Saturday, April 5, 2014


Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 4/5


In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.


Set on a planet where magic exists, humans mutate if they don't live in a domed city and a ruling class oppresses the less fortunate, this is a tale of romance, difficult choices and sacrifice. Isra, thinking that she is tainted, wants to find a cure for herself as well as for those in the city who are banished because of the taint. Gem only wants the secret to surviving for his monstrous desert people. Working together seems almost impossible and yet, it may be the answer to the planet's problems.

Although this comfortably paced book was a bit heavy on the romance side for me, the buildup of suspense and the riveting action towards the end of the story made up for it. Apart from the Beauty and the Beast connotation of the story, there was a point when I thought we were going to see a Romeo and Juliet re-enactment as well.

The characters are well crafted and realistic. Despite the fact that I don't think a blind person can safely jump from a tower and from roof to roof, I think the author generally created an accurate picture of blindness. Delightfully rebellious, Isra is the kind of character who grows and develops throughout the story. When her sight returns, however, Isra experiences the true sense of the phrase, 'an eye opener'.

Just as skillfully crafted, Gem, the second main character, is determined to save his people and, ultimately, murder Isra. I was really caught up in his inner battle whether he should love or kill Isra.

Although both main characters just want to save their own people in the beginning of the book, as their feelings for one another grow, so do their desire to help everybody. In the end it comes down to nail-biting suspense as they waver on choices while time for everyone is running out.

Bo, the third party in what some might call a love triangle, is a thoroughly flawed character. I really couldn't decide whether I liked him or not as his loyalty to Isra is doubtful right up to the end.

This is a tale of sacrifice; both the good and the bad kind. I would recommend this book to readers of all ages as a relaxing read with a hint of fairy tale in it.



Stacey Jay is a recovering workaholic (or at least working hard at recovering) with three pen names, two small children, and a passion for playing pretend for a living. She’s been a full time mom-writer since 2005 and can't think of anything she'd rather be doing. Her former careers include theatre performer, professional dancer, poorly paid C-movie actress, bartender, waiter, math tutor (for real) and yoga instructor.

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1 comment:

fredamans said...

Sounds awesome, I love fairy-tale-esque stories!
Great review!