I have not yet read Meagan Spooner’s “Skylark” series, but I have read her “Starbound” series with Amie Kaufman and loved it. I’m always up for a fairy-tale retelling, especially a Beauty and the Beast retelling. And with the live-action movie about to release, B&B mania is on!
THE PLOT: Yeva is the daughter of a merchant in a Russian village. When her father loses everything, he moves Yeva and her sisters back to his hunting lodge in the forest. Then he loses his mind hunting a fantastic Beast of some sort and Yeva sets out to find him. Unfortunately she finds that her father has been killed by the Beast, who then captures Yeva.
The Beast is under a curse and needs a skilled hunter to break it. He thought Yeva’s father might be that person, but realizes it might be Yeva herself. The Beast thinks that if Yeva believes he killed her father, she’ll be motivated to hone her hunting skills by her desire for revenge against the Beast.
An unlikely friendship grows up between them, but Yeva still can’t forgive the Beast for her father’s death. She may find, though, that killing the Beast just leads to another level of the puzzle.
MY TWO CENTS: This is a fairly complete retelling of the original Beauty and the Beast tale with some additions and twists. The similarities: Yeva’s father’s ruin ultimately leads to her relationship with the Beast. Yeva has two sisters, although they are not presented as selfish compared to Yeva’s goodness. When Yeva leaves the Beast, she is delayed in her return by her family, and ultimately is spurred to return when she dreams of him.
There are differences, too. The story, set in Russia, is very grounded in Russian fairy tales. The tale of the wolf, and then the firebird, add dimension to the story.
The story is told primarily third person from Yeva’s POV. Every chapter starts with a short first-person intro from the Beast, but everything else is Yeva.
Really, all the characters are very likable: Yeva, her family, her pets, her sister’s suitor, and her own suitor. None have evil intentions or act out of selfishness (some almost muddle things up out of unselfishness!) The Beast is interesting…is he good? evil? both?
COVER NOTES: You don’t see Yeva’s face; instead, the emphasis is on her as the hunter. The green and gold are very eye-catching. The arrow in the title is a nice touch. I’d pick this up at the bookstore.
BOTTOM LINE: I enjoyed this fairy tale retelling, which will also appeal to fans of Katniss.
TEACUP RATING: Four out of five teacups.
ON SALE DATE: Available March 14, 2017, in hardcover and eformats.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.