I’ve never loved the original story of Beauty and the Beast and I’ve never been impressed by any of the re-tellings I’ve read. But after first coming across a brief description of Beastly and the increasing buzz surrounding it, I couldn’t ignore it. Though not perfect, this modern version set in New York City and told from the Beast’s point of view gives a new, fun, and refreshing take on the traditional fairy tale with a few key changes that really make it shine.
Kyle Kingsbury is the talk of his upscale private school in Manhattan, and rightly so. He’s good-looking, rich, and funny. But he sees his popularity all too clearly. He’s also arrogant, mean-spirited, and snotty – so much so that he’s happy to humiliate overweight goth-girl Kendra by pretending to like her, asking her to the prom, and ditching her for his real date at the door. As we all could guess, Kyle’s meddled with the wrong high-schooler. The witch quickly arrives on the scene, and as punishment for his cruelty, Kyle is turned into a hairy, beast-like form that only true-love’s kiss can reverse. But there’s a catch: he has only two years to break the curse before it becomes permanent.
As I hinted above, I liked Beastly, especially the second half. Kyle is hard to like, though, in the beginning. In fact, his attitude of entitlement and life philosophy of looks-are-the-only-thing-that-matters were at times almost unbearable and began to grate on my nerves. However once he began to grow a semblance of a heart in his abandonment and seclusion the story really picked up for me. I loved the idea of the blind live-in tutor, the heartless celebrity-newscaster father, and the Latin housekeeper. The time limit also really breathes life into this well-known story and wanted urgency to breaking the curse. In all of this, Kyle’s dramatic transformation in character somehow remains believable. My favorite part: the witch is not what she seems.
Patricia Briggs has done it again. She’s written an awesome Mercy book which has everything I’ve come to expect: intriguing mystery, creative fantasy, a little romance, and a butt-kicking heroine.
Bone Crossed picks up right where Iron Kissed left off. Mercy’s reeling from her emotional wounds and questioning her commitment to her chosen lover, when Stefan literally lands on her doorstep, so bloodied and charred that he’s virtually unrecognizable. With him is a warning: Marsilia, the mistress of the local vampire seethe, has discovered that she was responsible for the death of one of her right-hand vampires. If that wasn’t enough, Mercy’s old roommate Amber needs help with a ghost who is haunting her son.
This time around the focus is on ghosts. As always, the new focus keeps each book refreshing, while the expanding capabilities and characters of the vampires, werewolves, the fae, and other shapeshifters (namely Mercy) keeps it interesting. The mechanics of Briggs’ supernatural world continue to surprise and intrigue me. She follows her own rules but also makes the possibilities seem endless. I’m so glad that there are three more books in this series, because she knows what she’s doing. Some of my loves: 1) Stefan is back! His close, unconventional, and sometimes dysfunctional friendship with Mercy is one of my favorite parts of the series. 2) The vampire conspiracy. What? Marsilia kept me guessing. 3) The ghosts. Who knew haunting could be so complex? And I’m beginning to see why Mercy chose who she did and like it.
Wow. After reading and hearing accolades about this book, I’m so thrilled to say that I loved it. So beautiful, strange, and heart-wrenching. Excellent teen literature and one of the best books I’ve read in awhile.
Taylor Markham is 11 years old when her mother leaves her at a 7-11 on Jellicoe Road in rural Australia and Hannah finds her. Now 17, she’s in her last year at the local boarding school, where Hannah is her house’s mentor and the closest thing she has had to a mother. The territory wars between her school, the Cadets, and the Townies are about to begin, and the seniors will be choosing a new leader for Jellicoe School. Hardened by her mother’s abandonment and her hidden yearning to belong, Taylor is not the popular choice but is chosen nonetheless. But when Hannah disappears and Jonah Griggs, now cadet leader, reenters her life, Taylor is forced to face her mysterious past and her buried emotions if she wants to have a say in her future.
That synopsis only skims the surface of this complex and multi-faceted novel. There’s so much more which is best left to be anticipated. I don’t think any summary of Jellicoe Road and its unique premise can really do it justice without including spoilers. I came into it knowing that it may be confusing and hard to sink your teeth into. But being aware of this only made it seem less cumbersome and more promising because I had so much faith that the slow, gradual build-up would be worth it. I did need to re-read several passages as I went along and I know that I still missed some dropped hints, but it was more than worth it. I was awestruck at how the seemingly disparate narrative pieces and disconnected cast of characters all subtly fell into place at the turn of each page until the very last. I’ll have to take back some of the times I’ve said this or that book had a perfect ending, because this one was truly perfect in the way it ties up the story and rewards its reader. I cried and relished it. As a side note writers take note: Marchetta’s prologue and epilogue are stellar. I will with pleasure be re-reading this book.