Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

DNF around 35% and 1.5 star. Why did i subject myself to another terrible re-telling?

THE GOOD
1) The potential and/or attempt at creativity. From what I read what I learned through other reviews, this is less a story about Belle and the Beast as it is about the candlestick and the Beast. Belle comes into the picture later, which could have opened doors for a unique and creative retelling like The Beast. 

But...nope.

2) I love it when Beauty and the Beast re-tellings go the route of more realistic, time-period medieval settings like Beauty of the Beast . Even though this version still went the route of the magical enchantment, we started going the route of period France. 

3) I respect what Lisa Jensen tried to do with this novel, I do. Here is a blurb from her author's note:

So why is it the prince who gets the “reward” of Beauty’s love? And why is Beauty so ready to forget the Beast she says she loves and marry the prince? Doesn’t Beast himself deserve to be the hero? 

As someone who’s always loved Beast more than the prince, I thought: wouldn’t it be more interesting if there was another woman involved, one who wants to preserve Beast and make sure the prince never returns? So, in my version, there is a good reason the young chevalier is transformed into Beast: his handsome face conceals an evil and corrupted nature. And no one knows it better than my heroine, Lucie.

As much as Beast deserves to be the hero in my book, I wanted to create, in Lucie, a heroine openhearted enough to care for Beast just the way he is —and strong enough to fight to preserve him. In Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge, they both deserve a happy ending.


THE BAD
1) If you're going to write a novel from the point of view of a speechless, immobile candlestick...you better be one heck of a writer. Lisa Jensen doesn't quite reach that mark, I'm afraid, and as a result much of what I read skimmed was narrative exposition as Lucie the Candlestick sits in a cupboard and thinks our story for us. Yaaaawwnn.

2) Yes, the Beast rapes Lucie while she's still human and yes, it's devastating for her. The Beast is also a despicable person to other people and animals alike, and seems ruthless and cruel. On one hand, with a skilled writer there could have been potential in that. The prince/Beast is, after all, supposed to be a detestable human pre-curse so if we hate him so much by a few chapters in, we're on the right track. One could argue this was merely going to be a very grim and realistically evil portrayal of what a truly deplorable human being would act like with no holds barred.

3) I just got so bored right away. 

Pick up literally any other Beauty and the Beast retelling out there -- there are at least a dozen mature, fantasy-based one star that are terrific.
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Put Down At ~40%

I wasn't really that interesting in this book after the beginning and found the characters quite dull
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In the end, I would recommend the book.  It wasn’t a favorite, though and I would rather read other books before this one.  However, it was worth it to see a unique take on an age-old fairy tale.
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I’m still not 100% set on my opinion of this one. Mostly I enjoyed it, but there were aspects I found problematic. Chief amongst these was the reality that a character was shown to exhibit sufficient change as to be forgiven for unforgivable crimes. Whilst I accept that the authors intent was to show that the character was in fact two separate characters, one having committed the crime and the other innocent, ultimately they inhabited the same body and so I find it difficult to accept that their victim was able to so willingly forgive and forget. I feel like I needed some additional separation between the characters, something to really sever them apart to accept this, and that was missing.
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Unfortunately I had to DNF this book. Typically beauty and the beast retellings are one of my favorite. The synopsis sounds great and the cover was gorgeous. However, there was a brutal trape scene in the beginning that I felt was unnecessary.  The beast blames his mother for the rape vs taking accountability for it himself. This is absolutely not ok. The writing did not captivate me and I felt disconnected from the story.
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This wasn't my favourite Beauty and the Beast reworking. It needed more character work. I really like it when a retelling is a retelling only in the loosest of terms. This was not my cup of tea, but I can see others really enjoying it.
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This book is not for me. Trigger warning:
But there was a horrifying rape scene in it and I couldn’t even finish the novel after that, I had issues with the beast from then on that I found irreparable and I honestly can’t,
Just, no.
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Told from the perspective of a maid in the house of a gorgeous but beastly chevalier, Beast is quite a different take on the Beauty and the Beast story. Lucie is initially smitten with her handsome employer, but after he uses and discards the young servant, she seeks the help of a witch in the nearby forest to get her revenge. But once turned into Beast, the chevalier is absolutely a different person. Beast may be hideous, but he is a beautiful soul. Lucie can only watch as Beast peruses books he once scorned, and tends the rose garden with his own hands, because Lucie was transformed as well, into a candelabra. She looks on in horror when the beautiful and mannered Rose comes to see Beast's charms, breaking the "curse" laid upon Beast, and returning the evil chevalier to his beauty and consciousness. Lucie must save Rose from his clutches, and Beast too.

