Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Beast of Ten - Beth Brower

Summary: THE DEATH BLEAK - For centuries he has haunted the nations, taking the blood gain further than any before him

THE PYRE - His storied stronghold deep in the Forrest of Naeethe, its glory forgotten, its ancient purposes abandoned

AND I, EMBER - Sent by the Lights to stop him from becoming the one thing that all nations fear the most. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review: I’m excited to review this book today because I’m betting it’s one you haven’t heard of. I personally love when people tell me about a book that was not on my radar at all, and it’s even better when I really enjoy the book. I may be a professional book reviewer, and I do listen to book podcasts and read book lists and subscribe to publishers’ lists of new and upcoming books, plus spend a lot of time doing nerdy book lover things, but there are just a lot of books coming out all the time. It’s hard to keep up with All the Books. I’ve found that when people post on Facebook “I’m looking for a new book to read!” I’ve heard of and possibly read many of the books that are on there, or at least heard of the author. Not every single book all the time, of course, but a good portion of them at least. Beast of Ten was not on one of those lists, and actually was chosen by a woman in my book club because it is written by a local (to my book club) author. It wasn’t available in our library and it’s a new release, so I’m excited to introduce this to you, in hopes that you haven’t heard of it or read it. I picked my copy up on Amazon, but it is also available on Barnes & Noble and possibly other places as well.

I don’t know about you but I have enjoyed the new re-telling of old fairytales genre. I’ve read several, some are YA fic and some are adult fic, and I would say this one is somewhere between those and therefore New Adult Fic. I like the fresh new perspective and have enjoyed the re-tellings overall. Beast of Ten is a re-imagined “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s not exactly like it, and indeed the woman who picked it didn’t even recognize it as such until her daughter pointed it out to her. However, she told our book club that that’s what it was based on so while I was reading it it was very obvious to me that it was a retelling of that classic.

So what is the same and what is different? Well, it’s got the same basic characters, but they are much more fleshed out and there are many more, several of whom are very important characters. There is also a lot of magic, much more so than the original story, and I actually really enjoyed that. I’m not much of a high fantasy person, although every time I say that I can think of several examples of high fantasy that I really enjoyed, but in general I’m not really into high fantasy. This book, although definitely involving magic, had a lot of almost magical realism elements, which I thought were awesome. I love me some well-done magical realism. I love the idea of normal people having normal-esque powers that are just powerful enough to maybe be beyond the realm of normalcy, but maybe not. This book has a lot of that.  One of my favorite characters in the book is actually the beast’s castle, and I don’t want to spoil it for you but it plays a major role in this story, and one in which I thought was really cool and really imaginative. There is also one character that is huge in this story that is not in the original “Beauty and the Beast.” Many of the more peripheral characters in the original story are also more prominent in this one, which was enjoyable.

I really enjoyed the story in this book. It is really allegorical, and I thought it was a very imaginative and interesting way to look at the original story. It is a long book, which gives it a lot of time to be developed and the characters and story fleshed out. It didn’t seem like a long slog, though, and many women in our book club read it on their phones with no problem at all (I am fundamentally opposed to reading on electronic devices because I am old and stodgy). We had a good discussion in our book club, and almost everybody really enjoyed the book. I think everybody did, actually, but some wouldn’t commit either way (they’re like that. Haha). If you are into fairytales, especially if you are a “Beauty and the Beast” lover, I recommend you check out this book for a fun retelling and a re-imagined view of the old story. Don’t be expecting beautiful Disney princesses skipping down the French countryside singing “I want much more than this provincial life!” but do be prepared for some good writing and some good storytelling in a familiar yet different world.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is clean, although there is some discussion of evil doings such as murder, but nothing seriously graphic or gratuitously descriptive.

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