Of Beast and Beauty can be rated in one word, amazing. Ive only read a few fairy tale retellings and this is one of my favourite's. When I saw it was a retelling of Beauty and The Beast I ordered it straight away.
The Pure Heart and The Dark Heart were once one being but when the humans came from another world The Pure Heart reached out to them with its magic and transformed them so they could survive. They grew scales and claws and became terrified of what was happening. The humans that came later saw the Monstrous and built domes to keep them safe. In the dome the very first Queen spilt some of her blood and where it hit some roses grew. From that second, crops grew when they shouldn't and the livestock flourished. They made a bargain there and then and from that moment a female queen was to be sacrificed every time the dome started failing.
Isra has always known she would have to sacrifice herself for the good of Yuan. The night her mother died, she lost her sight and she knew the job of keeping her city safe fell to her.
Gem is a Monstrous and is trying to save his tribe from starving. He sneaks into the dome with a few of his clan to try and steal the secrets that keep the smooth skins fed and healthy. He is captured and Isra holds him prisoner. She learns that he can help stop the mutations with herbs. She starts to build a garden and gets Gem to help. Both of them find out that neither is what they were thought to believe. As her sight comes back she realises that beauty isn't always on the outside.
Of Beast and Beauty blew me away. The writing was beautiful and the story was phenomenal. Stacey Jay took the Beauty and Beast fairytale and totally made it her own. The beast is captured and the beauty is the prison guard. From the world that she created to the characters, there was nothing I didn't like. Isra took a while for me to like but she really grew as a character and I ended up really liking her. Gem is strong and brave but with a kind heart. He has the chance to kill Isra but doesn't and ends up captured. This book, even at over 350 pages, was a quick read. It really was unputdownable, from the beautiful writing and magical world to the unforgettable characters it truly was amazing. This is a book I've no problem highly recommending.