103. BEASTKEEPER, BY CAT HELLISEN
Yet another fairytale retelling, this one recommended by a friend I hadn’t seen a long time ago. I’m really enjoying these, it’s curious I hadn’t discovered them before...
Synopsis: A loose retelling of The Beauty and The Beast story. Sarah’s mother leaves, which triggers a descending slope for her father. Unable to take care of her, he takes her to live with her grandmother, where she discovers nothing is as she assumed.
Overall enjoyment: Sweet and fun, very beautiful and quick. The ending could have been better, though.
Plot: It is pretty well rounded; there aren’t any loose threads or unknown motivations. Maybe there could have been more suspense, or Sarah could have taken longer to figure out what was going on, but then the book would probably be much longer, which, I think, would take some of the urgency out of it.
Characters: Very well constructed. Sarah feels very much like a 13 year old girl. I especially liked the care she took with the grandmothers’ personalities, so similar to traditional fairytale characters, and yet a lot more human and real.
World/setting: It seemed like a fascinating place, but there wasn’t much describing. The rules are about the standard for fantasy places, so, if it isn’t all that original, at least she didn’t have to waste time explaining it (and risk making it boring in the process).
Writing style: Quite straightforward and easy to read. It flows nicely, but there could have been more poetry to it, considering the setting and subject. Although, the tween POV might explain this lack.
Representation: There are very few characters, and all are of the same family, so I suppose it’s understandable that it’s quite poor on representation.
Political correctness: It was very sweet and touching. I think it was a nice take on the original story, especially the adaptation of the original curse. It did become more interesting, and when it comes to Sarah it’s even better. It’s a nice take on such a difficult subject as the possible fickleness of how one person might feel about the other. It would have been interesting, though, if Sarah had been turned back into a human at some point on those six years she spent living with Alan. Six years living together in harmony is more than enough for a very loving friendship to flourish. Romantic love isn't the only love that exists, and the curse didn't specify, it just said "love". It would have been nice if the book didn't reinforce the idea that romantic love is the be-all end-all of a person's life.
Up next: Touch, by Claire North