way that things were but he had such a good heart when it came down to it in the end. Also another person that needs to be mentioned is Needle. She is basically the one that raised Isra and is a wonderful character, even though she does not speak. Needle is a pillar in Isra's life and is consistently supportive in her own way.. occasionally doing things that may get her in trouble just to help her as well. Though these characters play small parts without them the story would not have been the same. Stacey Jay has blown me away with her beautiful writing style and flowing story. There is far too much to like about this book and nothing to really despise it over. By nothing I mean I can not think of anything that I could pick at when it comes to to this read. With all honesty this was a wonderful twist that kept its own originality and very well a story in its own while keeping the best parts of Beauty and the Beast. For those of us that love a good (in this case GREAT) retelling, this is one that should not be missed. If you are not normally a fan of a retelling... give this one a try anyway because its sci-fi/fantasy/romance story will capture you anyway.
Date published: 2013-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT!! SO ORIGINAL!! I really enjoyed Stacey Jay's twist on Juliet and Romeo and was excited to see what she would do with Beauty and the Beast. If possible I liked it more. Jay took all of the key and pivotal moments and spun them into something I was not expecting. Maybe if I had read the synopsis in full I would have but after the first little bit I did read I was convinced I wanted this book, no matter where it was taken. This was not a Grimm retelling or a Disney like version but something wonderful in its own right. With Jay's lyrical and beautifully flowing writing style everything just seemed to work. Where to place this book in genre I really don't know beyond calling it a retelling. The plot starts at the beginning of a group of people coming to a land. Their arrival was to be a new start and it went horribly wrong, or at least the Smooth Skin people seen it that way. The people that the land and its magic effected more: the Monstrous, embraced the gift and the beauty but they paid for it with banishment and their every day struggle to live. The magic that the Smooth Skins embraced is a dark magic, even though they do not see it that way. They pay for their "beauty" with blood... to the roses that demand it. It is a dark and twisted world and life that everyone must live, it's a matter of how easy life seems and what side of the domes you are on. From start to finish I liked Isra. She is unique in so many ways and though she seems weak at a few points, she really isn't. Basically it was just a matter of pulling at her inner strength and becoming the person she wanted to be. Oh, it was also a case of the psychotic advisor and counsel that all believed that the old way was the only way. Problem is that the old way isn't the only way and to be honest with you guys without spoiling it, it isn't even the original way. However, it is ultimately the transformations that this girl goes through that really makes her amazing. She begins to see things as they are not as she was taught, in her own heart knows the difference between right and wrong and stands up for it. She knows that things can change and wants them to but is the chance and the sacrifice worth it? For her the answer is yes. Every progression that her character made only made me enjoy her more and as far as beauty goes she has so much inner that it's hard to tell if the outer ever really mattered. Gem was a lot more difficult to break than Isra. He was a fighter and I can not blame him for the hate he had for the Smooth Skins. From the outside looking in, it looked like they had it all while his people struggled to live and were dying. He may be what they call a Monstrous but what he sees in the people that thrive while he dies is monstrous to him. Also notably Gem did not just go ahead and fall for the girl that showed him kindness. Yes, he did feel something but was never sure if his desire to kill her or embrace her and battles with that for most of the read. My favourite thing about him though is the fact that he remains consistent and yet has character development throughout the novel. I even found myself falling for him and his stubborn views because in them he was his own person and someone in his own league. There was a second guy introduced: Bo but it never really phased me. I really think he had good intentions but honestly he was never a true contender and my heart went out to him for that reason. He just was manipulated and wanted to believe in the way that things were but he had such a good heart when it came down to it in the end. Also another person that needs to be mentioned is Needle. She is basically the one that raised Isra and is a wonderful character, even though she does not speak. Needle is a pillar in Isra's life and is consistently supportive in her own way.. occasionally doing things that may get her in trouble just to help her as well. Though these characters play small parts without them the story would not have been the same. Stacey Jay has blown me away with her beautiful writing style and flowing story. There is far too much to like about this book and nothing to really despise it over. By nothing I mean I can not think of anything that I could pick at when it comes to to this read. With all honesty this was a wonderful twist that kept its own originality and very well a story in its own while keeping the best parts of Beauty and the Beast. For those of us that love a good (in this case GREAT) retelling, this is one that should not be missed. If you are not normally a fan of a retelling... give this one a try anyway because its sci-fi/fantasy/romance story will capture you anyway.
Date published: 2013-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Boldly Imaginative Retelling of Beauty and the Beast! I've loved reading Stacey Jay's YA novels for years now, so when I first heard about Of Beast and Beauty, I instantly added it to my must-read list. Stacey Jay has taken the essence of Beauty and the Beast and given it such a unique twist that the novel is at once both familiar and unfamiliar. The world of the Smooth Skins and Monstrous is simultaneously dream and nightmare, jarringly beautiful and ugly, fragile yet somehow strong at its core. Isra is princess of the domed city of Yuan, one of the last cities still standing that hasn't been destroyed by the Monstrous tribes who live in the harsh conditions outside. Blind and living in darkness, Isra has known all her life that she will one day be a human sacrifice in order to ensure the continued survival of her people. Gem is a Monstrous warrior who's on a dangerous mission to steal the enchanted roses in the royal garden, believing they could save his starving tribe. But when Gem is captured by the guards, he has no choice but to pretend to help Isra if he ever wishes to be free again. As Isra and Gem work together, they begin to learn that everything they thought to be true was all built on secrets and lies. The star-crossed romance in Of Beast and Beauty is very believable. It definitely wasn't love at first sight, but rather, a drawn out affair of two enemies realizing that despite appearances, neither is as awful as their people have always been led to believe. Isra has compassion for others with Monstrous traits, and Gem is no unintelligent beast. The Smooth Skins only value traditional skin-deep beauty, ironically becoming the true monsters of the tale with their selfish ways and how they cruelly treat anyone who is less than perfection. Isra and Gem's friendship and eventual love for each other is a chance for a new beginning, to break hundreds of years of prejudice and bring hope to their dying world. A boldly imaginative retelling of a classic fairy tale, Of Beast and Beauty is Stacey Jay's best written book yet. Its combination of fantasy, science fiction, and magic is completely refreshing, immediately casting a mesmerizing spell that holds readers long after the novel is finished. You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.ca/2013/07/of-beast-and-beauty-by-stacey-jay.html
Date published: 2013-07-28

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal, August 2013:"A satisfying read for fans of romantic fantasy."Justine, August/September 2013:"The romance in this book is as lush, wild and thorny as the magic roses that protect the doomed city of Yuan! This re-imagined version of classic Beauty and the Beast is all the more addicting because the two man characters are misfits who slowly develop their love through shared goals, secret whispers and intense chemistry."From the Hardcover edition.