A tale of redemption and second chances, where nothing is the way you thought it was.
One scene wherein Lucie is assaulted, but not graphically, but probably not appropriate for under 8th grade.
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So sorry about not getting to this! I was unable to download this novel before Netgalley archived it. Do not mind the star rating, I had to give one in order to give feedback!
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Content Warning: graphic rape scene

I tried really, really hard to like this. I usually love retellings, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. In the end, this book didn’t work for me for a number of reasons.

Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, is cruel. And Lucie, a servant-girl, suffers at his hand. When she runs into a wisewoman, her wish is granted: the chevalier will suffer. He is turned into a monstrous Beast. And yet…the beast is kind-hearted, soft, patient, and remorseful, and Lucie feels herself starting to hope. Until a young woman arrives at the château, with the power to break the curse.

This was definitely an interesting take on the old tale, but it also didn’t seem that different from the original. The setting was quite similar to the original story, and the story itself wasn’t that different either. Nevertheless, I liked the twists that the book did have.

The rape scene was disturbing, but I also just didn’t quite get the purpose of it otherwise. It seemed almost as if it was used as a plot device, for the main character to feel enough emotion to set the curse in motion. It was mentioned briefly at the end when things were being explained, but in the bigger picture, it just seemed unnecessary.

Overall, the writing style just wasn’t for me. Some reviewers have called it lyrical, and while I can see that, it dragged out for me. While it definitely fits the setting and time period of the story, I just wasn’t engaged by it.
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Once again, Jensen wowed me with her retelling. I loved Alias Hook and was worried Beast wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I was so wrong! While Beast isn’t as dark, and has a vague YA feel about it, it was just as moving and engrossing as Alias Hook!

Inspired by a quote from Greta Garbo, who supposedly cried “Give me back my Beast!” after watching the Jean Cocteau film, Jensen turns the traditional tale sideways. The prince, or Chevalier, is still handsome and cruel – after he rapes Lucie she vows revenge – and he’s still turned into a hideous beast. Only this time, the beast is almost instantly a different person. He doesn’t have to learn to be kind and appears to forget his human past. When the beauty shows up after her father traditionally steals the rose, she now threatens to break the spell and revert the kind beast back to the cruel Chevalier. Lucie must do what she can to prevent that – only she’s been transformed by the spell too. I won’t say how; this part took me completely by surprise when I was reading and it was wonderfully done.

If you’re worried, the rape scene isn’t overly graphic, but that doesn’t make it easy to read. The aftermath of the traumatic is fraught with just as much, if not more, emotion. Lucie feels a constant, secret shame about what was done to her, though it wasn’t by any means her fault.

“I speak to no one, and no further notice is taken of me. I try to believe that if I’m quiet enough, insignificant enough, someday I might disappear altogether, like the dew off a rose. I will escape my memory, my shame, even my flesh, and the torment of my life will end. I pray for that moment.”

Her shame and guilt drive her to drown herself, though she’s unsuccessful. This is how she meets the wise woman who helps exact her revenge.

“He has taken a great deal from you, my dear. Don’t let him have the rest. Prove you have the stronger heart and survive.”

Lucie does just that.

The tone lightens somewhat after that. Once the Chevalier and Lucie are transformed, Lucie’s perspective on the beast and herself changes. She was a mousy, plain girl before, who didn’t think much of herself (though she wasn’t overly negative.) After her transformation, she considers herself beautiful and strong.

“I am strong, as I never was before. I am here to show him what he has become.”

Her outlook on the entire situation was a refreshing one, yet another spin Jensen puts on the familiar tale. The story focuses more on the successful transformations of the two main characters, rather than the beast and his beauty pining for what he once was. Yet again, Jensen created an immersive story and characters that were easy to care about. Or, well, loathe, in the case of the Chevalier.

I loved every page of this book. From the surprising transformation of Lucie to the emotional transformation of the beast to the interruption caused by beautiful Rose – Jensen kept me guessing what would happen next and praying that my ship would sail.

I can’t wait for more from Jensen! I’ll leave you with an abbreviated quote:

“That’s the sort of story folk love – a clear moral, a happy ending. It comforts them to think the barriers between virtue and evil, love and hate, beauty and beast, are so clearly defined…Happily ever after takes hard work, but folk don’t like to hear about that.”

I highly recommend this if:

+You enjoy darker retellings
+You like your love stories with a side of revenge
+You enjoy books that fall into the rare, magical gap between YA and adult
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The cover is beautiful. The writing is really good. I highlight a large proportion of the book. But with that being said, I didn't enjoy it so much, will try it again sometime soon.
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This was not what I expected at all which is why I ended up rating it so low. I did end up partly enjoying it but it was slow and super dark.
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DNF @ 42%
There is one fundamental problem in Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge for me, and it can be boiled down to a simple principle; and yet I realize that it's not as simple at the same time.  

Trigger warning: an act of rape is the primary focus in this story (and is detailed out in the story) and this act is the focus of the discussion below.

