Title: Beastkeeper
Stand Alone
Author: Cat Hellisen
Released: February 3, 2015
Favorite quote: “And know that the world exists, and moves on without me?” The beast settled back down, nose to tail, his horns gleaming in the faint light. “Thank you, no.”

No need to say it again but I will: I am a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. When I stumbled upon Beastkeeper in Barnes&Noble a few weeks ago, I picked it up for a night when I would want a quick read.

It’s a very different take on the traditional Beauty and the Beast story, which I like. Cat Hellisen takes a very unique approach by connecting the non-magical and magical worlds by weaving Sarah (the protagonist), her family, and their history into a fantastic twisted version of the story we all know.

That being said, it was too short. I’m not saying that because I wished it was longer: I’m saying that because it felt that details were missing and the story sacrificed some of its appeal to fit into a mere 200 pages. It’s rare for me to think that a book needs more expansion, but that’s all I’ve been coming across lately in my recent reads. Details are as important as the plot and characters when it comes to immersing the reader into a story. But, for the sake of being open-minded, I will drop this fault that I have with the book because it is geared toward younger readers who may (or may not) prefer the more direct path the book takes to get to the peak of conflict and its resolution.

Although it is probably my least favorite Beast retelling, I do appreciate the ending that Hellisen creates to give the young female lead all of the control in a well-known story which usually features Stockholm syndrome in itself and many of its retellings as a major draw to readers.  I can imagine this to be a very empowering books for young girls who want the story without the attachment a prisoner forms to their captor as a key component.

Yes, it is a love story; no, it is not a love story. Both familial and romantic love are main parts of the story, though I would say that the family bond between Sarah and her parents is the focus of the book’s progression. That is my opinion and it’s open to disagreement because the romantic bonds mentioned can arguable just as important. I’d actually love to hear someone else’s opinion on this matter, if anyone else has read it!

Yes, it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling; no, it does not stick to the traditional story at all. Again, I do love the twist that Hellisen brings to the story! It isn’t for everyone, though, and I still wish it had been a lot longer to show more of the story and the magic of the world, but that’s, again, my opinion.

If you enjoy classic tales with major twists, I really do recommend this for a quick read. It was interesting and I did like it well enough, but I wouldn’t recommend it to any of my friends who don’t already have an obsession with retellings with twists.



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