Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay


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.

Actual Review:

“Beauty is wherever you find it, and Beast is there when you need to defend it.”

Beautiful and riveting. This retelling brought something new to the table and added more flavor to the story of Beauty and the Beast. The synopsis honestly doesn’t give it much justice. It made the story sound simpler than it was.

The premise somewhat reminded me of Under the Never Sky, with domes protecting people from the dry and barren world outside. I loved it immensely, although there were some things that could’ve been done better.

Isra’s blindness for example, was felt only in a few parts of the book in my opinion. It felt that she wasn’t an accurate portrayal of a blind person. This was in the 1st person narration as well.

I also wanted a bit more elaboration about the world inside the dome, because even though the story mostly happened inside the city of Yuan, I had a clearer image of the world outside in my mind. I understand though that it’s because of the fact that Isra was confined to a tower in the palace and was also blind so I guess there was no helping it.

Even so, I still ended up loving this. The romance was well-done and I cared immensely for the main characters. (No insta-love here folks!) The style of writing was also wonderful, one of the best I’ve seen. I honestly am surprised that so few know of this book.