The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross ★★★☆☆ #bookreview

batbSynopsis from Goodreads
I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both. I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

My Thoughts
There were things I liked about this book and things I did not like at all. I’m going to break my review down into a pros and cons list.

Pros

  1. I generally liked reading the story from the Beast’s point of view.
  2. I really liked that there was a storyline that included Isabeau’s father and sisters. That kept the book from being too claustrophobic for me. And, if I’m honest, I liked the story about Marie and Claude better than the story about Isabeau and the Beast.
  3. The book felt like a mature version of the well-known fairy tale.
  4. I actually liked how the “servants” were portrayed as simply invisible and magical, rather than trying to actually incorporate the well-known physical characters from the Disney version (i.e., Cogsworth, Lumière, Mrs. Potts, etc.).
  5. I appreciated the follow-up at the end of the story that told us a little bit about the future of the characters. It provided a tidy and satisfying finish.

Cons

  1. The writing style was beautiful, it really was, but for me it was ultimately verbose. Excessive descriptions really bogged down the story for me. I found myself skimming quite a bit in an attempt to move the story along.
  2. A huge chunk of the story was super repetitive. Isabeau plays music for the Beast, the Beast reads to Isabeau, they take walks, they eat dinner… over and over and over and over. There were so many pages without much actually happening. I’m afraid if it wasn’t for the story of Marie and Claude interspersed between the mundane day to day life at the Beast’s château, I would have likely stopped reading.
  3. I’m not positive what demographic this book is aimed at, but the writing style will turn off a lot of teens in my opinion. Just like many teens would likely struggle with reading Dracula or Frankenstein or even something by Jane Austen, I think a lot would struggle too much with the writing style of this book and give up… particularly when reading a story they most likely already know.
  4. Isabeau didn’t seem to be a reader. She was a listener and requested that the Beast read to her often, but didn’t seem to read herself. This was a great departure from the Belle we know and love from the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. I personally LOVE that Belle was a reader in the movie, and I disliked that that part of the character’s persona was eliminated from Isabeau.

Overall, the excessively descriptive and repetitive writing puts this book in the average category for me. I didn’t dislike the story, but editing was desperately needed to pare it down, reduce the repetitiveness and quicken the pace a bit.

Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Expected U.S. publication February 12, 2019 by Berkley Publishing Group.

My rating – 3 out of 5

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4 thoughts on “The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross ★★★☆☆ #bookreview

  1. I haven’t heard of this one, but it definitely sounds worth a read! Beauty and the Beast is probably my favorite Disney movie, so it would be a lot of fun to read a retelling of the original — especially from the beast’s POV! Bummer about Isabeau not being much of a reader though, that was definitely one of the most enchanting (and relatable) part’s of Belle’s personality 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you are a huge fan, definitely give it a chance. It’s creative to see it from a different perspective, even if it was a tad overwritten and repetitive (in my opinion of course). And yes – the Beauty character has to be a reader! It’s just wrong that she wasn’t! You’ll just have to imagine she was more of a reader like I did! 🙂

    Like

  3. I have this sitting on my kindle to be read as I love Beauty and the Beast re-tellings. I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect, but sounds like it is worth a try at least from your review

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Definitely worth a try. I found it a tad slow, but not bad. Incorporating “Beauty’s” family was a nice addition to the story. If you like retellings, you will like this book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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