Of Beast and Beauty

by Stacey Jay

Cover Beauty Score: 8 out of 10
Goodreads Score: 4 out of 5

Plot Blurb: Isra is the blind princess of a city on another planet that is magically protected against the harsh desert lands and mutating influences of the rough environment. The people that live outside the safety of the city walls are called Monstrous, with animal-like features and seemingly savage ways. When the city captures one of the Monstrous, named Gem, Isra reluctantly becomes friends with him and learns that perhaps everything she's been brought up to believe is wrong. Together they unearth the secrets of their world and as Isra regains her sight, she begins to truly see things as they are for the first time in her life.

My Reaction:Wow, that was some fabulous writing! And I'm talking really fabulous writing!! Every time I open a book and get that type of talent, I'm blown away. You go through all of these books, YA book especially, and you think that nothing good will ever come your way and all of these authors are just sitting on their asses fan-ficitoning their way to the top. Then someone like Stacey Jay comes along and restores your faith in literature. Just read this bit:

The though of being with a man I didn't desire was disturbing before I knew what desire felt like, but now the notion sickens me. Soft hands on my skin, instead of Gem's rough fingertips. Thin lips on mine, instead of Gem's full mouth. My name whispered silkily in my ear, instead of growled against my throat.

I mean... doesn't that just give you goosebumps?! Her poetic imagery is captivating and helps establish a beautiful world.

That being said... why did I give the book a 4? Well, there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on. The characters were harsh and real and well developed... but the ending felt a tad bit rushed. I know that the ending is the hardest bit to get right... and this just felt forced in some way. Ultimately, this book would have made a fabulous 2-parter instead of a stand alone. There was so much more that could have wrapped up the story.

I wanted to see Isra take her rightful place as ruler. I wanted her to lead her people once she broke the curse. I wanted her to run into the desert with Gem and have her experience what it's like to be hated because of who she was. And to do it anyways because she wanted to be with Gem.

The ending was happy in a sad way and it all wrapped up in the space of a few pages. I just feel like with all that complex character building, they weren't given enough justice at the end. They struggle and struggle and get about two seconds of limelight - most of which we don't even get to see. The whole bit where we don't even get to know what's going on with Gem just didn't sit well. I felt like there was something left out.

But ultimately you still need to read this book. It's amazing writing and the story is a wonderful fairytale in the sense that it is dark and scary and wonderful all at the same time. It's Beauty and the Beast in a backwards, twisted kind of way that will make you glad you decided to pick up a copy.

You may not think you'll find snake scales on a dude sexy... but damn if they weren't. That, folks, is called good writing.


  1. I loved this book too - the world, the characters, the story, the writing.. Beautiful! I'll keep an eye on this author in the future.

    1. i know! isn't it refreshing to have a great writer?! there's nothing more satisfying than a well written book :-)