"In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
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."
I find this book a bit annoying in some parts and extremely irritable in others. There isn't much I do like about Of Beast and Beauty, but I do like the message at the end of the book. However, I can pretty much proddle everything until it pops. Okay, that does not make sense and I am probably drunk on sugar again.
First of all, the romance. I do not believe in the romance of this book. I'm sorry, but at least one of this couple is creepy. And it is not Isra. Really, there are no beasts in this tale. It is all mixed in, and there is a bunch of gray area. Because if you really think about the entire story as a whole, the Smooth Skins would also be beasts in hearts, and the Banished would be beasts in appearance.
Maybe there is love, but I honestly don't believe too much into it. I won't bet my life on it, actually. That is how much I don't believe in Isra and Gem's love. Sure, it does get great sometimes, but I just can't shake off Gem's original and dark thoughts towards her. In fact, they sound almost rapey and that is totally not okay. Even if it is only "that one time." (And I don't like those who are... like that. Very, very, very creepy, but that isn't what brings this book down entirely). My mom once told me that a ________ (insert liar, cheater, scum of the earth) will always be ________ (insert liar, cheater, scum of the earth).
Maybe some readers probably won't find it a bit concern, but I do find it... a bit dark.
The world of Of Beast and Beauty is an okay one, not to mention confusing. I originally thought it was a scientific one, until there is mentions of magic and all that kind of thing. So the dome is totally reliant on magic. That is a bit confusing, because I thought that technology had some things to do with it.
One thing I do like about the book is Isra. She will always be my favorite part of the book (even though I pretty much dislike everything else). I love her growth as a character. She starts off as not a strong character, and she finds strength and wisdom as she goes along. She lives, she survives, she kicks people's expectations. Just amazing.
Overall, I do think that Of Beast and Beauty could be better. The romance could be a bit stronger (even though that is probably my fault, because I was pretty much raising my eyebrows at everything), and the plot is just fine. Actually, it is better than fine. More like good. But I'm not one to recommend this one to anyone. Sorry.
Rating: Two out of Five