Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen (2018)
YA Fiction | Fantasy
“They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.”
Expected Publication Date: July 10, 2018
pooled ink Review:
Okay so there were some really great things about this book and, erm, some not so great things…
Let’s start with the positives!
The writing style, the voice of the writing, the world-building, all of that really appealed to me. I fell into its rhythm right away and its cadence had this way of pulling me along naturally. Furthermore this book is a unique take on Beauty and the Beast. Honestly I thought that Jensen’s angle was really intriguing. This tale is told from the point of view of a chambermaid who works in the Chevalier’s/beast’s exuberant household. At first she is smitten with his handsome looks but she learns all too brutally just what a beast lies under that charming facade.
This book really takes the fairy tale from a whole new angle. Not only is it told from Lucie’s POV, a lowly servant who later becomes the candlestick, but even the main players’ stories are different. The beast’s truth is a twist and the expected savior, Belle, becomes something one never might’ve imagined. The entire fairy tale maintains the skeleton of the famous French story but it shakes it up like a snow globe.
Now onto the less favorable parts…
Really my biggest issue is the Chevalier/Beast. Does he go through the transformation of monster to kitten? Yeah sort of, but his crimes and horribleness as a human simply were far too unforgivable for me to buy his changed heart. I really didn’t care at all. The romance of this book takes twists and turns but I couldn’t get invested because I didn’t care what he did or how he decided to change, his deeds to me were unforgivable. I’m trying not to spoil anything but it just went too far for me and ruined the rest of the story. I don’t care if it was a curse that “made” him so awful, there are some lines that when crossed one can never come back from and he crossed those lines and so any romance or empathy for him my heart simply could not feel.
This does NOT excuse him AT ALL but I will say that Lucie really was a naive idiot at the beginning of the book. I was glad when she stopped being so silly. Thank goodness for the old woman in the wood.
I don’t know, perhaps I’m just being sensitive or maybe I just wasn’t the best audience for this book but I love Beauty and the Beast and I was disappointed that I couldn’t love this version because it really had me excited.
Overall I enjoyed the writing, the enchanting world-building, and the intriguing take on a well-worn tale, but in the end it simply was not enough to outweigh the tragedy of character.
Purchase Here: Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge
I’ve painted pottery, sold movie tickets and books, drawn cartoons, and hand-crafted fabric dolls. Now I get to write full-time; the hours are flexible and there’s no dress code. My movie reviews appear on Rotten Tomatoes. My novel, “Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge,” comes out in July, 2018, from Candlewick. My historical/fantasy “Alias Hook,” was published by Thomas Dunne Books in July, 2014. My historical pirate novel, “The Witch From the Sea,” was published in 2001.