Falling in Love
I believe that people can genuinely fall in love with a captor (above and beyond Stockholm syndrome). I also believe that people can fall in love with someone that they saw as evil or abhorrent at some point. Redemption is possible in many situations. However, there is a line for me. I can't scientifically quantify where that line is necessarily. And so, what follows is merely my opinion for which you can take or leave

What is too far?
I think there are two distinct scenarios in which most people will never be able to forgive someone: 
1) Deliberate Rape, 
2) Deliberate Death of Loved One (be it parent, child, spouse, etc.).
When I refer to deliberate what I mean is that it's done: without influence of drugs, alcohol, etc., with all mental facilities in place, with the knowledge of what they were doing and how it would affect the victim or victim's loved ones. This is an important distinction in our law today and one I believe in. 
So, in Beast we are given to believe that after a deliberate vicious rape, that takes the virginity of our lead gal, that it's possible for her to 'forgive' him. 
Here's my problem with that, for pages after pages our leading lady talks about loathing Beast. She talks about her need/desire for revenge or vengeance. She is thrilled when he is cursed to be the Beast and derives pleasure from his pain. 
Yet, we are to believe that however many chapters later that our leading lady forgives Beast? Really Lisa Jensen? This is just too far for me. I feel it's a slap in the face to victims of awful crimes and, for me, shows a lack of understanding of the emotional, mental and physical destruction a virgin rape could cause.
Given the descriptions included in the novel I just don't see any way a girl, unless afflicted by Stockholm syndrome or an equal mental illness, would ever be able to love the person that did this to her. It's dangerously close to the circle/cycle of violence that many end up in. It seems to me that the idea of love is being misappropriated here. 
To be clear, that's not to say that S&M culture is included in this analysis. It's not. I myself am not opposed to pain at times. BUT, there is a difference between consensual understanding and vicious rape. There is a clear difference for me and I feel that this is not that instance (no matter what is written in the book after I stopped reading).

Overall
Given that the writing is nothing special, our character descriptions are okay and the dialogue is fairly average this would never be a stunning novel (even with the attack taken out).
Unfortunately, the only thing that stands out for me is the idea of our leading lady forgiving and loving Beast. While I did not read the book to completion there is just no explanation (including magic) that I can believe that would allow this type of forgiveness to happen. Some victims are able to forgive their abuser in some way; but I have not heard of one who legitimately falls in love with them without some concerns about what is being defined as love. It's just too far and so is a deal breaker for me. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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As a lover of all things "Fairy Tale" I was so excited to gobble this book up, and it did not disappoint.. I really enjoyed this twist on the standard Beauty and The Beast story and found myself constantly wondering how the author was going to work everything out. It was well -written and kept my interest from the very beginning. The author vividly paints a beautiful and enchanting world that I so enjoyed visiting for a while. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a good twist on a "tale as old as time".
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As a huge Beauty & The Beast fan and lover of retellings, I really wanted to love this book, I just could not connect with it 100%. 

With that being said, the book had its enjoyable aspects. I really appreciated the unique angle that was taken when it came to the heroine. Her being turned into an inanimate object was so unique and definitely sets it apart from other retellings. It also presented its challenges, because she gets turned into an inanimate object that made her a bit boring to read about. I did think it was a very unique idea though. 

I also couldn't connect with the love interest, he came off as abusive and toxic. 

Overall, I really wanted to connect with this story and love it but that just wasn't the case. I could see others enjoying it though, it just wasn't for me.
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This book is a retelling of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, but twisted in a dark and offensive way. The Beast is actually made out to be good, and the Prince is the evil one. The story is written from the perspective of a housemaid who tries to save the Beast by getting the girl Rose to fall in love with him, but her plan backfires, and she will need help and courage to save him. 
This book was so offensive to me because of the graphic rape scene, the way the author makes you think a character gets an abortion, the suicide attempt, the foul language, the bestiality, and the twisted views of religion that were presented. I had to force myself to skim through the book so I could write an intelligent review. Don't get me wrong, I do read books that contain difficult subject matter, and I hardly ever give a book a bad review, but I would not recommend this book to anyone, and the realistic, descriptive writing does not override the blatant offensive nature of this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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The description makes this book sound so much better than what it was.  Was expecting something different.  I couldn't connect with the charaters at all.
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Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairytale and when I hear of a new retelling I am always the first to get ahold of it. I'm afraid this is the first time I have DNF'd a version, and at only about 30%. As much as I enjoy dark retellings to stories, this just seemed unnecessarily cruel and bitter.

My thanks to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Um,,,NO! While I expected this to be dark, I also though it would be more teen friendly since it's rated YA/Teen. That said, I did not expect the level of description, especially during a rather lengthy rape scene between the two MCs.
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